Benjamin Franklin: Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.
I read a blog last week written by Mary Carlomagno, a self-proclaimed constant complainer. She tested herself for a month. During her trying month, she realized that smartphones and other computers are the ultimate complaining enablers. These devices make it far too easy to launch a text blast or even call a friend to gripe about the cable guy not showing up during the projected four-hour window.
If you join in any social media conversations about sports or television or, just-say-no, politics, you multiply your chances of complaining by a gazillion. Then, if you go to the grocery store and start reading labels, you’ll soon be complaining about the sugar content in bread or the price of cereal. Complaining not only loves company but is also contagious—and self-fueling.
Once Mary started complaining, she couldn’t stop: forgotten passwords, misplaced homework assignments, those widowed socks that never find a mate, to name a few. After struggling through much of this 30-day challenge, a light bulb finally went on for her: If I don’t start complaining, I won’t have to stop. If I moved through the perfunctory tasks of the day concentrating on finishing them quickly, I reduced the window for whining.
Mary found a way to manage her now-reduced urges. She replaced her complaining with something therapeutic, the music of Buddhist monks. Her days started off better and became a happy after-school mom-chauffeur “amid the chanting of om, namaste and shanti with zero complaints.” The mellow sounds served as a relaxation device and as a reminder that neither Buddha nor Krishna nor Gandhi would scream at someone who cut them off in traffic. Like these spiritual teachers, she was living in the moment.
Finding that contented state enriched her life. And the month of no complaining had a bonus for her family: They were happier, too.
So what do you say? Want to join me on this 30-day no-complaining plan?
P.S. An update from yesterday. Monster (aka the two-inch bug at our house) is still missing.