This is one of the audibooks that has kept me entertained on my weekly commutes this semester.  The author, Reverend Will Bowen, challenges readers to quit complaining and gossiping for 21 consecutive days. He builds the case that you’ll lead a happier, healthier, and more prosperous life if you quit your complaining. 

Why 21 days? Because it takes 21 days to change a habit.  Complaining is a habit that can be changed.  To break the habit and track your progress, Bowen recommends wearing a bracelet as a tangible reminder of your commitment to a new habit and swapping the bracelet from one wrist to the other every time you catch yourself complaining.  It took Rev. Bowen nine months to complete his 21 consecutive complaint-free days.

While I liked Bowen’s book a lot, I likely won’t be taking his challenge for a complaint-free world in the near future.  The vegetarian quest is really enough for me at the moment.  I’m currently on an unbroken 11 day stretch…which doesn’t sound too impressive, especially when you consider that I’ve been trying to do this conversion for the past three months. I don’t need anything else to fail at right now! 

All jesting aside, the book did get me tuned in to how much complaining I do and the type of things I complain about. Turns out, I complain a lot. I’m in good company (or maybe not such good company) as the average person complains 15-30 times a day.  Most of my own complaining centers around people in my daily life who are annoying me, usually by infringing on my time with their ideas about what I should be doing (usually for them).  I realized the other day during one such interlude that sometimes the complaining helps me sort out all the issues and come to solutions to the problem.  More often than not though my complaining just stirs the pot of negativity in me and in the world, which is not so productive and not the sort of thing I really want to do with my words and time.

What do you complain most frequently about? Do your complaints serve a purpose?

If you want to learn more about Bowen’s vision of a complaint free world, click here: Complaint Free World.