If we want to move towards a more positive, happy, and fulfilling life, we have to eliminate negative complaining. In the following video, I share 3 ways to stop or reduce complaining.
1.Be aware of it!
We cannot change what we don’t first confront. We have to hold things in our awareness when we want to change anything in our lives. We must think about not complaining and hold it in our awareness to change. It’s important to note that there are two kinds of complaining. Mindless complaining and justified complaining. Mindless complaining has no action, intent, or purpose. Justified complaining involves action and intent and moves us closer to our goals. A key difference between the two types of complaining is rule number 2.
2. Focus on solutions not problems
In order to stop complaining, we have to focus on solutions, not problems. Problems are a part of mindless complaining, which serves no purpose. When we focus on solutions, we learn and grow, and use our creativity which ultimately helps us grow towards the person we want to become.
3. Use complaint – but – gratitude technique.
When we find ourselves complaining we can use a “but” and then follow it with gratitude. For example: I hate going to work – but – I’m grateful I have a job that provides for my family.
By using these three strategies you can eliminate, or at least reduce, complaining altogether. Remember, mindless complaining that focuses only on problems serves no purpose.
Make today an awesome day,
Sources: The No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon. You can find information about this amazing book on the book recommendations page.
Have you ever purchased (or thought about purchasing) a new car, then suddenly realized how many people have the exact same car?
Maybe it wasn’t a car, maybe it was a new jacket, or purse, or new set of golf clubs, or maybe it wasn’t something material at all, but a behavior.
I’m sure you can relate in some way to an experience where you never realized something, and then you suddenly noticed it everywhere.
This happened to me the last time I purchased a new car. Was there suddenly more of those cars than before? Of course not. I just never noticed them, because I wasn’t looking for them.
This is the idea behind you see what you are looking for.
So, why do we do this?
The human brain uses sensory adaptation to prevent us from being overwhelmed.
Sensory adaptation in basic terms means you get use to something, and the brain stops bringing it to your attention.
The owner of the house with 5 cats doesn’t even smell the cats anymore, but the guests sure can smell it, right?
The pool feels like ice when you first get in doesn’t it? Then after a few minutes it feels great.
Most likely you don’t even hear that music playing all day long at work anymore, right? Kevin, that’s because the music sucks! I get that, but it’s also your brain tuning it out or adapting to it.
This happens unconsciously. You don’t tell your brain that you don’t want to hear “light rock, with less talk” anymore, it just does it for you.
When you buy that new car, you are thinking about the new car (all day long), and so the brain keeps it in your awareness, and voila! Suddenly every other car is your dream BMW.
So why is this important?
The value of this is not in seeing possessions, or about your senses adapting. I used these examples because I think we can all relate, but the real value in this is that there are many beautiful and positive experiences happening every day that we just don’t see. We tune them out.
It’s time to start noticing all the abundant beauty in our lives.
Shawn Achor tells us “before happiness and success comes your perception of your world.”
How you see the world, defines your world.
Have you ever known a person that seemed to “have good luck” all the time? Sure, random positive or negative things happen, and the dude may have actually just been lucky, but he may also have been looking for an opportunity at exactly the right time.
Successful people are always looking for ways to get better, and be better. And by doing so, when better comes along, they jump on it.
It all starts with awareness though. You see what you are looking for.
If you open your mind, and start looking for ways to make more money, or new business opportunities, or ways in which you can serve more people, those opportunities will become visible.
The problem is many people sit around complaining about things, instead of actually looking for them, and then taking action.
And that’s the key. You have to take action. Take the action to start looking, and when the opportunity arises, squash your fears and take the action to get what you want.
Being positive will help you in seeing more opportunities. The brain is wired to continuously produce thoughts. You need to eliminate the negative stinking thinking from your mind, and fill that brain space with positive beautiful thoughts. This way of thinking will allow you to see more opportunities in the world.
Approach each day with the expectation to see beauty and opportunities.
Understand that there are opportunities for growth and success all around you. The key is to get out of your comfort zone of thinking, and challenge yourself to start thinking in a new way, and to look for more opportunities. Opportunities are everywhere, sometimes it’s just a matter of who can actually see them, and who takes action.
There always seems to be that one person that just frustrates you, right? The coworker that no matter what he or she says, you just don’t like it. A friend of yours could say the exact same thing as this person, and you may laugh, but if that one person says it, it’s not funny at all. Hopefully you have risen above this, but if so can you remember a time when this was true for you?
In relationships, we also see what we are looking for. If you want to not like somebody, then you will see all the things that they do, that you don’t like. If you do like somebody you will see all the good things they do.
Unfortunately some of us do this to the people we love the most. In the beginning of love, you chose to see how caring and sweet she was, but after five years all you see is her nagging at you. In the beginning, you chose to see how safe he made you feel, and now after five years all you see is his dirty socks in the living room.
In most cases (not all) but in most cases, his or her behavior isn’t that much different than when you first met. You just chose to see the good in the beginning, and now you choose see the bad. You see what you are looking for.
So how do we reframe our mind?
The best way I have found to stop seeing the negative, is to express gratitude any chance I can. For example, if you find yourself focusing on a behavior that somebody does that upsets you, take a moment to change your thinking to focus on all the things that this person does that you are grateful for. If someone you love is awesome 90% of the time, don’t spend your time focused on that 10%, spend your brain power thinking of the 90%. This applies to our children as well.
Think about the concept of you see what you are looking for, and find ways in which you can reframe your thinking, and understand that it starts with you. Before demanding someone else change, you need to change first.
If the lens in which you view the world is negative, then you need to change the lens.
I said this earlier but it’s worth repeating. How you see the world defines your world.
Please share this article with anybody you can. Remember, we strengthen our mind, the same way we strengthen our body. By feeding it right, and by exercising. Hit the positivity gym up daily to maximize you potential.
Miguel Ruiz opens the book explaining we he calls, “The Domestication of Humans.”
“Day by day, at home, at school, at church, and from television, we are told how to live, what kind of behavior is acceptable.”
He points out that children are “trained” with a reward and punishment system. Do this, good things happen, do that, you’re in trouble.
As we age, we use this same system on ourselves. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves.
We learn to conform to the way society tells us to act.
By continually punishing ourselves we suppress our true desires and our dreams, or as Miguel Ruiz calls it, our true self.
The way to free ourselves according to Miguel Ruiz is to live the Four Agreements
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your Word
This first agreement, according to Ruiz, is the most important and the most difficult to honor. We tend to think of “our word” as being honest or following through on what we say.
Your word according to Ruiz is much deeper than that. Our word is our spoken word, and also our internal dialect, and thoughts.
“What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”
“But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you.”
Two very powerful quotes from the book.
Ways in which our spoken word is used for destruction include complaining, criticizing, and gossiping. Miguel Ruiz describes these words as a form of black magic because they spread negativity.
Gossiping has become a main form of communication in society. It’s so common that we don’t even realize we are doing it.
How much time do you spend talking about or thinking about other people? How much time do you spend thinking about your own life?
For many of us, we actually spend more time thinking of others than ourselves, and not in a humble serving way. Many people can tell you what a certain celebrity had for lunch yesterday but they can’t even tell you what their own goals and dreams are. Miguel Ruiz explains to us that we do this because our self-love is too low. How you feel about yourself is a reflection of being impeccable with your word.
Next time you find yourself complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, stop yourself, take a moment, and instead reflect on all that is good in your life.
One of the greatest ways I have found in my own personal life to boost my happiness levels, is to write down my wins for the day. Our brains are wired to think, or worry, about all the things that went wrong in the day. I’m not suggesting we don’t evaluate our day, there is so much value in analyzing your life and learning from struggle, but there is also a lot of value in recognizing your small wins. Instead of focusing on all the things you don’t like, focus on all the good things. Instead of thinking about the mistakes you made in the day, focus on all the wins you had, even if they are tiny wins. Examples could be; today I did a good job making healthy food choices, I was positive at work all day, I was patient with the kids today, I got a jump start on that project today, I listened well to others today, whatever. Celebrate your wins everyday!
Being impeccable with your word, is not just in the spoken word, but also in the dialogue in your head.
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Great quote from the book, “Taking things personally is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Don’t take things personally is a common theme that many great teachers of life come back to time after time.
“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
I think we can all agree that this idea is such a difficult one to practice. Why? Our brains are wired to react to negative emotions with more urgency than positive emotions. This is an evolutionary survival reaction because negative events during the prehistoric era meant death.
Have you noticed this in your own life?
We can receive 50 positive messages from others, let’s say about some project we are working on, or even our looks. 50 positive messages, and maybe one person says something negative.
What message are we going to be thinking of as we drive home from work? We are going to be thinking about that one rude comment.
A key thing to remember is this; people tend to project their own insecurities on others.
It’s the truth.
This is such a difficult thing to master because it is working against the natural tendencies of our brain. But if we can master it (or at least improve on it) our lives will be much more enriched.
Don’t take anything personal.
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t make assumptions. When we start to make assumptions, according to Miguel Ruiz, that’s is when gossiping starts to take place.
The solution: Asking questions!
Don’t get all Socrates on people and respond with “what do you mean by up?” when someone says what’s up. But do ask questions if you need clarification to prevent yourself from making assumptions.
Remember, as smart as you might be, you are still not a mind reader. You really don’t know what that person is actually thinking, and assuming you do, will lead to problems.
Don’t disregard your intuition, but also don’t make assumptions. Drop the ego, and ask people questions.
This is most beneficial in our intimate relationships. Too often we assume that our spouse, or partner knows what we are thinking.
There is one exception. Guys, if your wife tells you “you don’t have to get me anything this year for Valentine’s Day”, it’s safe to assume she’s doesn’t really mean it (I learned that lesson a few years back) J.
Don’t make Assumptions.
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
The fourth agreement is about living the other three agreements. Nobody is perfect, and these agreements are all easier to say than to do. The solution is to always do your best.
Having the always do your best mindset, forces you to take action. Doing your best means that you don’t need a reward, or recognition for what you are doing. You are doing your best because in doing so you are being true to yourself.
“Rewards will come, but you are not attached to the reward.”
No one can perform at rock star level all day long. Certain times we have great energy, certain times we don’t. That’s life. But we can decide to always do our best in every situation.
Changing your mindset in regards to the first three agreements is extremely difficult. Habits that took 30 years to form can’t be changed in a day. By always doing your best, you can start to develop new habits. New habits that will guide you while you pursue your dreams.
Always Do Your Best.
Great quote from this chapter, “You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, no reward.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Breaking Old Agreements: The Path to Freedom
“Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change. If you are not aware that your mind is full of wounds and emotional poison, you cannot begin to clean and heal the wounds and you will continue to suffer.”
Being aware of ways in which you take things personally, or make assumptions, or not being impeccable with your word is the first step to making changes.
You cannot change what you don’t confront. Identify areas within each agreement where you can be better.
The fourth agreement is so important because it recognizes that we are all humans, and we can’t be perfect all the time.
Do your best in everything you do. Be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, and don’t take things personal.
These agreements are not easy. Major change never is!
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Amber-Allen Publishing. Copyright 1997
This summary is my interpretation of the reading. I provide these summaries to give you a snapshot of the contents but in no way does this snapshot substitute the actual reading. I highly recommend you purchase this book.
For more information on Don Miguel Ruiz please visit his website miguelruiz.com
I'm a father, husband, author, and a believer in human potential. Positivity is not in short supply, although the advertisement of it is. If we want to be as happy and positive as possible, we need to take action. It's time to start working out at the PositivityGym. Please follow me on social media below and spread the positivity.