Now that I've graduated from grammar school, here's my self-assigned Homework/ Book Report
on the book by Will Bowen, subtitled "Take the 21 day challenge: How to stop complaining and start enjoying the life you always wanted."
So I'll summarize the second Self-Help book I've read (the first being the Secret, by Rhonda Byrne), and make your happiness that much easier to obtain (is the general idea). This book shares the basic premise that it's better to focus on what you want, than to dwell on what's wrong.
The basic idea for the whole book is:
-DON'T complain, grumble, criticize, or gossip, and
-since it takes 21 days for a person doing a new behavior to make it habitual, if you catch yourself doing any of these things, move a bracelet to the other wrist (or a rock to the other pocket or whatever) and start the countdown over, until you finally get there.
But there are a few other (good, in my opinion) ideas in this 176 page book.
-Doctors estimate that nearly 2/3 of their time is spent treating patients whose illnesses have psychological origins. (The symptoms are psychosomatic, in other words).
-One psychological study found that talking about neurotic symptoms actually increases them.
These interesting facts are adduced in the context of some supportive concepts and quotes to flesh out his simple vision of A Complaint-Free world:
-If you change your words, you change your thoughts, which is the best way to transform and create your life by design. The negativity is hugely prevalent in society, but if you change your "poisonous forms of expression", those around you will, too, creating a happier world. It's a movement (go to http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/ to get a rubber bracelet), and he sees it as a kind of healing to an epidemic, already proven in millions. Another metaphor he uses is to see it as a way to reformat your hard drive, or to be a healthy cell in the body of humanity, or making a ripple in a pond, or starting or continuing a baseball game's "wave" by the audience.
Apparently, people are unaware of their own negativity. When surveyed, most people think they are positive, upbeat, optimistic, and sanguine. But the bracelets prove them wrong! By forcing yourself to notice, you'll discover.
Motivation: Do it for those around you, the nation, world peace, your children (and theirs), and, last but not least, Yourself. He really gives the hard sell (and I believe him).
Maya Angelou says, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." She's giving the smackdown on all the bitching, and is basically saying, like your mom, "if you don't have something positive to say, don't say it at all". Or, as I say in my head, shut the hell up. But, the book points out, complaining about complaining is still a complaint, and you have to switch your bracelet.
The important thing is to send out vibes of optimism and hope, to resound with others of "similar intent" (He pastors a christian church, btw).
Take one day at a time. He says it can take months, even years, to accomplish the 21-day goal. He quotes Alderson who said, "If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average." Stick with it. The best way to learn to ride a horse is "time in the saddle." Keep picking up those juggling balls. Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. The successful diet is the one you stick with, for example.
Sometimes complaining makes sense, such as to express pain, grief, or discontent, but Not Often. Happy people have high thresholds. Complainers have more to complain about. Misery loves company, whereas the healthy community talks directly, or only, to the person they have an issue with. Complainers about health neither reduce the time nor severity of their illness.
It's on The Secret's "law of attraction" bandwagon: "When you express what you don't like, you will find more not to like. As you appreciate yourself, other people, and situations in your life more, you will attract more to enjoy." He recommends a relentless focus on a bright future (vs. constantly spouting laundry lists of grievances). When appreciation is your default setting, you can hold an image of what you desire, knowing that it is, even now, moving toward you.
He believes it is a basic fact that you can't criticize yourself or others to positive transformation. Use constructive, not destructive, speech.
Social causes begin with dissatisfaction, but get solved by imagining a world Post-Problem. This is what having Vision is about; it excites action toward change. It works on multiple levels, from personal to global.
As God, an authority figure, people will 'entrain' to you. Entrainment is when applause follows a pattern, for example. That's all I know. It has something to do with social psychology, or mass psychology.
Criticism, he says, actually does the opposite of what you intend it to. It often reinforces their behavior because they feel the need to justify it, and they continue playing the role you've defined them with.
"Do everything without complaining."
-just do it
-why? You'll notice that you are happier, and those around you will seem happier. You will attract upbeat people (and maybe lose some downers), and will inspire those around you to higher energy levels, for whom challenges are gifts.
1 day ago