Stop Complaining: A 30-Day Challenge

Neil StraussNeil226 Comments

Today’s topic: Complaining.

As many of you know, I enjoy using 30-day challenges as a form of behavior modification. And I’m going to propose we all do one together.

The Challenge: 30 days without complaining.

The Consequence: If you complain, you must immediately hand the person you’re talking to a dollar (or your local currency equivalent). If you’re complaining on the phone, Skype, or anything else indirect, you must hand the person closest to you a dollar.

The Recommendation: Tomorrow, put ten singles (or Euros etc) in your pocket. Your goal is to make it through the month without giving away all ten of them.

The Reason: We’re doing this not just because complaining drives other people away from you, no matter how valid you may feel your grievance is, but because complaining is a misdirection of energy. And, truthfully, because I’ve been backsliding and doing too much of it lately.

Remember: All complaints, including negative talk about others or yourself, are just frustrated wishes. And there are two types of wishes: ones that can you can make come true and ones that you have no control over.

The first type of wish can be resolved through an action, typically a request. If you are complaining about a waiter’s service, the wish is: “I wish I had better service.” And you can make this come true by requesting better service from the waiter, by moving to another table, by going to another restaurant, or any number of other steps.

It is when you sit there impotently, not taking any action or making any direct request, that a complaint bubbles up. And a complaint is like very mild aspirin: It offers temporary relief, but the problem is still there.

In fact, you will notice that if you take calm, effective, and fair action when something reasonable is upsetting you or making you anxious, you will actually no longer feel a need to complain. Even if your action is a respectful request that isn’t granted, you now can now accept the reality of the situation, and remove yourself from it.

Usually you’ll find that the action or request takes less time and energy than the sum total of all the complaining.

As for complaints that are actually wishes you have no control over, such as being upset that it’s raining, you’re smart enough to know that this is just wasted energy and misdirected frustration. If you have absolutely no control over something, accept it. To be effective, you need to work within the parameters of reality, not around them.

Remember that whenever you are complaining, this is a signal that you are managing your life badly.

So if you’re up for an easy self-improvement exercise, then we start tomorrow, and go for exactly 30 days.

So get it out of your system today.

And post on your progress, challenges, and insights as you go through this below:

 

226 Comments on “Stop Complaining: A 30-Day Challenge”

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  1. Fantastic idea. I’m taking it with me to Sweden. I hope I’ll have the clarity of mind to catch myself when I complain. Maybe I could recruit people to bust me when I do it!

    1. You’ll have no money to give to people when you complain about the price of everything in Sweden! 🙂

  2. 30 days! I can´t do that.. this is stupid, and why do you always have to be such a superman, why can´t you just tell us to sit down and watch some nice soaps, like friends, you can always watch friends. And why is the world such a crazy place, I just want some predictability, is that too much to ask? Not to mention the government, what a bunch of powerhungry corrupt bastards, and women, our inevitable enigma, why even bother with them, they are so unnecessarily demanding forcing poor men to display personality.. can´t wait till tomorrow, somehow doing things the other way around feels right.. A really good challenge, Niel!

    1. Stop complaining….and learn how to spell (it’s spelled Neil dumbass) Can I complain about stupidity?

      1. Dude, that was sarcasm, you just wasted a $!! I’m guessing granmar/spleling nazism also conts( 😛 ) as complaining!?!

        1. This is the most complaining-y non-complaining thread I’ve ever read. Not that I’m complaining about all the complaining, of course.

      2. This guy thought you were being serious? OMG dude he’s joking, it’s a joke. That’s called humor, do you have any game at all?

        I can’t believe it.

  3. I’m doing this too.
    When I feel a complaint about to leave my lips I’m going to say
    ‘EVEN THOUGH blah blah blah ISN’T THE WAY I WANT IT TO BE, I HAVE TO ACCEPT IT OR CHANGE IT BECAUSE I’M ON A MISSION.’
    30 days? Let’s do it.

      1. This is going to come in handy with a personal problem i have been having between me and a friend of mine. Good stuff here.Thanks dude,peace Out!

  4. I’ve been working on this for a long time, and any extra help I can get I will gladly accept (like this challenge).

    There is a Facebook page called “A complaint free world” which has occasional inspirational quotes and challenges of you need something more to keep reminding you to “stay on target”.

  5. This is BULLSHIT! The world should be giving me dollars. Reason I complain is because of all the stupid, lazy and inconsiderate people out there.

    Doing this challenge will make me go broke on the first day!!!

    Let’s Do It!

  6. Great idea, I definitely need this but I am going to add one more piece to the process. If that which I am complaining about is something that I have some control over I must immediately write down at least three things I can do to fix or eliminate the problem in the future. If it’s something I have absolutely no control over I must find at least three things that are great, or at least good about it.

    Jim Rohn said “it’s not what happens… It’s what you do that counts.

    Game On!

    Rob

  7. I’m in! I don’t think I usually complain a lot but putting focus on it like this may reveal some behaviors I never noticed before…

  8. Neil,

    I agree with the objective of your 30 day challenge, mostly because it mirrors the 40 day fasting period of Lent in the Christian liturgical calendar. It seems as though your type of challenge is geared towards the kind of guy who is not very generous with his money. Giving away 1 dollar is like getting rid of the pocket-change which has been annoying you for the past hour. It represents a transfer of property and an exertion of effort, which outweighs the very value of the currency being transferred. In other words, it is opening up your followers to being ridiculed by the very people they are desperately trying to impress.

    My solution is SIMPLE:

    Replace the meaningless monetary penalty with a meaningful symbolic gesture, such as kissing the feet of the person you are complaining to. It is the most direct way of humbling yourself, and it is not easy to do. It is the sort of thing that only a bigger man can do.

    My assertion is that a challenge should be challenging. Our goal needs to shift from turning “Losers into Normal Guys”, to turning “Losers into Champions”.

    In addition, I would like to congratulate the web-masters out there who can run a successful web-site without the use of censorship.

    What is the penalty for using sarcasm as a replacement for direct complaining? In a certain respect, everything you say can be interpreted as a complaint when you’re dealing with an issue as repugnant as internet censorship.

    1. Also, put your money where your mouth is and you do that. I’m not his damn follower, but I think his challenge isn’t such a bad idea.

      If you honestly think your advice is so much better than his, stop complaining about it and open up your own inner circle.

      You annoy me just as much as you amuse me, so I really don’t care whether you stay or leave.

      Ohh, and you’re misusing the word censorship. Throwing someone off your lawn if they start pissing on it is perfectly civil behaviour, and I’m curious why this site hasn’t done that permanently yet.

      Good luck with life and stuff.

  9. First off, Neil, you REALLY need a personal editor. Almost every post you put out there has at least one grammatical error and it KILLS me!!! (Yes I’m a stickler) lol

    Ok, now that I got that out of my system, let’s do this!!!!

  10. This is going to cost me a fortune (damn, theres another dollar…damn, theres another one..oh no, how the hell am i supposed to do this when…damn theres another one!!)

    🙂

  11. Challenge accepted!
    Rule n°1: I will stop complaining about how my job is not fullfilling me and try to start the one I love.
    Rule n°2: I will stop complaining about not having a GF or not being in a relationship I want to be in and will go out and open every approachable set.

    See you Friday July 5th !

      1. How can you reframe for example that you don’t like your boss, when you’re talking with friends and others. Should you say something like :” I should find a way to be understood and understand my boss” instead of ” I hate my boss… “, without complaining ?

        1. Saying “I hate my boss” is pretty general. Start with narrowing down exactly what you dislike. Is he micro-managing? Disrespectful? Doesn’t give you a chance? Once you have specific behaviors that grate on you, the ACTIONS for you will be more clear:

          “I don’t like how my boss micro-manages me. I’m going to tell him I want more latitude and work with him to create a plan that will build his trust in me.”

          “I don’t like how disrespectful my boss is. I am going to tell him with 3 specific examples where I feel he was being disrespectful and try to work out better communication patterns with him”

          Etc.

  12. “Even if your action is a respectful request that isn’t granted, you now can now accept the reality of the situation, and remove yourself from it.”

    No, I can’t, I Shouldn’t, that’s The Point!

  13. This is a dumbass idea. It’s just not the right time. I wish you would have thought of this sooner.

    JUST KIDDING!

    I’m in.

  14. I’ve always believed this about complaining, but never heard it explained like this. That’s why you’re an author Neil!

    Nevertheless I’ll be doing it too.

  15. challenge accepted !
    it’s going to be hard work, but I hope to be able to report some interesting progress.

  16. this will be hard as i work in a strip club and have to manage 20-30 intoxicated/PMS-ing girls a night. But i need to learn not to complain so challenge accepted!!!

  17. I’m thinking a lot of deep breaths and slow exhalations… A bit of meditation might help too, even just getting up and walking away. I find pulling a funny face can defuse potential crises, this might work best with kids or saved for a last resort!

  18. challenge accepted. i already did it sometime and it is great what a great feeling you get from it. greetings from Colombia

  19. This is actually a great way to exercise self-discipline, self-awareness, staying present and not having the complaints rattle us in any way. I’m game, for this!!!

  20. I’ve done the similar challenge before. I could only make it to day 3, day 4 or something…

    Let’s do it again!!!

  21. I will take on this challenge. Funny since today I complained to a friend and then took some time to think about it and realized how useless it was.

    1. So true! You start to realize how patient your friends are for being there for you when you vent, and how much better the friendship would become if you didn’t.

  22. Great challenge! I recently felt that I was whining and complaining quite a bit. Great timing Neil. I’m going to take up this challenge starting now.

  23. Excited to see so many of you on board—let’s do this! As you go through this challenge, continue to either update your comments or post below them throughout the month so we can see your progress. I’ll make this comment my 30 Day Challenge thread.

    1. Day 1 Update: One thing that helps is telling the people you regularly talk to about the Challenge, so they can call you out if you start complaining.

      What’s been amazing here is how much better I feel. It’s funny, you think “venting” is going to get it out of your system, but really gets it out of your system is getting it out of your life–by being proactive.

      Going to check out your updates now.

      And for me, to answer a query above, sarcasm does count if you’re using it to mask a complaint:

      ie, if instead of saying, “My boss sucks,” you say, “My boss is really great” in a sarcastic tone, it’s still a complaint.

  24. I’m all in Neil. I’m printing this out and keeping it in front of me for the next 30 days. Also, gonna set hourly reminders to see if I’m complaining less.

    Dwelling on the Positives Baby!

  25. I told some of the guys at work today the challenge I took on. And I actually challenged them to try to get it out of me, they accepted with a big smirk on their face! Oh I am already looking forward to the coming days 😀

  26. ok so what about complaints that crop up in your internal monologue? in New Zealand the 5th of june is coming to an end, so i’m nearly at the end of day 1, so far so good on stuff i’ve said/typed, but as i was driving along by myself today i complained a couple of times internally about the poor driving of others, i did catch myself and let it go quickly, but do i still owe $1×2 somewhere?? or are we only focusing on complaints we express?
    Later i noticed the car infront had visibly flat tyres, nearly began an internal complaint about wastefullness, laze and safety, but stopped it dead realising it was pointless, short of stalking him till his destination, i couldn’t show the guy his flat tyres so why get negative about it right? then an amazing thing happened! i sudenly realised i hadn’t checked my tyres in a couple of months, so pulled into a service station and sure enough 3-4psi needed in each tyre due to the change of season into winter. Once i stopped judging others i had the clarity to look at myself, sure in a minor way, but still much more usefull than the minor complaint, this could be an interesting month.

    1. I was wondering about my internal monologue. if i am not complaining out loud but still thinking about things bugging me, am i not just internalizing my grievances?

      1. Things will inevitably bug you, and that’s natural. And thinking “Man, that sucks” is really just an apraisal of something. The point about not simply complaining about it, but doing something about it is that that will benefit you more.

        1. Good question Rockhopper. For the purpose of this challenge, I’m making it any complaint that’s voiced out loud.

          I think that stopping negative internal self-talk is another challenge. Maybe the next one once we get this beaten.

    2. @rockhoppernz – I had the same question! If you do include your internal monologue in this challenge, is there anyone who could pass? I think most of us would lose the $10 in a day! But that’s great that you’re catching your own internal dialog and making corrections. I plan to do the same…

    3. Yeah the air in my car can get pretty blue sometimes in response to the crazy things other drivers do on the road but sometimes what seems like solipsism or just plain stupidity turns out to be a reaction to something I couldn’t see and nine times out of ten, once I’ve had a chance to think about it, I know I’m guilty of the same crime myself. I noticed this most when I had a car that would go into safe-mode if I tipped the brake so found myself having to judge distances to junctions or lights and trying to coast up to them, all of a sudden I was getting annoyed at everyone driving so fast or pulling in too close infront of me which under normal circumstances weren’t terribly unreasonable. The change of perspective was a big eye-opener, what we complain about and why has a lot to do with our perspective which can be on one or other side of the fence on any given day. So I find that now, when I have the presence of mind, I ask myself if I’ve ever been on the other side of a particular fence or can I imagine myself there? The other benefit was 44mpg!!

  27. I have never done any 30 day challenges, i am usually a tourist when it comes to these things. i am however going to do this!

    i do think i complain a lot but not in a negative way but i do it for laughs and conversation, i am British though so surely this is some kind of loop hole in this challenge?

    Thankfully the sun has come out in the UK now so one less thing to complain about. :o)

    1. that’s a very good consideration too, alot of hilarous comedy is bassed around complaining, i think complaining for the sake of entertaining people is ok, if you’re putting smiles on people’s faces and making them laugh, cool, but if you’re getting bent out of shape, frowning and making people cringe that’s the sort of thing we’re trying to cut out right?

  28. Seem the post yesterday and I’ll begin the test right now…

    It is on!

    Let’s get rid of negativity and inertia, folks! 😀

  29. This is great. I’ve learned over the years that complaining brings stress and that if no action is done about the problem stress and complaining will burden your life. Thanks for the challenge and wise words Neil.

  30. Im SO doing this! Leaving tomorrow for a 1 month packpacking holiday in Asia. Climbing, surfing, diving. Im going to have some local currency in my pocket all the time in case i catch myself complaining. I have high expectations, I pride myself on never complaining so it will be fun to see how much is left at the end of my vacation!

    1. If you’re in China, I’d go with 10 yuan bills, because giving away one yuan is such a dang small sum.

  31. I think I’m on, but with a little twist.

    I’m going with cigarettes. One, I’m usually low on these, so it does hurt to give them out. But if I have to, it’s seen as a nice token by any other smoker, and it’ll get me to smoke less.

    1. And even though this is not entirely on topic, I think the Warren Buffet paragraph is really intresting to brainstorm about.

      Frankly, he’re is roughly how I would go about it.

      First, I’d do my homework about the guy. What’s his life story, what are his interests, what interests do I share with him, where does he spend his free time, what social circles does he frequent.

      So now I have this info. Then, I plan my angle of attack and how I’ll go about it. For example, just by viewing his wikipedia entry, I can tell he started out by doing small time selling, so that’s proably a point where we share intrests, and where I can display genuine curiosity.

      Getting into personal contact should proably be easiest over Peter Buffet, his youngest son, who is musician.

      He also plays bridge.

      Now frankly, this approach might be somewhat over the top for simply getting an interview with him, but interviews are over far to quick in my opinion for you to pick that persons brains throughoutly. Two hours tops, and the guy you’re interviewing really wants to leave and do something else. No, if the other guy brings such tremendous value to the table, you really have to give back something. Even if it’s just genuinely listening and understanding what that person is saying.

      1. Good thoughts. You should have replied. There were some great candidates: One guy who responded had actually interviewed him before!

  32. Okay, so a colleague was messing with me and managed to bug me while I was writing on the whiteboard and removing some of my words as I had just written them. To which I responded with agitation in my voice: “What are you doing?”

    Does that qualify as a complaint? Now of course we’re in a discussion on whether or not I owe him a euro.

    Your thoughts?

    1. no way! you don’t owe that guy a thing. If instead, you didn’t confront him, but instead went to another co-worker and started complaining about how annoying the guy was being then you’d owe that co-worker a euro. Directly confronting the cause of the annoyance is fine, that’s dealing with the issue and a positive thing. Balling things like this up inside and spreading them to other people who have nothing to do with it is what we’re trying to change.

      1. My thoughts exactly, thanks for confirming RockHopper. So far so good, I’ve caught myself on the brink of complaining out loud a few times now. This exercise is working really great because I’ve been able to stop myself from saying the words due to the heightened awareness in my head.

        I’m enjoying it so far!

  33. I just realized in going through my memory of this morning that I complained about twenty times before I read this. LOL. Okay, I’m game. Let’s see if I make it through the day.

  34. I did the “No talking negative about people” challenge that I saw Neil doing in a video last year. It was awesome. After 30 days, I was much more positive about people and it changed how people respond and react to me. Made me more open and inviting. I have also done the no complaining challenge before around the same time and it did wonders for my overall positivity level. Even when the challenge is over, changes stick, for a while. This was about a year ago. Over the last few months I’ve felt some negativity creeping back in so this is great timing. I’m in to do it again, starting at a higher level than last time. Life is like a video game, the more you level up, the harder the challenges you face, but the more you are able to deal with them…

    Thanks Neil

    1. Another thing I noticed the last time I did this was how aware it made me of what was coming out of my mouth in general. I chose my words much more carefully overall…

  35. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” Dale Carnegie.

    After I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” I took that quote to heart and avoided complaining ever since. I still forget from time to time and this 30 day conscious effort is a great way to hammer it down. Earlier today I was on the brink of complaining about how I gained 4 lbs over the last week, I caught myself before it came out, skipped desert and chalked in a run for tomorrow morning.

    We got this!

  36. I don’t utter many complaints, but i noticed i have a lot of complaints and sarcastic remarks swirling around in my head whenever something affects me.
    Be it just people walking slowly in the street.

    Haha, actually it’s insane. It’s so much. Never noticed it before now.

  37. I just started a shit job that requires me to start all the way from a Sales Consultant to a Manager, the hours are long and the pay is shit, haha so it will be interesting to see how long I can go without complaining. It should be really interesting and I know I’ve already been bad mouthing the job but I just wanted to paint a picture of where I’m at-I think I actually need this so here goes nothing! Will keep you posted on my progress.

    1. Yes, good observation, you already did some complaining in this post. Think this is going to be a good–and tough–challenge for you!

  38. This is going to be a good oppurtunity to catch myself on how often I complain.

    Bring it on.

  39. Great excercise, surprised how many times it already stopped me from whining, however still short a couple of ECUs (Excessive Complaining Units, that is), but its for a good cause

  40. With 25 days left I have 7 dollars in my pocket. Not bad as I thought I would lose the whole lot by day 3. I remember my 1st day I gave a dollar to a co-worker, complaining about work, but instantly became more aware of what I was thinking and saying. That night my girl and I were eating at an outside restaurant, and the group eating across the way had a lot to complain about. Mostly with the food and service, but also about life. I don’t think I would have ever noticed, had I not started this challenge.

    Thanks,
    Neil

  41. 2 days since I started the challenge and it’s no joke! I only realise now how hard it is to never complain and to always have something good to say. I recently quit my job and inevitably I had to tell all my friends and family the reasons why I quit. I wander if does that count as complaining? Cause I was merely stating facts about my job and the position. My awareness has definitely increased and I’ve realised that I’ve actually begun to eliminate negative self-talk and will not comment or add anything when friends or family are saying something negative. My motto for the rest of the challenge is “Speak ill of no man and praise every approbation.”

    1. Wow, you move fast: Is this the same job you just started a few comments above. As for whether it counts as complaining, that depends on what you’re saying. A fact, as I use them for communication, would be a neutral observation that even the camera would make. So “I quit because my boss is a jerk” would be a judgment or opinion. I quit because “my boss didn’t respect me” is also a matter of opinion. But “I quit because my boss threw a coffee mug at my head” would be a fact (if it happened). And great motto: a great way to build relationships in general too!

  42. One week down, three to go. I slipped twice. Both times while referring to large groups of people. I’ve managed to eliminate complaining about myself and other individuals, but the larger collectives are tough.

    I have also found that not complaining is quite easy when you get in the rhythm of it. Also pointless if you don’t fill the space you’ve created with new appreciation. I’ve gone from always being a downer and criticizing people to being very quiet.

    My next challenge is to say the best thing I can every time i have nothing to say or when I am tempted by criticism.

    And for the rest of you, I found some incentive on Gretchen Rubins happiness project:

    People will unintentionally associate what you say about the qualities of other people’s with you. If I told x that y is not trustworthy, x will unconsciously associate you with being dishonest. On the other hand, if you said they are hilarious, you will be thought of as being funny in the same way. This works even if x already knows you.

    1. That’s interesting: I haven’t heard that one yet. I wonder what it is about that large group that gets to you. Would be worth exploring: curious to know what mental shift it will lead to.

      Great quote from Gretchen Rubins. That’s really true.

      Similarly, in The Game, when you give your wing an accomplishment intro, it actually reflects well on you just as much.

  43. Before reading this I had just posted on my gmail chat status “the boredom” haha

    Obviously now is erased.
    let’s do this!

  44. Been doing this for a week or so now and have handed over £3 so far. I’m sure one of the people who’ve benefited financially from my complaining is trying to draw them out of me so I have to be very careful! It has made me realize I do have a bit of work to do on that front and am even starting to wonder who I owe a £ to if I complain to myself in my head 🙂 A good exercise, cheers Neil.

  45. This is simply BRILLIANT. We just need to be reminded how smarter we should use our energy and not to act bitter and stupid!

  46. I’m on the 9th day of Stylelife Challenge. I guess it won’t hurt if I’ll join in another life-changing activity. 🙂

  47. I just wanted to say that the challenge is going great for me. I’ve lost a few bucks but it will be worth it in the long run.

    One pretty rewarding thing that happened is that I told all of my co-workers to keep me honest and one of them said ‘why are you doing this? You don’t complain much at all.’ I felt pretty good about it because I must have been on the right path to begin with and now I’m pushing myself even further!

  48. Comment 108 of ? 174 comments 😉

    This has been a huge challenge, because complaining is so intricately woven into our habits of speech. Have I succeeded? Absolutely not. Have I cut down the amount of complaining I do overall? Absolutely. But the real take-away for me has been noticing the little ways we complain when we don’t actually realize we’re complaining (as in “intricately woven”).

    E.G., I wake up, it’s beautiful out. I get my things together, grab my dog, and head out for a hike. 15 minutes later, large clouds appear, blocking out the sun, and dropping the temperature 20 degrees. “Aw, man! I was totally stoked to get some sun today! Why does this happen every time I want to go for a hike?”

    Or how about this: I’m a bike commuter, which even here where bikes are super common, is tantamount to taking your life in your own hands every day. At least once a day, some idiot does something that threatens the integrity of my bones and internal organs. Is it even morally correct NOT to complain about these things? I mean, they’re WRONG, those horse-blindered drivers!

    But since I already know that this is how it is, and since I continue to choose to ride my bike every day, it’s a little ridiculous for me to object to it when it happens. And besides, I have done this for so long that I am a really good defensive rider. I don’t take chances, and I assume that pretty much any car on the road has one, sole purpose in life, which is to slam into me or make me slam into something else.

    So instead of talking about how these fucking idiots are always being fucking idiots, I talk about how awesome it is to learn how to be a defensive rider, and how you are SO much better off in the long run on a bike (no parking, a somewhat more lenient approach to red lights (providing, of course, that defensive measures have been taken), and just the general ability to get places faster on a bike (where I live, at least).

    So there you go, on our way to 174+. Thanks for this — it’s been a great help!

    David

  49. Comment 108 of 174+ comments 😉

    This has been a huge challenge, because complaining is so intricately woven into our habits of speech. Have I succeeded? Absolutely not. Have I cut down the amount of complaining I do overall? Absolutely. But the real take-away for me has been noticing the little ways we complain when we don’t actually realize we’re complaining (as in “intricately woven”).

    E.G., I wake up, it’s beautiful out. I get my things together, grab my dog, and head out for a hike. 15 minutes later, large clouds appear, blocking out the sun, and dropping the temperature 20 degrees. “Aw, man! I was totally stoked to get some sun today! Why does this happen every time I want to go for a hike?”

    Or how about this: I’m a bike commuter, which even here where bikes are super common, is tantamount to taking your life in your own hands every day. At least once a day, some idiot does something that threatens the integrity of my bones and internal organs. Is it even morally correct NOT to complain about these things? I mean, they’re WRONG, those horse-blindered drivers!

    But since I already know that this is how it is, and since I continue to choose to ride my bike every day, it’s a little ridiculous for me to object to it when it happens. And besides, I have done this for so long that I am a really good defensive rider. I don’t take chances, and I assume that pretty much any car on the road has one, sole purpose in life, which is to slam into me or make me slam into something else.

    So instead of talking about how these fucking idiots are always being fucking idiots, I talk about how awesome it is to learn how to be a defensive rider, and how you are SO much better off in the long run on a bike (no parking, a somewhat more lenient approach to red lights (providing, of course, that defensive measures have been taken), and just the general ability to get places faster on a bike (where I live, at least).

    So there you go, on our way to 174+. Thanks for this — it’s been a great help!

    David

    1. Sorry for the accidental double-post. It’s just that this website is so dumb and it won’t let you edit your comments once they’re posted! God, I am so SICK of stuff like this… 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. Getmethebutter, you owe me like $20, haa.

        And I think this is going to be good for you. To remove yourself from being the center of the universe.

        Universe: Look, Getmethebutter is going for a hike. I think I’m going to rain just as soon as he gets out there and starts enjoying the sun. That’ll teach him a lesson for yelling at that old lady in the Fiat yesterday.

        Getmethebutter: Damn you, universe!

  50. Stop complaining since I’m doing meditation.
    My mind is Blank now, every morning when I wake up ,I listen to Andrew weil.

    I use social mirror to check my behavior when I’m out with my friends.

  51. Absolutely amazing stuff. And here’s the great thing that i learned in this week after getting into the challenge, i just pretend not to care when things are not going my way and just be pro-active about it. So when people are out there complaining about things that they don’t have any control over, “We/You will figure out a way to get this thing right”, I say.

    Challenge is going great. Great stuff, this.

      1. Great stuff. And I can see how that makes you someone who people want to be around, a more natural leader. One of the first things I learned when doing The Game was that negativity doesn’t breed attraction. And thanks, Sarmadhabib.

  52. ooops,
    Just seeing this email now. Late to the party, but I’m IN!
    June 17- July 17 for me.
    Happy Father’s Day, Inner circlers.

      1. Thanks for the post. And for this challenge, complaining in your mind doesn’t count. One problem at a time. And ha, maybe it’s good to accept your team’s fallible humanity.

  53. I’m traveling in Europe for 6 months. Month 3 I broke my foot in Spain. This was 2 weeks ago. The first day I complained horribly. Upon realizing that there is nothing to be gained, I accepted that a broken foot was my new reality, and started to take actions.

    I’m now in London, and instead of a cast and 2 crutches I have a walking boot that lets me get around. I’ve got great friends that have helped me out, and I’ve gotten to know them far better as a result of this. Instead of blowing through London on my trip I’m now going to spend quite a while here while I heal, getting to know the town.

    My point: accepting where you are right now and adapting your plans for what you want is far better than holding dearly to plans that have changed beyond your control for any reason.

    Great challenge to eliminate complaints and thus reorient towards actions. Love it.

  54. Hey Neil you know what Im sick of seeing..Oh no wait, nevermind! I was going to complain about how I was tired of seeing that dick pick story in the “Most Popular Posts” widget- but I stopped myself, cool now I can still get that can of Arizona Black & White Ice Tea that I want

  55. From the book One Minute Manager: “If you can’t tell me what you’d like to be happening, you don’t have a problem yet. You’re just complaining. A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening.”

    1. I like that thought. Though I wonder: Is it a problem when what is happening is different than what one desires to be happening? Sometimes that’s just reality.

      1. I agree. Knowing you want a sunny day when it’s raining still falls under complaining.

        I think the statement should say “If you can’t tell me what you’d like to be happening and why”. Wanting rain because your crop is dying is different wishing it’d be Friday because you hate Mondays.

    2. Come on Neil,

      POWER for the sake of POWER.

      Power is the ability to conform reality to your will at every point in time and absolutely.

      It really depends largely on your preference between being a servant in Heaven, or the Supreme Ruler of Hell.

      When I voice my concerns about a problematic situation, it is absolutely because I have a better way to do it, and I’ve already rolled up my sleeves to get the job done RIGHT.

  56. I was on a business trip last week and my usual hotel was completely sold out, so I got booked into a shitty hotel. After a bad night I caught myself complaining and then this post came back to me. With the reminder from Neil fresh in my head, I took action – I called my usual hotel, got a real person on the line and explained the situation. They found a way to squeeze me in and gave me a fantastic suite with a great view for the price of a regular room.
    It works!

  57. great challenge!
    i am trying my best, honestly i have to admit that in few occasion i did complain … but at least i was aware of breaking the rules and hopefully it will get better abd better
    🙂

    1. This challenge has been amazing. I have felt great every single day and everytime I have a thought that is a complaint, I catch myself and switch my thought process. I have come into some circumstances where I might want to complain but my energy has remained stong and positive. Everyone I discuss the challenge with is instantly in.

  58. I lost 2 $ until now, i’m confident that i can make it. Every time a complain pops up in my brain I’m like : no,no,no…

  59. I am taking this challenge very seriously.

    What I find extremely troubling is having to listen to some idiot, complain, and complain, and complain about NOTHING.

    You tell them to stop, but they don’t, and the worst part is that you used to be exactly like them… A complainer.

  60. I complained for 10 minutes to my co-worker about my phone plan where I have to opt-out of 4 or 5 “services” to avoid having to pay what amounts to twice as much each month.

    -1 euro

  61. I find the hard part is not taking part of other people’s complaints. What’s the best way you’ve found to dodge or switch subject when others are starting to complain about anything?

    You can’t always just brush it off. Some people need to vent off sometimes. My thought is you can listen to the first loop of complain, give feedback and if they keep on, politely say you think they start to sound like they’re complaining and tell something about focusing on positive side of it. People in general know that complaining is bad, said in the right way they’ll realize what they’re doing is not good for them.

    1. Hi Mathieu, I too must say, without denying my responsibility, that it has become clear that I need to be aware of our relational nature, and so to speak stop it when howling with the other wolves. I have been working on adapting a mindset of listening instead of just reacting, this seems to give a little space for rephrasing any response to a non-complaining one.. seems too, that the more i contribute in this direction the more I get met with the same..

      1. Hey Slan. I totally agree, especially for little matters like people who complains about the weather or traffic lights (these things will always be there get along with them). I definitely never take part of those.

        I was thinking at a higher level, for example I had a friend vent out about her father last Sunday (father’s day), it’s a genuine concern which needs to be talked about and worth listening to but after so much venting it starts to become complaining. It’s finding that point where it becomes too much which is not always easy.

  62. I have made this part of my morning ritual. I read the email Neil sent every morning with my coffee. I printed off copies and gave them to my co-workers who I most interact with and they love it. And this is a great DHV conversation topic…women love talking about this type of stuff (self improvement). Lastly, it has really opened my eyes to how much energy I used to get by putting other people down.

    Neil, I highly recommend a differenet 30 day challenge every month

  63. I am down to $5, and it would seem that my complaints are to the same group of people every time. Is it a complaint if you are letting your girlfriend know about a problem you have with her? Overall the mission is going great!

  64. Status update: I let my wife know about the challenge and she has been kind of like a sponsor about it. She actually modified the penalty: the dollars to quetzales conversion is of around Q8 for every dollar, so it does hurt me more than if it was just a (local) buck. Where I´ve slipped: I got baited into a circular and almost pointless movie discussion last week with a friend/co-worker: I snapped several times due to frustration, which I´m guessing involved several complaint combos. Have also complained about Guatemalans taste in movies, work stuff and marriage issues. It´s a tough challenge, yet one that I am very much embracing. Will keep you posted!

  65. I started a bit late, but I also just found this site recently, so I’m in. It’s only been a couple of days, but I’m only down 1$. For me, that’s saying something.

  66. I think the hardest thing about not complaining was first understanding the magnitude of what encompasses an complaint. To complain, by definition is: “Expressing dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event; or To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.”

    Which led me into long conversations with friends about what it truly means to complain. If you had a hard day at work, come home, and your boyfriend asks how your day was, are you supposed to put on a happy face and say, “So terrific” instead of the truth – which would be expressing dissatisfaction? It didn’t seem feasible to be both truthful about situations and also not to complain.

    So, my friends and I who got on board with this challenge modified: a complaint that is being given when there is no feasible way to make a change – in other words, an unproductive complaint – is outright complaining and the kind we would banish from our lives.

    But, expressing dissatisfaction as a means of asking for help or advice to solve a problem, to make things better, or because you’re trying to understand how to change and get out of the complaint – is fair game provided you’re open to changing what is going on.

    I don’t think it’s possible to live without expressing dissatisfaction. Some experiences we have and relate are impossible to discuss any other way. Thus, I think intention for why you’re complaining, and what you expect the outcome to be, is key.

  67. I’m starting this today and to help me remember, I used a sharpie and put a capital NC (No Complaining) on the inside of my wrist. It will remain there till July 19.

    Good Luck all and thanks for the challenge Neil.

    1. Major commitment. An additional step in the “great opener” aspect of the challenge, am I right?

  68. I was taking notes on the James Gandolfini article Neil wrote. I noticed how Gandolfini’s complaints were very self defeating when talking about his health. I think we can all learn from that and realized how negative or positive self talk (in our heads or in conversation) is a huge factor in the overall quality of our lives.
    I have given up $16 in this challenge. One time I gave the dollar before the complaint (it was something I just had to say) but afterwards I always took some time to contemplate. Stick with the challenge everyone!

  69. I am still complaining every now and then but I am gradually being conscience of doing and I am putting forth my best efforts in stopping it. It’ll take time but it is a great activity to have and to work on every day. Practice makes perfect!

  70. This is an interesting challenge and journey in self-discovery. I realized that most of my complaining happens because I’m in a rush. Driving, on the job, in relationships, etc. When I slow down a little and think before I speak or take the time to review my work, I find that I complain less and accomplish just as much or more at a higher level.

  71. the past few weeks may have been hard bc I hadn’t realized how much I complain without thinking about it, but this exercise has helped me out a lot. instead of complaining I just start looking for a solution. If others are complaining about something that can’t be changed I just ask them “whats your solution? bc complaining doesn’t help” and it is really working.

  72. Damn, I almost complained about how I already want my final school year to pass by. I was already saying those things in my head; will those count as a violation of the 30-day challenge?

  73. This is a surprisingly fresh angle on self control. and it’s been going pretty well. I’ve let a few slip, but I think I’m approaching things with a much more positive outlook. I don’t feel transformed into a more happy or positive guy but there is a big benefit from actively making myself more conscious of my thoughts. Instead of just going around on autopilot, I’m criticizing my approach to everyday events much more than usual. I’ve sought for a long time to be mindful of what I do but I’m taking it to a new level with this challenge.

  74. Damn. Just seen this. Wish I’d have looked into it properly before…

    Looks like tomorrow is Day One. I’m going to give any complaint money to a local charity tho!

  75. So far I’m doing good. I’ve been sarcastic so I’m glad to know that does not count since I did not count it;)

    Since yesterday (Monday) I’ve had to give $3.00 Looking back, I was so exhausted and began to complain and loose my cool. It reminded me of how important it is to get enough sleep since I not only complain, thus I’m in a bad head-space but I also make bad decisions.

    I’m visiting my family for two weeks so I will be extremely cautious and let them in on The Challenge.

    1. Have you talked trash about someone? That still counts. I´ve talked some serious trash, but not as much as I used to.

  76. Awesome challenge, 1 day left and I’ve still got £4 left and discovered my new reply when meeting a friend or work mate.
    > how are you today?
    > can’t complain! 😛

    Also discovered catching myself about to complain, taking a few seconds to think of something positive & usually find something awesome that makes me happier. Officially I have no complaints about this challenge 🙂

    Ben S

  77. Just started this challenge… 🙂 today is october 26 and I won’t complain or talk negetively about myself and others till november 26. Atlest not 10 times. Already put 10 coins of taka (bangladesh currency) in a pocket.

    I think this will be fun ! Wish me luck !

  78. Since several weeks i´ve been really down and i wish, i really wish i can be happy again for a while. I´ll try and see what will happen…

  79. Just do it ! I am into this . I need help with my sticking point, cold approaches. I am still nervous while making the cold approaches, any help guys? Style pls suggest something.

  80. Good Stuff, Stop Complaining and Start Wishing in every Situation. I experience this during traffic hours, I start to wish that i’ll be on time instead of I’m late again, Boom! amazing happens.

  81. Greetings to all. I’ve just signed in an fully interested in all past posts from you, admin. I’m in the process of reading The Game book and The Couch will help me excell even better. Thanks.

  82. Great thing, I even know how much I needed, I was read this before on mail but I’m multitasking and forgot it!! I hope this time I don’t forget or underestimate this!

  83. Ok, I must take this really serious right now I promise I put here information how its going the challenge starting right now.

  84. Yesterday was my first day challenge, but I think is the hardest one, because you don´t have the habbit to stop complaining, hope the rest feel that way.

    One day at a time!!!

  85. Can we get feedback from people that took the challenge 2 years ago?
    It looks fun and sounds like a good idea, but did it actually work for you guys? Or did you get back to your old habits after a while?

  86. Despite in theory it could work, I think that there are a number of instances where you cannot do without.

    If this were true 100% lots of “Complaints Department ” would not exist any longer..

    In reality, we need to complain to improve something, that otherwise will never be considered.
    I am coming back from a tour to Romania, where I experienced the worst possible service in the history ever (is it a complaint or a warning to you guys thinking to go there?)

    Now, I can just smile and say it was all fantastic and great.
    I would be an hipocrit and liar, but I will not convey that Bucharest is my next “DO NO GO” destination ever.

    Instead I feel it is my obbligation to post what you are expected to find on the relevant travel Website, sorry.

    Not only this will prevent many people from falling into this, but will also (maybe??!) be spotted by someone, someday, who will see that the tourist will go someone else and maybe work to fix it, since I cannot do this alone (non controllable events).
    Of course this will have to come in a complain format, else, how do you want me to convey the message?

    Same is valid for hotels, restaurants and so on.
    Websites like Tripadvisor are today the best possible source ever to know where I am heading, regardless of the shining website the hotels offer.
    Tripadvisor (thanks God) is full with complaint

    What do you think?

  87. Sounds great, and I’m up for it. One question: when you complain, you express that you’re unsatisfied with whatever is going on. When you CAN change it, yes that comes in handy to change your perception and view of life.

    But, when you can’t?

    My only fear is that I’ll stop complaining, accept reality as it is, and fall into depression.

    Solution?

  88. Hey Guys!!! I got mine from Cindy. My blank ATM card can withdraw €2,000 daily. I got it from her last week Wednesday and now I have €7,000 for free. The card withdraws money from any ATM machines and there is no name on it, it is not traceable and now i have money for business and enough money for me and my 4 kids. I am really happy i met Cindy because i met two people before her and they took my money not knowing that they were scams. But am happy now. Cindy sent the card through DHL and i got it in two days. Get one from her now. she is giving it out to help people even if it is illegal but it helps a lot and no one ever gets caught. Cindy’s email address is ([email protected])

  89. I’m absolutely on board with this! I’ve been writing a lot myself about this, removing the victim mentality, quit whining and go forward. It’s as much for me as anybody else. This is a challenge I can absolutely get on board with, and will encourage a few others to as well!

  90. After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don’t believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS’

  91. Hey guys, I’m so excited! Dr.Unity cast love spells that really work and my broken Marriage has been restored…
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  94. Hey guys,
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  95. Why could my Husband not be loyal to me, respect me as his wife, love me and only me without breaking our marriage vows? My Husband’s behaviors caused me to think maybe we were not meant to be together. It hurts to the bone when your life partner turns against you, making you sad instead of being your motivator, always engaging you in constant argument and confusion with the kids. The worst is him being unfaithful, seeing other women is like stabbing you in the back. My better half caused me so much pain for over 2years and 4months, we reassembly separated like 6weeks because his continuous reckless behavior became unbearable. I searched for permanent solution to get him back to us both physical and spiritual throughout the entire 6weeks. I was lucky to have Dr. Wakina ([email protected]) handle my case after reading alot of his spell stories. “Can you help me get my Husband back” was the request I made and the rest is history. My marital home is even better since the love spell changed and brought back my Husband. Dr. Wakina made me believe in second chance.

  96. Hey Neil
    I tried to do this 30 days challenge in my country : iran, annnnd ! I got some big issues and no answer from this ! I don’t know what should I do ! the culture is so f***ing different here !

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