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  • Writer's pictureDiana Smithson

The Complaint Epidemic

Complain: (verb) 1. to express grief, pain, or discontent<complaining about the weather> 2. to make a formal accusation or charge. -Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"Complaining is talking about things you do not want rather that what you do want. When we complain, we are using our words to focus on things that are not as we would like. Our thoughts create our lives and our words indicate what we are thinking. 'What you articulate, you demonstrate'.

You are creating your life in every moment with the thoughts to which you give the most attention. Our collective minds are starting to grasp that our lives, our society, our political situation, our health and indeed the state of our world are a projection of the thoughts we hold and the actions those thoughts produce.

Examples that have been given long before now include....

'...go thy way; and as thou has believed, so be it done unto thee....' -Matthew 8:13

'The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.' -Marcus Aurelius

'We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.' -Buddha

'Change your thoughts and you change your world.' -Norman Vincent Peale

'You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.' -James Allen

'We become what we think about.' -Earl Nightingale

'The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.' -Charles Darwin

'Why are we Masters of our fate, the captains of our soul? Because we have the power to control our thoughts.' -Alfred A. Montapert


Our words indicate what we are thinking and our thoughts create our lives.


These words come from a book titled, "A Complaint Free World: The 21-day challenge that will change your life" by Will Bowen.

My husband was first introduced to this man as he was attending a routine work conference. Will was the keynote speaker for the hour and taught all the educators and vendors in attendance the power of complaining. This book was published in 2007, and I am grateful that my husband listened to this man's speech and felt inspired to buy his book. I have hardly been able to put it down.

In a world full of chaos, confusion and turmoil, complaining is second nature next to breathing. We can find anything to complain about, and most of us don't consider ourselves a complainer until we take the challenge.

As part of the challenge, there is a purple "spirit' wristband that is worn and moved from one arm to the next as a complaint is made. I have chosen just to snap my wrist so that I don't stretch the thing out ( I couldn't believe how much I complained within the first hour of putting it on!). Now mind you, in his introduction, he explains that thoughts don't have to move the wristband; it's the things we audibly portray. His promise is that eventually you won't be thinking the complaints either.

I was up for the challenge as I am constantly trying to better myself and those around me. An analogy that he gave that pinged my heart......


"Complaining can be likened to bad breath. We notice it when it comes out of the mouth of others but not when it comes from our own."


It pinged my heart because it is so easy to do. I can sit in a room full of people and pick out the negative "Nancy's" and stay clear from their influence. I can have a private conversation with someone and feel "yucky" when I hear them gossiping or complaining about someone else. All too frequently, I forget to notice it in myself. The birth of the challenge has begun.

I started yesterday and was shocked how many times I had to slap my wristband. Here are some of my examples that might help you relate and find the opportunity to change.

1. It's too hot in here.

2. I don't like that.

3. Why is he acting like that?

4. Why don't they ever listen to me?

5. Why did she ignore me?

6. It gets on my nerves when....

7. The problem is....

8. I can't believe "so and so" would treat their kids that way.

9. Does anybody listen to me ever?

10. My feet hurt.

As you can tell from some of these examples, they simply sound like statements that really won't go much further. Others can lead to a continuing downward spiral of judgment, contempt and anger towards someone or a situation. Both types are phrases don't bring positive change. Some ways to rephrase and therefore rethink could be....

1. Do you mind if I turn down the AC, it's hot in here?

2. I wonder if somethings bothering "so and so"to act that way?

3. The solution to this problem could be.....

As you can tell from rephrasing the above complaints, there is forward movement and solution based resolves. Simply stating a complaint, gossip or whining, it encourages further thinking of problems in a reactive mindset. We must proactively tackle the problems that we face so that the complaints truly become the strengths that we were meant to accomplish.


"On average it takes a person 5-7 months to complete 21 days of no complaining".