I’m the founder of The No Complaining Project and I want to tell you about one very basic thing you can do that can change your life forever and bring you greater happiness and more satisfying relationships: Stop Complaining.
Why? Nearly every self-development and spiritually enlightened person (including Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Suze Orman, Tim Ferris, T. Harv Ecker, Marci Shimoff, Oprah, and even the Dalai Lama) says that the first step in improving your life and experiencing happiness is to stop complaining and blaming and start taking personal responsibility. They all say this is foundational. It’s where to start. I fully agree with this – and also noticed that none of them tell you how to do it.
At one critical point in my life, I made the decision to stop complaining and I discovered that it was really hard to do. It felt like everyone complained and I would be going against the tide. I got stuck listening to complainers and couldn’t say a thing. At work, I started eating lunch alone. I had to stop hanging out one-on-one with certain friends. I couldn’t even watch TV or listen to comedy if I was really committed to ending complaining!
And yet I kept trying because something about it seemed really important. For three years, without telling anyone, I made “No Complaining” my daily practice. To support it, I took classes and read books on psychology, neuropsychology, behavioral economics, sociology, mindfulness, business strategies, somatic therapy – anything that could help me shed some light on the patterns that keep a negative focus in place. Everything I read reinforced this idea that “No Complaining” was the first step in achieving what I wanted out of life.
Eventually, I started telling people what I was doing and then I started to hear about others’ experiences with complaining. I found that even though everyone complained, pretty much no one enjoyed listening to it. I learned that many people know a chronic complainer that they wish would stop – and then they would start complaining to me about this other person’s complaining! Complaining was everywhere! Nobody liked it and yet everyone did it!
Over time I got better at not complaining. I started solving the problems that made me complain in the first place, and changed my approach to situations I couldn’t change. I also saw that my decision to “Go NoCo” was having some concrete effect on my life – effects even greater than I expected. I was better able to notice and appreciate the good things in my life. The terrible things I’d experienced in the past didn’t get in the way of enjoying myself in the moment. The depressed state I experienced every winter started to have less of a hold on me. I became closer with my friends. I felt happier every day. I was even more productive at work. Switching my focus from complaining to problem solving made me a more valuable employee, coworker, and manager. And I was able to see and jump in to new opportunities because my vision was no longer focused on the bad, but was open to seeing the good and the new – the keys to opportunity.
I started writing about my experiences and learnings about complaining began coaching and counseling others on how to eliminate complaints from their lives. Through this, I’ve seen others experience changes in their lives, too, not unlike my own.
I created the No Complaining Project to share what I’ve learned with you and everyone else. I believe that our world will be a much better place if it were free of negativity and blame. The decision to stop complaining is one small, personal way to make that world come into being. I hope you join me in this effort. It’s time to stop complaining and start experiencing your life in a whole new way.
Until next time,
Go NoCo and experience greater happiness and satisfaction every day!