This challenge was inspired from a three-week challenge that had more than 10 million people attempting to avoid complaining entirely. I defined "complaining" as the following: describing an event, place, atmosphere, or person negatively without also explaining the positive aspects or how to fix the problem, which forced me to reword the normally profanity-laced tirade into a much more precise thinking process. Here's an example:
"I was stuck behind this asshole at the bar for 30 minutes while he decided which flavor mojito he wanted! Someone should use his fucking dick as a golf tee!"
"This extremely rude gentleman took 30 minutes to procure an alcoholic beverage. This was a waste of time, and from now on I realize I should start drinking around 11 a.m. to avoid the crowd and double-fist my drinks for maximum efficiency."
When you take a hard look at what you're doing, you will view your situation in a different light. And chances are, you look like an idiot. For instance, the only difference between you complaining that the sun is too hot and the homeless guy in the alleyway who's on his hands and knees barking at a dead rat blocking his favorite urination spot is the fact that he can just move the rat. But you, you are arguing with a celestial body that's just doing its job. The sun has been "hot" for BILLIONS of years, what do you expect?
"It’s too hot" or "too bright" or "it’s not tall enough" or "traffic sucks!" All that is, is arguing with a reality you probably can't change anyway. Any time you feel like complaining, just remember that there is some poor kid out there living in a third world country who doesn't even have access to a dial-up internet connection to access porn. He's forced to spank it to corn husk dolls, for fuck's sake.
Types of Complaining
- The worst kind. Think sorority chick on her period.
- Complaining to create laughter:
- Without this, Lewis Black's entire career would be diminished to your drunk Uncle at Christmas.
- Complaining to share experiences:
- Misery loves company, and you brought your pillow and overnight bag with you.
- Complaining to take action:
- Figuring out what's really wrong and fixing it.
Six Steps to Stop Complaining
Just so we're clear, I didn't make it — I failed this challenge on what I like to call "a technicality." Thirty days was the goal; fourteen was all I passed. I barely came close to completing the 21-day pussy version of the challenge. With that being said, those 14 days were incredibly hard, but if you follow these six strategies you can succeed in your quest for a complaint-free zone:
- Recognize that this is a process. A lifestyle change like this takes some time. You've been complaining since the doctor slapped you on the ass, fresh from the womb. Forgive yourself for fucking up and try, try again.
- Think constructively. Stick to facts. Saying, "It is hot outside today," is much different than, "Jesus Christ! My balls are sticking to my leg is so hot out here!"
- Figure out what's really bothering you. Put it on paper. "I'm upset about [blah blah blah]." Are you upset your boyfriend has herpes? Or are you upset that he got it from your sister?
- Decide what you can do to change your situation. Some things complained about can't be changed; others certainly can. Hate your job? Find a new one. Tired of your lazy-ass-good-for-nothing-herpes-having boyfriend? Dump him.
- Realize the things you can't change. You're pissed it's raining outside? Too bad, shitbag, you can't do anything about it. Plus, countless plants and animals count on a sprinkle here and there for their very own survival.
- Find the bright side. You have it better than you know, trust me. If you're reading this right now, it means you have access to some type of electronic device that connects you to the world via the Internet. Most likely this means you have a job to pay for that stuff, or at the very least, access to those resources through some other intermediary like a local library or your school. When you really sit back and think about other people's problems, you'll realize just how trivial your complaints are.