Real Mind Control: The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment

608 Comments

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The thought-awareness bracelet and the latest straw that broke the camel’s back.

“This $@#&ing Mac will be the death of me. Intuitive, my ass.”

It just slipped out, and I don’t think I can be blamed. I was ready to leave the PC behind and take my mac overseas for the first time when I couldn’t figure out how to resize photos. On a friggin’ mac? I felt swindled. I also now had to move the bracelet.

For the last four months, I’ve been experimenting with a few types of thought experiments. The two most notable are Radical Honesty, which is 100% guaranteed to get you slapped or worse, and anti-complaining, which I’ll explain here. The latter started in my book agent’s office, where I spotted a pile of purple bracelets on his desk…

“What are these?” I grabbed one and it was inscribed with ‘acomplaintfreeworld.org.’

“Another author of mine. Interesting story, actually.”

And it was. The author was Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister who had recognized — as I have in a previous post — that word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions. It’s not enough to just decide you’ll stop using certain words, though. It requires conditioning.

Will designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge: go 21 days without complaining. Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day 0. It was simple but effective metacognitive awareness training.

The effects were immediate and life-changing.

The bracelets spread like wildfire as others observed these transformations, and, to date, more than 5,900,000 people have requested the little devices.

“Can I have one?” I asked my agent.

It all made perfect sense. Fix the words and you fix the thoughts. I’m not a negative person, but I wanted to cut out the commiserating most of us use for 30-40% of all conversation (if you don’t believe me, keep track of how many people start conversations with you in the next 24 hours that center on a complaint or criticism).

I made it 11 days on the first attempt, then I slipped. Back to zero. Then it was two or three days at a time for about a month. Once I cleared 21 days at around month 3, I no longer needed the bracelet. I’m using the bracelet again now because I’m preparing for some large projects I expect to be challenging enough for Cornholio-style meltdowns.

But what is a complaint?

This is where I disagree with some of the rules set by Will. He asks you to switch wrists whenever you gossip, criticize, or complain, and the definitions can be a bit vague. He also requires you to switch wrists if you inform someone else they are complaining. I think this is counterproductive, as I’m big on constructive criticism.

I defined “complaining” for myself as follows: describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem. I later added the usual 4-letter words and other common profanity as complaint qualifiers, which forced me to reword, thus forcing awareness and more precise thinking.

Following the above definition, both of the following would require a wrist switch:

“Man, I went into the post office and had to stand behind this rude jerk for 30 minutes. What a waste of time.”

or

“John can be such an a**hole. Totally uncalled for.”

The following variations would not:

“Man, I went into the post office and had to stand behind this rude guy for 30 minutes. It was a waste of time. From now on, I’ll go in the mornings before 10am to avoid the crowd.”

“John was a bit of muppet in there, wasn’t he? I suppose I’ll just send the e-mails directly to Mary in engineering for the next two weeks to get buy-in, then he’ll have to agree.”

Here are a few of the changes I noticed then and am noticing again now:

1) My lazier thinking evolved from counterproductive commiserating to reflexive systems thinking. Each description of a problem forced me to ask and answer: What policy can I create to avoid this in the future?

2) I was able to turn off negative events because the tentative solution had be offered instead of giving them indefinite mental shelf-life (and “open loop” in GTD parlance), resulting in better sleep and more pleasant conversations with both friends and business partners.

3) People want to be around action-oriented problem solvers. Training yourself to offer solutions on-the-spot attracts people and resources.

###

For those interested in the more sophisticated applications and results of the the no-complaint thought experiment, I recommend you order a copy of A Complaint-Free World. I received an advanced copy and finished it in one afternoon, ending up with two pages of notes.

Want to take the 21-day no-complaint challenge for a test drive now?

Last a friend checked, the bracelets had a 3-5-month waiting period, but a rubber band or other bracelet will suffice. If you want the real deal, I have four bracelets that I will mail (might take a bit, as I’m leaving the country Friday) to the best four commenters below who answer the question:

What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could train themselves to stop?

Posted on: September 18, 2007.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my new book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

608 comments on “Real Mind Control: The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment

  1. The Party! I would tell people to bring their own video/camera phones and record themselves adn others at the party. That way we can make a video of the entire party from different aspects and points of view and make a party video page (youtube or veoh)and that would be the souvenir. The whole world would have a souvenir of us partying!

    Like

  2. I don’t have an entry to the contest for you, but I want to say that I love how you’ve interpreted this! I’ve heard of the idea of wearing a bracelet to avoid complaining before, but the idea of having to include a solution has to be life changing. I’m slipping a rubber band on my wrist right now.

    Like

  3. Behavior to Stop: comparing yourself to others

    Correct the behavior by placing a sticker on the bathroom mirror, car rearview mirror and cell phone. Every time you see the sticker repeat these affirmations:

    I refrain from comparing myself to others
    I like myself
    I accept myself
    I accept others
    I am a worthy person
    I fit in
    I have a place in this world
    I am capapble of great things

    Bonus Question – VIP Party: Have a dodgeball tournament.

    Like

  4. 1. Sentences that start ” I wish I could X” or “I wish they would X” and are not followed by a constructive action that could change the situation.

    2. Making an excuse why something can’t be done and not offering an alternative solution.

    It is depressing when someone talks about their dreams and then follows up with an excuse why their dream can never happen.

    Like

  5. Tim:
    Outstanding!

    What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop?

    STOP NEGATIVE “mind-reading� (a form of rapid cognition) ie, making negative judgments and impressions of people we encounter on a day-to-day basis which result in misunderstandings, hurt feelings and arguments. Whether the interaction is with our parents, siblings, spouse, children, co-worker, boss, roommate, drivers, etc.…when conflict, discourse or strife arise, rather than jumping to a negative conclusion, consider the alternatives and become the catalyst for positive social interactions.

    I am a firm believer in our power to “mind-read� (i.e., interpret another person’s intended message) even when they don’t use words to communicate those thoughts. Interpretation of facial expressions and body language as much as the words used are at the heart of human expression and at the heart of connection to one another. It seems however, that when we are not able to reach a “meeting of the minds,� conflict arises. My challenge is to stop the stream of predictions and inferences about what the OTHER person is thinking or feeling when at times we receive an unexpected response that results in a breakdown of connection.

    How to train ourselves to stop “mind reading� other people when you receive an unexpected or unpleasant response?
    Stop mind-reading and take the bold step to interact with the communicator in a manner that fosters authentic and deep human interaction. Ask the person what they meant. Of course, the depth and intimacy of each discussion will vary with the role that individual has in your life (obviously, the discussion you have with your boss will most likely not be near as intimate as the one you have with your lover or spouse).

    I have found that being vulnerable and authentic in our requests for thoughts and feelings of others opens opportunities for dialogue, resolution of conflict and greater probability of deeper connections that may have been limited or non-existent with that individual. And it is my belief that it is this type of interaction that makes personal growth truly possible. The challenge is to have 5 of these conversations in a 30 day period. At the end of the 30 days look to see what effect the discussion had on your personal growth, the relationship with the individual and any additional or collateral positive results in your circle of life or in the community that surrounds you.

    Bonus:
    In SF hold the event at the zoo (weather permitting). Use 100 underprivileged or at-risk high school students (hand-picked by their teachers) as volunteers to valet (the fancy cars the VIPs arrive in), greet and escort the VIPs to their assigned “mingleâ€? area where the VIPs will be able to mingle with other VIPs as well as the students. Request that each VIP donate an item of “personalâ€? value that is not tied to the reason the person is a VIP – for example, a pro-athlete can donate an original painting he/she created, a financial guru can donate an original recording of a song he wrote, etc…but every VIP must bring something to be raffled off and the only candidates for receipt are the 100 students. Presentment of the donated will be followed by a brief history of the article they are donating, why it is meaningful to the VIP and what they would like the student to remember of the article. One year after the event, poll the students and ask them how, or if, the event affected their life and have the students write each VIP with his/her answer.

    Like

  6. I think fear keeps a lot of people from being able to live their lives. This is a behavior that likely increases one’s desire to complain. They are unhappy with their present state and being fearful (change, action, confrontation, etc.) causes them to lash out or complain about things without taking action. Just a hypothesis. To counter this if something causes fear the opposite would be appreciation/love. Making a list of everything that one appreciates about whatever it is that is causing them fear. Or do as Tim suggests with little steps like asking for someone’s number, or a raise from the boss, etc.

    Like

  7. Even though it might give a couple of people a laugh, I would have to say Self-Deprecating comments or humor need to go.
    While they themselves may be the one actually making the comment or joke the result is still the same, people laughing at you. The lower brain (cerebellum) will still chalk it up to simply being laughed at, or worse feeling like a clown, simply there for others amusement, regardless of the why of it.

    Your cerebellum is a power-house affecting how you feel all the time, even though you may not be aware why. You might know a little about it Tim, it is after all were muscle memory is stored also.

    So I say, if you make a comment or joke at your own expense, you then have to make a public comment about some quality that you like about yourself. Better if it is in front of strangers.

    First, when you a say something positive about yourself in public instead of your internal dialog, you will find yourself in the good place of thinking about your positive qualities. Also, your mind is hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort. Some people may find the idea of the next time they have to pay for gas and then turning to the line behind them and saying “I Rock!” slightly discomforting, thus making them want to avoid being self-deprecating.

    There are several positives to your phyisce that come along with public claims of your goodness and the only downfall I can think of is some strangers might think your a little cocky. As an added bonus, it may even help out with your “Getting Comfortable in Public” exercises.

    BONUS:

    As for your party ideas I would defiantly have to go with a “Fear Setting” theme. To get in you would have to do it in an way that would have you doing something a little adventurous.

    Maybe not zip-lining in form the neighbors roof or anything, but something at the door or upon entrance they had to do to get in. Of course they could opt-out, but where is the fun in that? Besides, it would kill the whole uncomfortable first walking into a party feeling and replace it with a feeling of excitement. As for people who may just be feeling a little unenthusiastic or jet lagged, or whatever, it will get their blood flowing along with guaranteeing that everyone there had at the very least one thing to talk about and will probably be talking about the next day too. Besides October is right around the corner and it tis the season…..

    One last note on the idea of controlling your thoughts etc.

    I need to recommend “The Athlete’s Way” by Christopher Bergland. It may not show in the title, but this book is great for information linking brain functions and synaptic pathway forming habits etc. Highly recommended.

    I also took your advice Tim and contacted the author with some praise and advice and he seemed like a great guy.

    Like

  8. I practiced variations of this a lot. I have found that literally hurting the body works best for conditioning.

    It’s been said in the comments above: “[…] they suggest you ’snap’ the band against your wrist rather than swap it from arm to arm.” and then: “Associate enough pain with a behavior, and just like a rat, you will find an alternative.”

    Actually I’ve found that using a razor blade works even more effectively. E.g. just slightly cut the uppermost layer of your arm’s skin. Somehow your body or reptile parts of your brain seem to revolt when you even think about doing this (you can proably observe this effect while reading my recommendation here ;). Do this just a couple of times and your body starts to support you in thinking more consciously.

    This technique probably isn’t for everybody. But for me it always worked very well 🙂

    Oh and … in “Man, I went into the post office and had to stand behind this rude guy for 30 minutes. It was a waste of time. From now on, I’ll go in the mornings before 10am to avoid the crowd.” to me this would not count as a complaint only if you omit the “rude”, too! For the constructive conclusion (being there earlier in the future) it doesn’t matter at all if that guy has been rude or not. Which really would mean that you re-allow focussing yourself on a negative construct.

    Like

  9. The behavior I think most people should stop? Thinking only about themselves. It’s ok to think about yourself, but you should think about *everyone*, including yourself. nowadays, many people will do whatever’s in their power to make sure they are on top, without a care for those they step on. To fix this, the rubber bracelet concept much like this no-complaint idea could work.

    Like

  10. What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could train themselves to stop?

    Screaming. I’m pleased to see that no other commenter seems to have a screamer to deal with. It is the most awful, debilitating thing. If you’re being screamed at, there is no possibility for communicating, no matter how much a good talk is really needed. How to stop this behavior? The person doing it has to want to stop. How to make them want to stop? I truly wish I knew. Great post Tim!

    Like

  11. Behavior: Assuming the correct answer when you aren’t sure for projects and/or a request from someone. It will only take 2 minutes to clarify, but it will cost the time it takes to do something as well as the time it takes to redo something based on a false assumption.

    Solution: When there is doubt, to go back and ask again. Catching yourself when the thought “I think this is what s/he said” occurs. 2-part bracelet. Keep a running total on a bracelet in minutes of time wasted due to assuming for a 2 week period as well as number of times. Then the second part of the bracelet starts for the next 4 weeks where every time catch yourself assuming and correct it, you add the average time you saved (wasted minutes over assumption times of the first 2 weeks).

    Bonus ($1000): A star-party on a night with meteor showers. Rent a few telescopes ($60 apiece, 5 for $300). In SF, find a park/field away from city lights. Have some refreshments and sparklers to wave around ($250 for food, 15 boxes of sparklers (10 in each) for $50 or less, total $300). Have a blast pointing out constellations and watching the shower.
    Total: $600

    Like

  12. Bonus: If you were holding a party for 100 VIPs in SF or NYC and had no budget (or no more than $1,000, whichever you prefer), what would you do to make the event memorable and fun?

    ANSWER: Hold the event at a local cooking school. Let the students cook all of the appetizers/main dishes. Pay the school a small amount for the food costs and perhaps space rental. Be sure that the students have pre-printed recipies for everything the VIPs are eating, in exchange for….

    The VIPs allow themselves to be interviewed by the students for Life Tips, Entrepreneurial Tips, Starting a Business, Networking, Exciting Stories, autographs, etc. etc. etc. I would have killed to rub shoulders with some real VIPs when starting my business….

    Like

  13. Hey Tim,

    Haven’t read all the posts, so I hope I’m not repeating anything.

    I think we should eliminate promises.

    Every time we make a promise that we can’t keep, we lose integrity. And even if we keep the promise, we’ve only met the expectation.

    You can always exceed expectations if nothing is promised.

    And life becomes a lot less stressful when you aren’t constantly striving to keep your promises.

    And… I would have a gigantic game of Twister at the party!

    Chuck

    P.S. We have a mutual friend, Dean Jackson.

    Like

  14. Laura,

    I loved your idea about a star party. Just a comment, though, that the LAST thing any astronomer (or amateur) needs is sparkler to destroy his night vision. At real star parties, all lights must be covered with red, as that is the least disruptive to the eyes. If you must have sparklers, at least don’t get them out till everyone is completely done looking at the night sky.

    Like

  15. One thing I would like people to stop doing is taking phone calls when they are with someone. There are emergencies, but come on. When you are eating dinner with someone, and they answer their phone and start having a conversation, that is pure rudeness. This is not limited to dinner but also family functions, walks in the park, or any other time you have committed to spend an afternoon with a friend.

    For the dinner party, I would do one of those events where 1 person gets fed an elaborate American dinner, the majority receive only rice and water and some get nothing at all to illustrate how skewed the world is and how truly lucky we are to live in “the land of plenty”. I have participated in dinners like this and they are eye-opening.

    Like

  16. Forget spending any serious money. If your guests are local. Go to a restaurant or hotel, tell them you are bringing in 100 future customers for them and you want THEM to underwrite the cost of a wine tasting and light food. (Go to the Ritz Carlton and ask them who their wine expert is and ask them to attend- or go to the nearest wine distributor and ask them to get involved.) Any business owner in their right mind will partner up with you…. after all they are spending money on advertising (that may or may not work) to bring people in the door. If you are able to do that for them, he should be happy to work something out with you. Speak with restaurants you already do business with, after that look for ones that are currently advertising, (shows a desire to invest money to bring in business) and go speak with him. I have done this and it will workout for everyone. However, don’t say you will bring people in and fail to do so…. you must do your part! If the guest are from out of town, you may need to lay out some of your own dollars, but ask for a heavy discount because you may do this again if its successful.

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  17. Lying and bullsh*tting. Try Radical Honesty for certain times of days with people that are close to you (to prevent being killed on the first attempt). Expand the times to days or weeks if you see the positive effects. You could also create bracelet that says “anhonestworld.org” and switch everytime you lie to somebody or bullsh*t somebody.

    Like

  18. Sorry you could not figure out how to re-size photo’s on your Mac. If you use the Panther operating system, use iPhoto. Simply select the photo you want to send, click on the Email icon at the bottom of the window, and choose your photo size. When you click the “Compose” button, a new email window will open with the smaller copy of your image already inserted.

    If you use the Tiger operating system, this feature is built directly into the Mail program that comes bundled with it.

    I’ve just completed a post on why so many businesses are switching to the Mac platform it can be found here http://www.askbigpapa.com/blogs/16/Dump-your-PC-for-a-Mac-and-quadruple-your-productivity.html

    There is also a post listing some great business resources for Mac users at http://www.askbigpapa.com/blogs/15/Mac-Computers-In-Business.html.

    Like

  19. What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could they train themselves to stop?

    I believe that people should stop making excuses. For each time one makes an excuse, they should write two-three solutions or suggestions. This would teach either 1)stop making excuses or 2)if they use their minds, they can find a positive solution.

    I have used this personally. I do not accept NO as an answer….ever. If I make a mistake, I own up to it. It has done wonders for me personally and professionally.

    As to the bonus question, VIPs are human too. Therefore, I would suggest a theme based pot luck gathering, ie football teams, 40’s, hippies etc. This makes it fun and keeps costs low by the attendees providing the food or snacks. I know that both NYC and San Fran have beautiful public parks or recreation areas. Most of these areas have grills and restrooms. If you call ahead, these parks would reserve the area that would accomodate a group that large. Good luck.

    Like

  20. Timothy,

    What a great post! I haven’t read the book but I just had my secretary order it and I look forward to absorbing it soon. I’m sure the author mentions Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining of arguing…”

    As far as the VIP party challenge, here are my thoughts. I’d choose the SF option. I was born an raised in Redwood City and lived there until August 2003. I have a great friend who just happens to be a millionaire so I’d ask him and his wife to host the party. They really have the gift of hospitality and I’m sure they’d come through. If using a rich friend wasn’t an option, I’d do a wine tasting on the Golden Gate. I’d email every Northern California wine maker and have them submit 5 bottles for a premiere contest/event. If wine on the Golden Gate at sunset isn’t your thing, I would try and rent out the Planetarium or other attraction at the California Academy of Sciences and throw some kinda space or science theme deal. Another idea is to host the party coinciding wtih a Giants game where you can watch the game through the gate, send someone in the game with a ticket and get a bunch of Gorden Biersch garlic fries and bring your own beers and just have a blast.

    Like

  21. Here is a suggestion I have been doing for at least 12 years. It is a combination of the “no complaint” and the radical honesty stance. Here it is:

    Never complain about someone behind their back unless you tell it to their face.

    Example: My best friend has a little too much PDA with his new girlfriend. A lot of people have been mentioning how uncomfortable it makes them. I agree with them, and then confront him about it. He sees it, but feels this is the girl he will marry, and actually enjoys the comment because it tells him that he has never felt this way about anyone.

    Example: another friend is habitually acting like an a-hole, but people are not confronting him about it. I agree with them, and tell him that I think he is acting like an a-hole. He is defensive about it, acts like slightly less of an a-hole. It may get worse before it gets better, but at least it is on the table.

    Example: a friend states that another friend is cheap. I say nothing in response. Decide later this initial thought is shallow, and probably motivated out of envy.

    This is an ideal, of course. And it usually is only applicable to someone you have an ongoing relationship with. But, it does force me to stay away from mere idle gossip. And if it is real enough for me to agree with, I am forced to confront someone about it. A result is that I get better at confronting people about things. I’ve often found that it is not a problem when I confront someone about it, and it tends to strengthen my relationship with that person. If only because there are no secret thoughts I am holding back from that person. It also gives me a general reputation for not talking negative about people behind their backs.

    Like

  22. Tim,

    Love reading the blog.

    I think one of the biggest wastes of time is poeple asking questions or for help when they can take care of it themselves. Just like you said in the book. You let your employees solve the problems instead of bother you. Made them more efficient and saved you time.

    Make a braclet with each side a different color. Set a time limit like the other braclet. Each time your ask a question about something or get help to solve a problem, you flip the braclet over, revealing a diffrent color. The goal is to last till the goal without seeking help.

    In the end the user of the braclet will be more efficient, self relient and will save other people time.

    Have a great trip!!

    Like

  23. Years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Depression. I chose not to go on medication, but did see a therapist for 4 years before I decided that all of those negative thoughts I was thinking – I don’t think I can really call that complaining since I was mostly locked in a room by myself day after day, and not speaking to anyone – must be contributing to the way I was feeling. Not having anything else to do, I decided that every time I had a negative thought, I had to think a positive one. I found this extremely difficult at first until I hit on the realization that being grateful for having 10 toes was a positive thought. I have a lot of intact body parts! Eventually I found my creativity (I don’t know the names of all my body parts, after all) and tons of positive thoughts. Using this technique I pulled myself out of the depression, and haven’t gone back.

    This article reminded me (again) that I should concentrate on thinking positively. I do tend to be a solution finder, but I’ve found that when I try to do it for other people, they just get frustrated – they just want an audience. That’s OK. But I’m not going to listen anymore! Now I just have to figure out how to lure them onto more interesting topics….

    If you are looking for something fun to have at an event – in Melbourne, Australia I came across a small, brightly-colored building on the sidewalk. There was a barker dressed in a striped jacket, top hat, and red pants outside, brandishing his cane and calling to people walking by. The building was a theater for 1. The barker let you choose a 10 minute play from a list, all of which were written by local playwrights, and then you paid him $8. He ushered you into the building, where a single actor performed the play for you. The plays were a bit interactive with intriguing twists at the end. For $1000 I think you could build the building, pay an actor and a barker, and convince a few playwrights to write a 10 minute play or two. Depending on who the VIPs were, you probably could convince the playwrights to do it for free 🙂

    Thanks, Tim, for sharing so many of your solutions and thoughts. I have been enjoying them immensely!

    Like

  24. Re the Mac…it is a better design in many ways but the Mac-ites would have you believe that their god is infallible.

    Take a second to think about the fact that they call themselves cultists…when is a cult *ever* good?

    I switched in January. Slow. Painful.

    I keep asking MAC-abees how to do things…and they always say it’s because PC’s programmed us wrong. Generally not the case. In some cases yes.

    There is a global standard for mute…and it’s not a speaker icon. : )

    Like

  25. Tim,

    Your blog is truly inspiring. I admire the messages you’re sharing with the entire planet!

    In reference to a behaviour people should stop, I agree with you that constructive criticism can be a good thing.
    However, I recommend people stop being too generous when it comes to dishing it out.

    Constructive criticism usually equals unsolicited advice. It is often too quick and shows lack of understanding for the point of view or problems faced by another person. It can erode relationships intimate or otherwise – especially when it is conveniently used to mask a negative focus on what needs to change – rather than appreciating all the good things around us.

    People can stop overdoing constructive criticism by focusing on what THEY themselves are doing instead of what OTHERS are doing. If you’re focusing your creative powers on yourself instead of others, you’ll find you have far more influence over everyone else in the end. (You’ll also discover what hard work it is to put all of those fabulous suggestions into practice).

    Another way to stop overdoing constructive criticism is to put your suggestions in writing. This gives you a chance to make sure your’re not too quick to jump in with well-intentioned advice AND make sure your communication meets certain requirements – like:

    1. Truly recognise the good intentions, actions and attributes of the other person before moving on to your advice. Show them you honestly understand this little fragment of life from their point of view…

    2. Offer a genuinely viable solution to the problem and not just the first one-sided idea that occurs to you.

    From Spain

    Brenda

    Like

  26. After reading this post yesterday, I decided that i would give this a try. I thought it would be fairly easy as I am also a [seemingly] positive person. Well, lo and behold I was switching that rubberband from wrist to wrist so many times it was like a nervous habit! But, I think I am giving myself very strict rules as well:

    the basics [no complaining, criticizing, or insults]
    no self-deprication
    no thinly veiled sarcasm meant to insult, but sounds funny.

    I realized not only that I have tricky ways of negative speaking behavior, but apparently, I also talk to myself. a lot. and what I say is usually not very nice and usually about myself. so, what I would like to say is thank you. thank you for sharing this idea with me to open my eyes to the daily barrage of self-defeating behavior I inflict on myself without even thinking about it. To be more aware of how I treat myself is probably the best lesson I will learn from this. I cant wait to get thru a whole day!

    Like

  27. The bad habits that I feel should stop often comes from what I call the “doom and gloom” police and the “unless you have a certain degree/education your ideas mean nothing” crowd. These individuals simply pollute the air around us.Putting down new and innovative ideas for doing things, overstating and blowing up the negative over the positive in many situations, not willing to take a calculated risk for the sake of a greater benefit and return, may complain about the status quo, but don’t want to do anything different; think that their particular degree (PH.D) is the end all and do not genuinely listen to new thoughts on a challenge that may very well work because that person may not have a particular advancded degree, and operate in the midst of the “crabs in a barrell” mindset.

    Like

  28. The bad habits that I feel should stop often comes from what I call the “doom and gloom” police and the “unless you have a certain degree/education your ideas mean nothing” crowd. These individuals simply pollute the air around us.Putting down new and innovative ideas for doing things, overstating and blowing up the negative over the positive in many situations, not willing to take a calculated risk for the sake of a greater benefit and return, may complain about the status quo, but don’t want to do anything different; think that their particular degree (PH.D) is the end all and do not genuinely listen to new thoughts on a challenge that may very well work because that person may not have a particular advancded degree, and operate in the midst of the “crabs in a barrell” mindset.

    Like

  29. If I had $1,000 to arrange an event for VIP’s. Hmmmmm. Well, I would go to a good state university, and speak with school faculty members about selecting graduate students (or seniors)to become involved in this event planning for a small stipend paid to them. If you get to them early enough, you could probably set up an internship that is non-paid, but form an agreement with one or a few university departments/divisions that students may get a little extra credit with this event.

    If they will be helping with an event for VIP’s, this will be a good networking opportunity for them. Graduate and senior university students can be excellent representatives for a project/job like this, if you get the right ones. That is why going to the faculty is very helpful; they would know the best students to select. Students are normally eager to get out in the workforce and do have an admirable idealist attitude. You can excite them easier.

    Make sure that they will have a good reference from you in jobs that they will go for after they graduate, and see if there is a connection that can happen between them and a few of the VIP’s that will attend. I would say even let the VIP’s know that your dream team of event planners are from “such and such” university, and may become valuable assets to their companies.

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  30. What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could train themselves to stop?

    Apologizing insincerely. You are either sorry, or you are not sorry. If the word “but” follows your apology, you aren’t sorry.

    For example: “I’m sorry, but you really made me upset.”
    What this really means: “You hurt my feelings and I wanted to retaliate and hurt you back.”

    Until we recognize what are really saying to each other, we can’t hope to communicate. We also have to take responsibility for our own actions and our control of our emotions. If you apologize, be specific about what you are apologizing for and why, and be sincere: “I am sorry I called you that name. I was angry and lost control, and that isn’t who I want to be. It was not the right thing to do, and I won’t do it again.”

    Apologize sincerely, or not at all.

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  31. Great post! I found a rubber band and I started yesterday. I already feel better.

    One behavior people should stop doing: performing tasks that are not priorities! Every time you find yourself worrying about or actually doing something that is not important to you, switch the band to the other hand! The action is so important, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything to recognize it, and it’s just another passing thought.

    Keep up the good work!

    Like

  32. Taking personal feelings and experiences and extending them to the “you”.

    Ex1) I love running before work. It gives “you” energy for the rest of the day.

    This person should say, “I love running before work. It gives me energy for the rest of the day.

    It is very presumtious to assume that because an event or experience effects me in a certain way that the same event or experience can be applied to the general population.

    Pay attention to how many people apply personal experiences to the “you.” Don’t let your identity become diluted by those who are afriad to stand alone with their feelings.

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  33. Excellent post Tim..

    One of the best yet..

    It is interesting that you posted this because I just read something about eliminating complaining and how it is easier to accomplish than just trying to think positive..

    Controlling your thoughts is something that most people do NOT do..

    One thing that I have done was try to sit for 5-15 minutes and do not think..

    Obviously this is virtually impossible BUT you find out how many thoughts are running thru your mind when you try to stop thinking..

    Once I have done this for a couple days it makes me THINK continuously BEFORE I let a thought run its course OR before I speak..

    Again, great post..

    Like

  34. In my Army years when a soldier regardless of rank would fall out of the run, we would make them turn their shirt inside out. Cruel? Maybe so but everyone that passed them knew they had let the team down.

    I hate time lines. I hate people that miss time lines more. I think folks that miss time lines should have to wear a crossing guard vest around the office to show they are slowing down the process.

    This may be extreme but I just believe we do such a bad job in the workplace of rewarding bad behavior.

    I have a nice one,

    BD

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  35. 100 VIP’s with 1000$? The answer is easy. Public park or whatever you can use for free, and as many kegs and cheap handles as necessary. Music via a small boom box powered by 10 bucks worth of batteries.

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  36. I want people to stop obsessing over themselves, especially the ones that no one would say is self obsessed. People who are down on themselves, thinking negatively about themselves are still THINKING ABOUT THEMSELVES! If they directed that energy towards solving someones else’s conundrum their’s would likely solve itself.

    No more pity parties! The American mental health system is no doubt fostering and encouraging this defeating behavior. They should be teaching people that they have control over every aspect of their lives. If you’re an alcoholic you don’t have a disease, you have a really hard choice. But that is the best news anyone can give you because that choice is yours! Likewise with people who hold onto childhood events as an excuse to stay stuck- it’s over, put it to good use or forget about it.

    No one said it’ll be easy.

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  37. Lose the “but” word” When you ask a person whether they followed through on a task and they use the “but” word.

    “Did you send that letter to the airlines? Response- “I found the address wrote the letter BUT have not mailed it yet”

    Just say NO.

    I would prefer people to get to the point instead of telling me everything they did. If I’m going to work 4 hours I need to know imediately if the task is complete, not how close you are to completing it.

    I am trying to have people “cut to the chase” as descibed in the book by making myself appear preoccupied. However, to train them I now ask for a simple yes or no answere.

    VIP party in SF because of weather and you can find a free outside venue.

    On the invitations tell them to bring they own refreshements and a bag with their name on it and make the promise that they will never forget this party! They will be intriqued and show up.

    When they check into the party they will be given plain white tee shirts (that say “we are human”) and shorts. Their clothes go in the bag with thier names on it. All bags will be publicly auctioned off and the proceeds or clothes will be given to charity. They will have a lot of fun at their own expense, do something for a cause, and have a tee shirt and shorts to remember what they did for fellow humans.

    You would be able to get all the items for party donated by local musicians, charities. Drop a dime to media about an unuasual surprise party for a 1000 VIPs. Donate the $1000.

    I m not a tree hugger or a charitable person but I do think that a VIP would like the change.

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  38. This is a great idea!!

    and your suggestion about just using a rubber band instead of the official bracelet is pure genius. that way you can ping yourself with the rubber band every time you slip, in addition to changing wrists. adds a little bit more classical conditioning to the whole process. before you know it, just complaining is gonna make you cringe in pain… 🙂

    Keep up the great work!!

    Dave

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  39. You rock. My whole family loves your book, philosophy, spirit, and sense of humor. If you’re single and ever decide you don’t want to be, I have a beautiful, smart 24- year old sister who’d probably give you a run for your money. Yeah, this is probably one of the stranger things fans have said to you, but hey, none of us would mind having you at our Thanksgiving table, including my husband who’s eager for our new biz to launch so he can take up kickboxing in Thailand! You sound like a cool dude. Good luck with everything. Keep insipiring us!

    Like

  40. An activity that most participate in, numerous times in a day, without even realizing it, is interrupting conversations and interrupting someone while they are talking.

    Stop interrupting others while they are talking, or better yet, try actually listening to what people have to say instead of just waiting for “your turn” to talk.

    You will be surprised what you can learn…. People will tell you exactly who they are and what they area all about, whether they realize it or not, if you just listen!

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  41. How to make the event memorable or fun- easy. I do this every so often, it’s great.

    Take a room full of people, and take away all watches, cell phones, time pieces, remove all the clocks, and say for the next hour we’re going to have a workshop on non-verbal communication. It helps to have a couple of nutbars in the room as seed corn to start the zany.

    The rules are: no talking. No sign language. No writing anything. Zero. Nada. No nametags.

    Most people assume that we will all just sit in a circle and meditate calmly for the hour. That’s where the nutbars come in. I was a nutbar for the first one of these I went to- I ran around cackling madly, stealing people’s right shoes. I made a big pile of them in the middle of the room. At first people aggrievedly tried to get them back, but I was determined. 🙂

    There is something about being in a non-verbal space like that that tends to let people PLAY. It’s amazing what happens. One of things I have seen at an event like this:

    Man taking tablecloth off table, dressing himself as the Statue of Liberty, holding a lightbulb instead of a torch. A bunch of people around him started to bow like Wayne and Garth when they met Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World. After about half the room was doing this, two guys picked up the non-moving, stiff as a board man from his ankles and put him on the table, re-arranged the tablecloth, and then pretended to eat the lightbulb.

    These were people that had NEVER met before. It was crazy. It was totally the hit of the conference.

    If I had a grand, and a thousand people like this, I’d go to goodwill and buy every piece of cheap crap toy, prop, costume, etc I could think of. Plastic swords. Wigs. Bad 1980’s sunglasses. Cop and robber gun sets. Hula skirts. Lots of hats. Horrible, horrible tacky prom dresses. Cowboy boots. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle masks. Peices of tubes and sticks.

    You could put a box of them at each table, or in the middle of a small circle of chairs (all the furniture gets shoved around at the ones I’ve gone to, too much around gets in the way) and at the end of the event have people put the toys back and give them right back to the goodwill.

    You’d have to separate people from those they came with, put them around strangers or it’ll take longer for them to loosen up. With that many people, having corner announced at the end of the event for missing items to go (you’d be stunned how many people loose socks).

    If you have a few people who know what’s going to happen, having them set to some random task (stealing all the right shoes in the room, moving all the furniture to the front of the room while another person is stealing that stockpiled furniture and moving it to the back of the room, another person building a fort out of pillows, two people doing a lightsaber duel with toy swords) should help things get started very nicely.

    These work best for one to three hour time slots, in my experience. Afterwards people glow with happy, and have a much easier time focusing on whatever you want to tell them.

    I hope that helps, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and way more productive at networking than it sounds!

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  42. Have you ever looked inside some intricate electronic device and marveled that people actually had to work together and get along to bring the device into physical form? I feel the same way about this bracelet idea. Most people who wear the bracelet will never know the others who are doing the same — and yet some things of physical form will come about as a result — the least of which is a more positive thinking society.

    What other behavior should people stop? Letting snailmail and email clutter up our lives. This is a subset of putting things off. My personal solution is to handle things immediately. Thank goodness for on-line banking where I can fire off a check to the Jerrys Kids or the Salvation Army without ever having to hassle with return snailmail — and no snailmail piles awaiting time to write a check, etc. 🙂

    As for the party — have a “We All Put Our Clothes On The Same Way, Show & Tell Party.” Everyone would wear plain, white towels (as many as they wished)– so they are dressed in the same attire. They can wear clothing underneath, but it must be concealed by the towel(s). No one can wear jewelry or other ornaments. Each person is to bring something to show & tell. Invite ten local elementary schools to send a child as a representative of the school and to start the “Show & Tell” party. Give each childs school $100 for the childs participation in the event. Put a one minute limit on the time for each person. And each person should tell why the item is important to them.

    Either this sites script or my computer is jumping to the top of this blog every time I try to type an apostrophe. Its a wonderful test of my mettle. Ive only had to switch wrists about five times before I started “going with the flow” 🙂

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  43. Tims asks: What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could train they themselves to stop?

    Discontent. This shows itself in various ways. Can you train yourself to be content? Yes. It is a form of complaining. If you can learn to stop complaining you can learn to recognize and stop being discontent. When I am tempted to ogle another woman I am signaling my discontent with my faithful wife. When I am talking with someone and look over their shoulder I signal my discontent with the conversation. There may be times for this, but I am addressing habitual discontent.

    How to train yourself. Another bracelet or similar device would work. Anything that reminds you to be responsible will do. What are you being responsible for? For me, I have to be responsible for what my eyes take in and my attitude. I can’t help what other people wear or do to get my attention. But I can be responsible for feeding on it or responding to it. If I am engaged in conversation I have to keep my attention focused on my guest or host. Looking over their shoulder won’t help me. If I catch a glimpse of a chartreuse halter top I think of all the years my good wife has put into our relationship and how I can honor her with my attention. Perpetually scanning a crowd (or perpetually shopping) could suggest unhappiness with life or circumstances.

    You can train yourself to be content by focusing on what you have. Sure you’ve lost things that can range from opportunities to failed relationships to premature death of your children, abuse, etc. (I’m not trying to trivialize lose but blogs can’t be all inclusive). Everyone suffers. That’s life. Learning contentment is learning how to deal with life and it’s junk and still being grateful. Realize that any of life’s junk can happen to you at any moment.

    If nothing else, you can be grateful for the opportunity you have to change. You can be grateful for hope.

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  44. Another great game like the bracelet is one created by Marshall Thurber: “The $2 Rule”. The basic rules of the game are: if you shame someone, blame someone, or justify your actions you owe $2 to a collective fund. The judgement on whether you owe the $2 is up to the offender, though others can ask, “Was that $2?” The $2 fund can go to a charity or group project that everyone agrees on. It becomes a win/win situation. You learn to articulate solutions rather than problems and in your weaker moments you’re raising money for a good cause.

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  45. mrtvsmith –
    You mean you’re not satisfied with having your VA send you a mail-order bride? 😉

    My experience with relationships and the study of them has been:
    a) Getting caught up in other people’s theories is only prone to make me neurotic and confuse any relationship’s real issues, and
    b) The more precisely I can specifically identify my own needs and expectations, and then directly ask for them to be met (while helping my partner do the same) the happier we’ll both be.

    Even though I’m intuitive, I don’t assume I know what a partner thinks. When I ask better questions, I get better answers, and I have better relationships. If I’m having problems, I try to immediately discern how to ask a better question, or make a more neutral, yet descriptive and informative, statement. And, of course all of Tim’s advice about not complaining, blaming others, etc. applies.

    At that point, the question ceases to be whether or not the relationship is working as well as it possibly can be. That’s almost a given. Instead, the question is more along the lines of, “Do I merely enjoy this person’s company, or am I so thoroughly inspired and fulfilled by them and the partnership we create that I want to trust them and be more accountable to them than anyone else on the planet for the forseeable future/rest of my life?”

    On a different note, I’m thrilled that Tim is using a Mac. I’m such a Mac geek that I almost went to the Leopard release party last night. I have to order online to get an education discount, though, so I passed.

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  46. I have been alive for as long as I can remember. So, talking about death as much as we do makes no sense. I call it a “deathist” philosophy. It is non-productive, as it subconsciously says “Why bother working/planning/etc so hard…you are gonna die anyway.” or energy-draining depression, and I am sure many other non-productive results from focusing on (and therefore expanding) energy dedicated to deathism.

    Some call me silly. I think I am the non-silly one. What do YOU want to expand in your life? Liveliness or Death & Disease (another “hot topic”). So put your purple band on, and every time, for one week, you talk about death or disease or sickness, switch it over. Watch how many times you have to. You will be surprised.
    THEN, use the purple band to STOP that thinking, and notice how much more energized you are!

    Remember, you have not a second (0%) of personal experience with death, but every second of your existence (100%) with life. Why would you want to empower self-destructive thoughts and words? Just a bad, socially-reinforced (especially by churches, drug makers, funeral homes, doctors, and insurance companies) habit; one you can correct with the purple band!

    2) How to entertain on less than a $1000 budget? Simple: Give them exercises to get to know themselves and each other, play team-building games (borrow some balls, string, rope, etc), spend the $1000 renting the ropes course.

    Then teach them how to do Primary Domino Thinking (solving problems effectively – after all, life is just one damn problem after another, ain’t it? Do some building of personal mission statements, let them read the 4 Hour Workweek and discuss it (get it on loan free from 1000 libraries), and learn how to meditate.

    Hell, call me, I will lead it for you, and I guarantee it will be the best week these people ever had!

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  47. The other thing that people need to stop is to lose temper. I think the band thing or some tactic similar to it can help people with gaining more control of anger too.

    As for the party question, lets say that if you are pressed for budget, you can have a speech by somebody on a really boring topic about which nobody is interested in. But the thing is that everybody should sit through the lecture and nobody is allowed to leave the room, talk among themselves etc. as long as the lecture is going on. This can be a good change from the usual practice of people trying to make parties as much fun as possible. Try making it a little boring for a change and make it compulsory for people to endure it. See their response.

    The speech can be about something useful like environmental pollution, global warming etc. and it can be used for spreading awareness. Also the people by enduring the boredom might learn to have control over their emotions as they force themselves to sit through the lecture.

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  48. I think purchasing a special wristband for thus purpose is a slight waste of money. Here’s a way to use the wristband idea while combining 2 habit breaker’s in one: just use your watch (if you wear one). Sure to be an effective reminder, moving your watch also provides a good change-up one of our most habitual accessories.

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  49. Tim,

    I see it as the other way around…thoughts determine emotions which dictate our words and actions. The root of a complaint is judgment. Complaints don’t necessarily have to come out of my mouth. Judgmental thoughts are equally as powerful.

    How about defining a complaint as anything that disturbs one’s peace?

    If “I’m upset because of ______________” then I am choosing to engage in judgment. Judgment is suffering plain and simple. It is also part of the human experience. I believe it enhances my life because each time I choose to resolve the unresolved issues that create complaints(judgments)then I move up the spectrum in Consciousness. Peace and Freedom are automatic byproducts of resolving the unresolved issues that create judgments. The question then becomes HOW to resolve these issues and this is a personal quest that is not for the faint of heart. It requires vigilance.

    Living a Conscious life is well worth it to me. At the end of the day, what is more exciting, empowering, and enlivening than Peace and Freedom? What else is there to be desired in life?

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  50. I personally try to refrain from asking questions as much as possible. I think asking questions is a conversational technique that is very convenient for people who are too lazy to think of something interesting to say for themselves.

    “Who do you think is going to win the next election?” There. Go ahead and talk while I listen (or pretend to) for the next few minutes.

    A person who feels the urge to ask the aforementioned question could, for instance, replace it with a comment like: “I’m passionate about politics, and I can’t wait to see who is going to win the next election.” Even if you get no verbal reply, the person’s body language will soon tell you whether your passion is shared.

    By the way, I’m aware that this post is written in answer to a question. So obviously I consider asking questions as something that is allowable at least some of the time 😉

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  51. Offering solutions is good, however, many people will not take them. They have a “yes, but” mentality and like to stay in their problems. What about those people? Just avoid them?

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  52. I think that people need to change their eating habbits. Not everyone needs to go on a diet, but our nation is becoming obsessed with fast food and junk food. I think we should try to go 21 days without eating fast/junk food. It would total change peoples life styles for the better. Everyone could stand to make some improvements on their eating habbits and this would give people the jump start they need. Don’t we all need to start taking better care of our bodies?

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  53. 21 day fast of of not thinking any violent/jealous thoughts. Its personal, positive and teaches how changing our thinking can change your feelings.

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  54. What other behavior, besides complaining, do you think people should stop? How could train themselves to stop?

    ANSWER: Keep it positive. A few years ago, I spent a week at the home of a friend who had an African Gray Parrot, arguably the most intelligent species that isn’t human. It was my first interaction with a non-human that could speak. What was most interesting was the friendly manner of speech of this animal, named Sophocles, his sensitivity to the emotions of the people and other animals, my friend’s numerous other pets, in his surroundings. A major part of that was the bird’s manner of speech: 100% AFFIRMATION.

    How about it? Speak in positive terms.

    You can apply a similar strategy to the examples cited in this blog post:

    The Post Office Example:
    From now on, I’ll go in the mornings before 10am to avoid the crowd.

    The engineering emails:

    For maximum effectiveness, I’ll just send the e-mails directly to Mary in engineering for the next two weeks to get buy-in. I think John will see that works well in accomplishing our objectives.

    Bonus: If you were holding a party for 100 VIPs in SF or NYC and had no budget (or no more than $1,000, whichever you prefer), what would you do to make the event memorable and fun?

    ANSWER: Body Painting!!!

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  55. Gossiping about other people (also includes most forms of criticism)

    Why hate on other people and/or the work they put out into the ether?

    Ultimately, judging others is judging yourself, and judging other people’s work puts you on the fast track to stifling your own creativity. What if the critics pan YOU??

    With 100 VIP’s and a thousand bucks I’d hijack a couple of Mister Softee trucks and the Staten Island ferry, pack it with hotties culled from the street and a couple good DJ’s, let them eat ice cream and groove.

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  56. behaviour people should stop?
    – overspending especially impulse buys online (as most of us are working too many hours just to pay off debts)
    train themselves to stop by using a fake (web) “credit card” that you use to “spend” everytime you want to buy something but resist. when you use the credit card it just takes you to a website where you log the purchase and then every month you get mailed your “bill” which in fact shows you how much cash you’re “saving” by not spending.

    Re the party for VIP’s
    – ask each person to bring something with that represents something unnecessary that wastes their time that they want to rid from their life – and then have a moment where everyone sets light to their stuff in a big pile –
    with luck some people might set fire to their cellphone, their blackberry or to do list ?!
    a kind of bonfire of timewasting stuff

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  57. if I was hosting the party for the exec’s, I would give everyone a sheet of paper on a clipboard and a pen and ask everyone to write the following: “what is the most important question in life, and what do you think is the answer?”

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  58. Tim,
    Thank you for your terrific blog. I am “randomly” finding you on New Year’s Day. I have been in a terrible work situation (not complaining part – ) because I am not following my ‘bliss’. I run the front desk & admin of a non-profit office, when I should be doing massage therapy. On some days I complain so much I make myself physically ill. I have a what seems to be an endless supply of (part-timers) fresh faces all who ask about my day. I think I have fallen into some diverticulum of the radical honesty project because I tell them, all the gory details, and each of my days have seemed to be full of them. Even talking about this, I feel the complaining coming on. I also gossip, I have been justifying this behaviour, because it is the only way I thought I could get trickle-down information from management, and though it has worked, I don’t feel good about it. I think that the rubber band thing will help me. I have already been feeling better looking for office space for my business and I have to just believe that the right deal will come along when it should. Until that time, I gotta keep the job, & I have to remember that other people’s failure to inform me (like when a Congressman is going to come tour our facility in 4 hours- smile- ok I am starting right *now*) is not my own failure to be receptive to what ever information they will share with me, especially since I will go on the 21 day no complaining diet! So thank you, and maybe I will even throw in “white” foods too.

    Party with Budget under 1k, rent a yert & or tepee, light it with candles and have relaxing music & 10 min massage therapy sessions. Outside serve homemade tapas & instead of talking about your project all night, put it up on a screen and let the business people talk about how great they feel!

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  59. I would like to see a competition for the least amount of words needed to elicit a positive conversation from others.

    Your incites have inspired me.

    I believe there is only one source for words that actually make everlasting change…words that have the innate ability to warp “reality.”

    A hierarchy of the best words would seem to be the most efficient path to change.

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  60. Actually you know what’s funny though is that you mention complaining being counterproductive but ysee I’m kind of a misanthrope- Okay I don’t really “hate” people I just think we’re all flawed (For example I’m full of myself- My favorite time of the morning is when I glance at myself in the mirror, but I know I’m full of it all in good fun.). I really think humans have poisonned a lot of existence but what I really hate is that a lot of people relish in that and love to make others miserable byproxy because they are inconsiderate enough to not know they have the potential to burn the whole world to the ground if they wanted to:

    Well that gets to me talking about my writing- which of course involves people the way I see most people- Screwed through every fault of their own…

    I met this chick New Years who asked about my writing. So obviously New Years I was miffed again that the world didn’t end which meant 1) I didn’t get laid on New Years and 2) I had things to attend to the next day, instead of the fun of having a permanent vacation if a meteor had smashed into me or Godzilla farted on me or the hand of Elvis rose from the Heavens and threw lightning at everybody.

    Anyway when she asked about my writing and what it was about of course I had said, “Oh you know same old fun stuff- heroin addiction, suicide, alienation, desperation, failure, the amusing follies of #*@!ups and retards.”

    At that point her eyes lit up and in a minute or two she was making out with me to the extent that we walked to the door with lips locked and my hand nearly on her ass. She couldnt take her hands off of me and made the hilarious loser she was with jealous- So yeah sometimes complaining does actually work in rare one-night stand type situations… But usually you have to be a rock-star with a serious drug problem for that to work sadly (And I don’t have neither.).

    Food for thought…

    Peace,
    -Mike

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  61. Love themselves more – forgive themselves for their imperfections and say I love you each morning to themselves in the mirror, forget trying to be perfect, aim for it but there’s too many more useful things to do than waste time and money in trying to look perfect, better to act with respect and love to everyone around you b/c each of them is a reflection of something in side ourselves! Now that can be scary!!

    The Party – I would invite the VIPs (let them know it is invitation only!) to pay for their own ticket on a round the island (Manhattan) trip on a full moon evening and promise that they would get to meet a very select group of people that they could make new business and social contact with, and use the money for cheap champagne in expensive looking bottles, and say ‘dahling’ a lot! Heather, Australia!

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  62. In keeping with minimalism I am going to start this with my watch as the tool. Ever switch wrists? It is a bit of an adjustment and should serve as a constant reminder of the task at hand – particularly for those with heavier time pieces.

    No budget in those locales…I’d serve domestic light beer on the beach or in central park – so cliche it would be certain to be memorable (in some sense…).

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  63. Here’s a good behavior to get away from: Stop passing the buck.

    People should be be more willing to be accountable for their own actions, take responsibility, and not automatically lay blame on someone else (or someTHING else, at times.) Especially common in the workplace, passing the buck can often be counter-productive and can demonstrate a lack of integrity, maturity, honor, and leadership. While one may see this practice as merely a self-preserving escape route, it’s also demonstrated as a bit of testimony to that person’s weak character.

    Which would you rather hear: “The mess up with the new system? Bob was really more to blame than I” -or- “Although others may have been involved, I was part of the problem and I’m willing to share in the responsibility.”

    I think it’s generally more respectable to stand up and take your lumps. You’ll look better for it.

    –Steve

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  64. Bad Behavior and the reason:
    Red-hot anger. It’s explosive, unpredictable and easy. On the road, on the phone, in hotels, in queues, or at home — almost everywhere, it seems people are lashing out.
    It’s ugly to see, and frightening too, but the awful truth is that anger is often rewarded. Yell and scream down the phone or show some irritation to a shop assistant and you might get quicker service. Scream at the CSR and demand a Supervisor and they get the answers that they want. Not necessarily the correct ones, but anger and outlashes got them to where they wanted to go faster.

    The way we live today, experts say, opens the door to frustration and rage.
    Anger. It builds like a pressure cooker. A look from another driver at the lights, a queue that’s blocked by that wretched old woman, a booking phone number that plays prerecorded trash 24 hours a day and never seems to be picked up. A wrong word, a flat tire, a late train, a frozen computer screen, a cold dinner, warm beer — they’re all fuel to the fire.
    A way to stop this said “bad behavior”? Like another other bad “habit” that we seem to get into, Self Help would be the answer. First seeing the problem, then seeking the help we need to make it go away.

    Well – with cash in the pocket at only $1000.00 I have no idea what type of event you think you can put on in NYC!!!! Ha-ha!
    First I think I would try to get the community involved. Quick fundraisers, see who has an “in” with some sort of entertainment (everyone knows a DJ!), find a local catering company that would love the publicity and would do the event for free (for the exposure), visit local shops (stores) ask for some prizes to be donated, contact a local newspaper, radio, even TV and let them know about the event and if they would help support. It would be fun – no matter what – make it fun!

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