I’m in the middle of this personal project where I’m trying not to complain for 30 days in a row. I got the idea from a blog post by Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week. I bought a bracelet and every time I complain I moved it to the other wrist. The goal is to keep it on the same wrist for 30 days. It’s actually I lot more difficult then I thought it would be. I started about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I’m still on Day 2. (Also, two days ago my bracelet broke from all that moving it back and forth. I have to buy a new one.)
It’s been a real learning experience. I only complain when I’m talking with other people. Which makes sense, but it’s amazing how many conversations dwell on what’s going wrong. (Fart! I just took a break to chat with a friend in the office and complained for all the women in primarily Muslim countries that have to cover themselves up. Now I’m even complaining for other people about things that don’t actually affect me. Back to Day 1.)
Sometimes people ask me questions, and I have a choice in that moment to complain or not. I’m becoming more and more aware of those moments, and it’s really changing the way I think. I’ve found one of the easiest and best feeling alternatives to complaining is expressing appreciation. For example, when someone asks me about work, my standard response used to be some complaint about my boss and how boring it is. Now I take a moment and what comes out is appreciation. I appreciate the flexibility in my job. I appreciate that it’s inspiring me to create new and better things for myself with PebbleStorm.
Sometimes I really have to dig deep to find the positive aspects of something, which is revealing in itself. It reveals how patterned and ingrained my thought processes are on some topics. Everything has positive and negative aspects- its my choice to focus on one side or the other. The bracelet helps me be more deliberate about what I’m focusing on.
On this same vein, I’ve noticed that people often go out of their way to express dissatisfaction. “I want to talk to your manager.” “This sucks.” “etc.” It’s much more uncommon for someone to make a special call to express appreciation. When was the last time you told someone how great they are?
A couple weeks ago I read a great blog post by my mom. It’s about how people appreciate it when you do something nice. It inspired me to give some feedback about the Comcast dude that helped me move my internet to the new apartment. He was awesome, and I don’t often feel that way about Comcast. So I called back the next day and left a message on their comment line about how super the dude had been. It felt great!
That got me thinking about all the different ways of expressing appreciation, and how I can do it more often. And so I created THIS!
Actually, its a combination of a couple different things. It’s a snowflake/mindmap/brainstorm of different ways to express appreciation to the people in our lives.
It’s also my first use of my Snowflake Template. I was so inspired by the lady in my last post, that I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if she could make her own Unique Genius snowflake?” So I made it! And then I realized it could be used for other brainstormy things, like Expressing Appreciation ideas!
Here’s the template- print it up and use it! Then share what you’ve created, if you’re so inclined. If you’d like a bigger version, leave a comment and I’ll email it to you.
I appreciate you.