During the last ten years that it took me to complete my PhD (yes…that’s right, it took me ten years!), every book and article that I read related to my PhD topic. The good thing is that I am really passionate about Aboriginal law and almost everything I read on that topic fuelled my passion and sparked new ideas for me. The bad thing is that I wasn’t able to read anything else – no fiction, no self-development books, no biographies… So now I am really enjoying getting back to reading other books!
Right now, I am reading T. Harv Eker’s, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth. I had heard of this book several months ago and I wasn’t initially going to put it on my list of things to read because I’ve read books on similar themes in the past. As I was listening to more and more podcasts, however, I heard many different people mention this book as one of their top five books to read. So I decided to give it a shot…
I am just a couple of chapters in and already I am glad I decided to read it! One of the things Eker talks about in the book is that in his coaching programs, he challenges his clients to not complain for one week. The theory behind this is that people who complain regularly are less likely to achieve success in the various areas of their lives; by contrast, people who are positive, optimistic and choose happy, are more likely to be successful. As Eker notes: “Your thinking determines your decisions, and your decisions determine your actions, which eventually determine your outcomes” (p. 23). So the main message is to reduce the amount of time you spend thinking negative thoughts (i.e. complaining) and increase positive thinking to create the conditions necessary to succeed.
So I decided to give the one-week no complaining challenge a try. The rules are simple – don’t complain for one week and if you catch yourself complaining, start over. To successfully complete the challenge you need to string seven days in a row together with no complaining. I started the challenge last week and so far I have had to restart every single day…(this is actually a bit surprising to me because I didn’t realize I complain so much!).
The really great thing about this challenge is that it makes you very aware of when you complain and it also encourages you to think about how you can phrase things differently or use different tones to talk about something that might be bothering you. My husband, Robby, is a great sport and when I told him I was doing this one-week challenge, he said he would do it with me. Right after he said that he spilled milk all over the counter while making his morning coffee. He calmly turned to me and with a smile he said: “I am so glad that I spilled milk all over the counter! Now it gives me the opportunity to really scrub it, which I have been meaning to do for awhile now.” We both laughed and right then and there I knew this challenge would be worth it!
Although I haven’t yet succeeded on living a full day without complaining, I can already feel a positive shift in my mindset. Even on days that I do complain about something right in the morning (for example, this past Sunday morning was my day to sleep in. We were dog sitting and the little dog came running into the bedroom to greet me first thing in the morning when I was still lying in bed and got so excited that she peed all over the bed. Seriously? Don’t you think that is complaint-worthy? See how hard this is? I just complained again! – sorry you kind of got stuck in my head for a minute, back to the point I was making…), I still try not to complain for the rest of the day. This is because I realize that as I tackle this challenge, I am changing my mindset. I am becoming more aware of my thoughts and actively shifting my perspective to see the positive parts of every situation (although…seriously, I don’t know how I could have spun the pee on the bed into a positive – see I did it again!).
So even if it takes me months, I will succeed at this challenge. And I know that through this practice of monitoring my thoughts and feelings, I will retrain myself to complain less and become more.
So who’s up for this one-week challenge? In the comments below, let me know if you are in and be sure to report back to let me know how long it takes you to succeed (because I know you will!).