Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The No Complaining Rule

Wow, what a book!  

I was browsing through my Kindle last week, stumbled upon this title, and it grabbed me.  As I read through this fictitious story heavily laden with lesson upon lesson, I felt like the story was written just for me!  Hi, my name is Lisa, and I realized I had become a C.C. - Chronic Complainer.  (Hi Lisa….)

I used to be a much more positive person.  Somewhere along the line, I started to complain.  And then I’d complain some more.  And so on.  I would wager that most conversations with friends/family likely included a heavy dose of complaining.  So what was I complaining about?  Probably complaining about complaining! 

This book clearly defines the differences between mindless complaining and justified complaining.  Complaining is not a sin, nor is it likely to go away forever.  Complaining can be a positive thing, when it leads to a solution to a problem.  That’s justified complaining.  It’s the mindless complaining that’s the problem.  Mindless complaining is never positive, since it’s usually shared amongst people who cannot (and usually do not want to) solve whatever problem is being complained about.  The mindless nature fuels more complaining, where those involved may become even more dissatisfied or unhappy than when they first started their complaining.

Talk about an epiphany!  Ever since I read the book, I’ve found myself self-monitoring my own complaining and noticing just how much others complain as well.  It’s awful!  The thing is, I don’t think we realize just how negative many of us can be.  As an example, I asked a coworker how her Thanksgiving was, and after a long tirade of negative comments, there was not one good thing to report.  How could that be?

Now, I’m not judging.  At all.  As previously stated, I’m a self-professed, and now recovering C.C.  The author provided a great tool to assist with turning complaints into positives.  He suggested that when you do find yourself complaining mindlessly, add the word “but” after the complaint.  For example, “I didn’t really enjoy the food at Thanksgiving” can be turned into “I didn’t really enjoy the food at Thanksgiving….BUT at least I had my family to share the day with”.  That was easy, right?

As I share this book and its fantastic lessons with some of my friends and coworkers, I’m receiving a very positive response.  In fact, one coworker instant messaged me the next day, asking me, “Lisa, I need a BUT”.  She was frustrated with something, prepared to complain about it, and was trying to find a BUT to turn it into something positive.  I replied with a BUT, we had a good chuckle, and you know what, she seemed to be less frustrated by the end of this exchange.  Interesting…..

The book also encourages attempting one day of no complaining.  If that works, try one week.  Asking ourselves what we’re trying to accomplish with our complaints is a good way to determine if the complaint is justified or mindless.  Once you start thinking this way, you really do become more self aware of your own complaining frequency.  Isn’t it more fun to write in a blog, post fun stuff on Facebook, or talk about happy things anyway?  It’s too hard to smile and complain at the same time.  That’s right up there with walking and chewing gum!  

(This is my own opinion of The No Complaining Rule)


  1. Hello Lisa, Nice post, especially this time of year.

    I missed my PR yesterday, BUT it was a beautiful course, and beautiful day in Baton Rouge, LA looking ahead with no regrets about yesterday! :) :) :)

  2. Way to go Ginny :) And think about your earlier post, when you were questioning whether or not to "go for it".....sounds like you're glad you did!

  3. Lisa--I had not heard of this book before, but it sounds like something everyone can read! I try really hard not to be too negative and complain, but every once in a while, I catch myself doing that. Thanks for the insight!

  4. Oh my goodness, are you talking to me specifically Lisa!? I needed to hear that because I have been complaining a lot lately and I don't like it one bit. I love that but thing and it is something so easy that can turn your attitude right around.

  5. Super idea! I have just been full of complaints lately...... I will start my non-complaining-self tomorrow! Thank you!

  6. I fell off the non-complaining wagon a bit today, but tomorrow's a new day for me too :)

  7. Ugh...if you want to hear someone complain, you should see me in action as I work retail during the holidays!! I think others constant complaining gets you in a sour mood and you start whining about everyone. People should holiday shop in July - just saying! :)

    Thanks for the great reminder that really, things could be much much worse! I will try to put my happy face on today for the next woman who asks me if she can get a special discount for buying 6 articles of clothing! :)

  8. Awesome - I am going to pick up this book from the library - thanks for the recommendation!

  9. Whoa Jill, I have the utmost respect for you. That's a tough job dealing with consumers. Good luck!!

  10. oh i really want to read this!! i had a rule that I could not complain about something I wasn't will to change and that made a big difference for me...this is a reminder I've kinda fallen off that a bit