- Make a “no complaining” commitment (1x this week). Set a commitment that you will not complain for the duration of this program. In other words, no complaining from today until the last day of the last week of the CCO. Hopefully by now, you’re taking yourself and your own development seriously enough to give this experiment a try. Assuming you are, copy the commitment template you’ll find below into a new document, fill in the blanks, print it out, and – to help you maintain your commitment — put it somewhere you can see it. Every day. If you catch yourself in the act of complaining, remind yourself you made this commitment. Then, forgive yourself for being a real live human being and re-commit.
For the next five weeks, starting now and ending on
__________________, I, ________________________________,
commit to live complaint-free by giving up the following:
complaining, criticizing, gossiping, and whining.
- Use a helpful mantra to support your growth (1x this week).
Part I. A handy trick to support developmental change is to use a mantra to help you remain mindful of your developmental goals. Mantras are short, memorable taglines that make an immediate impression and are easy to remember. Here is one I have found to be quite effective:
Don’t Complain, Make Requests!
Modify it if you find a particular combination of words resonates better with you.
Part II. Write this mantra on several index cards or post-it notes, and place the cards in locations where you are likely to run across them throughout your day (e.g., your wallet, badge holder, car dash, laptop, silverware drawer at home, the stovetop). Consider placing them in locations where you are prone to complaining and where you tend to run into complainers. The mantra serves as a gentle reminder to return to your commitment to live complaint-free for the next several weeks. Working with phrases in this way is an ancient technique for mind training that has roots in many cultures.
- Extra credit – Activating the hidden power in your complaints (2 Parts, 1x per each Part this week). Okay, so you’ve made the complaint-free commitment explained in Experiment #1 above. But the fact is, you’re still human, so you might just bellyache from time to time, particularly at the beginning. The point of this work isn’t to pretend like every single thing is totally fabulous all the time. Instead, it’s to give you a different, more powerful way to work through the things you don’t like and to influence the creation of what you would like better. To that end, this Experiment #3 is about activating complaints by turning them into powerful requests.
Part I. To get started, print out the Moving from Complaint to Request Worksheet. Collect a handful of complaints that occur to you over the course of a day or two. Write them in the left-hand column of your Worksheet.
Part II. After you have gathered at least three complaints, find some quiet time. For each complaint you collected, work left to right to fill out each column in the worksheet. (You will see an example at the top of your worksheet that guides you through this process.) What you are doing here as you move from the left side of the worksheet to the right is turning your complaints into requests or action plans. It might seem awkward at first, but go through this a few times and it will quickly become second nature.