I’ve used and written about many transformation tools over the past six years, from Aloha to Yoga (no Z tool yet). But I’m always looking for more to fill my toolbox. Last week, our Women’s Circle introduced me to a remarkable tool; remarkable because it includes a physical prompt that helps me remember to practice. It’s the Complaint-Free World bracelet.
The bracelet is the brainchild of a minister from Kansas, Will Bowen. In 2006 he was teaching a class on prosperity, when he realized that in order for people to manifest more in their lives, they had to appreciate what they already had. He handed out 250 purple bracelets and challenged people to wear them and move the bracelet from one arm to another every time they complained. That physical cue brings the complaint process to the foreground of your thinking, and helps cement the intention of complaining less. He told people that if they wear the bracelet for 21 days without having to change arms, they will have formed a new habit. Since then he has started a non-profit, Complain-Free World.org and has distributed over 10 million bracelets in over 106 countries.
Complaining is bigger than whining about the fact that the Packers lost their opportunity to compete in the Super Bowl this year after starting the play-offs so fine. It includes gossiping, criticisms, grumbling about the weather and otherwise polluting the air with your negative words. It’s hard to Think Positively when your predisposition is to whine, even when it’s only about little things.
I’m a big believer in Choosing my Attitude; it is a powerful transformation tool. And I also believe that Language Matters. I try hard to not use phrases like “He’s a pain in the neck; that dessert is to die for; I’m buried…” Your subconscious tries hard to obey your wishes, so if you say things like this, you may find yourself with a stiff neck or a compressed heavy feeling on your chest or worse.
But it’s easy to slip into social complaining. Small talk often involves bad mouthing or bemoaning the weather, the stock market, the high school basketball team, political campaigns, negative TV ads, and Big Banks (my favorite target these days because I’m refinancing the mortgage on my home). People even gripe about the negative stuff they see on FB, while “liking” the worst of the posts.
I find that I actually complain more when I am with friends who hold similar beliefs; we complain endlessly about the other political party and the world generally going to hell in a hand-basket. What we seem to miss is that these every day complaints and gossips are every bit as ambiance-polluting as outright lies and verbal abuse. And complaining keeps us focused on the problem, not the solution. If you want to be happier, focus on solutions, not problems.
Mr. Bowen does not say that we should just shut up and take whatever the world dishes out to us. But we should communicate “directly and only with the person who can resolve the issue.” Even then, only present the facts. So this process is also about improving our communication skills.
I’ve only been wearing the bracelet for a week. But I’ve already noticed that I am catching myself before I say something negative. Most of the time, I can actually stop myself from saying it. I also know that practicing this tool with other people is helpful. They can catch me mid-sentence and gently ask, “Is that a complaint?” Then we laugh together as I say, “I was explaining, not complaining.” As I stop complaining, I will be happier – that’s what Choosing Your Attitude is all about.
I’m still moving the bracelet from arm to arm, but I have confidence that practicing this transformation tool will help me Think Positively, and ultimately, be happier.
For more on Transformation Tools, see my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. See also: