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


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 ‘’

“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.”


“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 been 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?

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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752 Replies to “Real Mind Control: The 21-Day No-Complaint Experiment”

  1. The habit of saying “I’m fine” even when you really are not. It creates a habit of settling for just fine.

  2. People should stop forcing children out of the womb during and after the pregnancy. It’s just unfair,kids having fair living accommodations,the warmth of the inner walls,the food tube, and the lighting or lack thereof is just too great to pass up.

  3. I’ sure someone else here has said this, but I haven’t read all the comments. My two cents: people should stop the behaviour of needing an official stamp of endorsement to apply a good idea. Case in point; needing the official rubber band on your wrist. Why wait for one? Why need an official rubber band when any rubber band or hair elastic on one’s arm will do? I think the idea of this is great, but let’s not be held back by a shortage of supply or seeking endorsement from officially stamped merchandise. Implement the idea and adapt the practice to best suit yourself with what you have at hand.

  4. We should stop thinking that positive thinking will solve all their problems.

    We should recognize fear, acknowledge its presence, set it aside and do whatever you need to do anyway.

    We should stop thinking that the world owes us anything. With the givens we are born into in mind, let us start taking responsibility for our actions.

  5. Using I statements has help to condition me to become more empowered and accountable. Speaking generally with “you” instead of “I” is a trait I noticed and attained in a low-socio-economic status. The simple change to I can totally change perspective.

    Ps. Wanting to do this 21 day braclett challenge.

  6. I feel that that the world would be better off without passive aggressive dialogue. I feel that social media helps to perpetuate because rants get more attention than raves. There is an undertone of snarkiness that people are becoming more tolerant of but it is damaging all the same. Passive aggressive dialogue is an entry way into verbal abuse. I am not sure how to begin to tackle such a huge character flaw but I sure empathy and accountability come into play. I notice I am the most passive aggressive when I am blaming someone. Also when I am emotionally caught off gaurd which can lead to vulnerability my own passive aggressive tendencies will come out. I am going to attempt at tackling this nasty coping mechanism on my own since it is a goal of mine to handle that other gremlin “manipulation.” 🙁

  7. Addiction. Read “Diary of a Drug Fiend” by Aleister Crowley. Fictional story, with practical methods of breaking any destructive addiction/habit through self-awareness and accountability practices, or quite simply, through True Will. Awareness is first step toward resolution. Check it out, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I’d add excuses. Eliminating Cop outs such as I don’t know or adding an excuse after an action would be very healthy for most individuals, including myself to exclude from their lives.

    “I would start my own business and travel the world but I don’t have enough: smarts/money/time or I would but I have a family/mortgage/anxiety disorder. etc etc.”

    Imagine what you could accomplish when you only give yourself permission and problem solving.

    Good stuff, keep it coming! 🙂

  9. “Futuretripping” freaking oneself out so thoroughly over potential outcomes that decision making either becomes impossible or incredibly inefficient. Common with self aware, reflective, and slightly prone to anxiety types.

    1. Ask yourself if this is truly an irreversible life decision

    2. Pre allot the amount of time you’re willing to spend reflecting/ choose a due date

    3. Only consult with others… No complaining to others

  10. Procrastination; I am the master, well more like was. I would procrastinate about almost everything, my wife would go nuts. One day I said I have really got to kick this bad habit of putting things off and just began fighting through not wanting to do things right away. I started to make it a priority to take notes when ever I was given a task, then attack it right away. It works wonders and I still use the same technique six months later. When I don’t all hell breaks loose and my wife is kicking my ass, lol

  11. Box-set beliefs. i.e. I am left wing, therefore I believe X, Y and Z, or I am right wing, so A, B and C. I am middle class, so I therefore require assets/habits/forms S, T and U. Usually fomented by the social circles (box-set social circles!) in which we move.

    A box-set belief could be defined as a political, cultural or religious affirmation that I and my social circle naturally tend to agree with, without my (me, myself) having actively investigated or read up on.

    Elastic band on the wrist would work for this as well. On identifying a box-set belief presenting itself, the correct response is either a) an expression of doubt such as “I need to look at that from some more angles” or “I’ve never really thought about that” or b) stony silence. A response such as “yup” or “absolutely” or “so true” would cause the elastic band to be moved to the other wrist and the counter set to 0.

  12. Be here NOW. Confront present moment. Be present for self and others. Engage the real. As the poet say, give the unforgiving minute 60 seconds worth of run.

  13. People could stop throwing themselves into all-emotional reactions and talking and could start concentrating on facts, making up their minds before judging.

    E.g.: Emotional thinking that comes up short: He/She’s a drunken tramp! Fact thinking: Oh, he/she has a very old jacket and could use a haircut.

    A next step could be to deposit money at a hairdresser’s for some poor fellow. Just because it’s nice to do that.

    I think, this could change our sight of the world still a bit more.

  14. Other than complaining, definitely gossiping about other people. It is really counter productive and it will get you nowhere in life. I am really glad that you touched upon this subject because we all need to expand our consciousness and to change the way people think about other people. Thank you for your post.

  15. Some people want to do away with curse words, but I love saying them and hearing them. Personally, I think people could stop farting or sharting in close proximity of other people. Have the Japanese invented charcoal underwear yet? That would be a great solution for people with loose holes.,, maybe ass kegals?

  16. Instead of focusing on what people should stop doing, I propose we focus on a skill to develop – active listening. It seems to me that most people generally listen to respond, rather than listening to understand. There are so many opinions, so much ignorance, and so little progress made, due in part, to the impulsive culture we live in. It seems that as a society, we cater largely to impulsively and emotional reaction, rather than understanding and growth (some of our current politicians are a great example of this). This, in my mind, correlates very closely to the intertwined culture of complaint that you speak of here, which breeds negativity and stumps progress. So, while we pay attention to these gaps in our personal behavior, why not teach ourselves to be better listeners? Truly hearing what is said by others, may be a great catalyst to transforming how we can impact people in a constructive and positive way.

  17. I need to stopy grazing on junk food. This single action alone is sabotoging my health. Would love one of the bracelets, but am currently scrounging around my drawer for a rubber band!

  18. Letting go of negative mindset (ie continuing to hold on to past grievances). Another suggestion: interrupting another being

  19. We should stop avoiding activities or choices due to a fear of inconvenience.

    Rectification: every time we feel the urge to avoid, instead we should do it just to see that the inconvenience is not as bad a we anticipated….and then we should thumb tack a gold star to our forehead.

  20. I would ask people to shed the deep seeded fear of being wrong. & would recommend the lost art of listening as a means of bridging the chasm left behind by that fear.

  21. Fundamental attribution error: The mistaken idea that someone is an a*hole because they have made a behavioral error. Classic example: Someone cuts you off in traffic and you yell “You fu**ing A**hole” and call into question his intelligence, morality, etc. instead of just sayin: ” that dude made a driving error” and leaving it at that

  22. I am trying to stop gossiping about people, to stop being critical, judgemental, negative, etc. Just trying to stop talking about people, to keep confidences, to say only kind things.i went to a funeral today and one of the comments was,she never said a bad comment about any one. That’s the kind of person I want to be! I think the bracelet idea will help me break this habit!

  23. What’s up to every one, the contents present at this site are truly awesome for people experience, well,

    keep up the nice work fellows.

  24. I think one of the behaviors that should be stopped, is letting yourself get controlled. Whether by money, authority, or peers. A possible solution, would be to set some peramiters of what’s important no matter what, and don’t let any of the above deter from it.

    When any idea comes up ask, “what does this mean to me?” “How can I apply this to life”. If you can’t, or it’s taking away from what’s important, don’t do it.

  25. People would benefit greatly if they stopped coming up with reasons that they can’t have, do, or create something that they want. Once some one recognizes a desire, however bold or seemingly unrealistic, their life would be better served by imaging possible solutions and taking incremental action to bring those desires into reality. Recognize excuses and replace with possible solutions to each hurdle along the journey

  26. A habit I’m trying to break or at least control is psychopath road-rage language and behavior. I suppose this is a type of complaining, but certainly has unique challenges and characteristics. Attempting to empathize with or at least humanize other drivers seems to be a promising approach. I try to imagine them in their complex mental and emotional situations. This approach helps one get out his or her little self-absorbed world where their needs are at the center of everything. #theworldbeyondyourhead

  27. Comparing yourself to others. Focus on comparing yourself to yourself. Are you better or worse in this moment than you have been before. What can you do to improve.

  28. Fantastic. I do something similar with experiences. Positive negative. Perhaps a little more extrinsic. Every experience matters.

  29. To stop assuming what another person’s intent is …Either ask them – or let it go. Having things go round and round in your head because of what you PERCEIVE someone else is possibly thinking is so daft ..

  30. Wow how cool. I would love to start a challenge like this but on “head trash”

    Bye bye head trash , hello my awesome self

  31. Sarcasm. Very low grade on the expression of a judgement. I’d switch wrists as well as making a mandatory effort to rephrase, or decide to silence my voice — an opportunity to practice being non-judgmental. Also goes to presence, being aware enough, in the moment, about what is about to come out of my mouth and changing the thought first.

  32. My suggestion would be for people to stop making excuses for things not going to plan, or for underperfance. This doesn’t include doing a post-match type analysis session, where there is a formalised meeting to understand performance. That’s obviously consecutive and should be objective.

    I mean when people blame everything they can for why they underperform. Similarly to the complaining example, if you have something to put blame on when you underperform, with good justification, then you should also say how you could have prevented it and how you will guard against it in future attempts.

    I got into a bad habit of doing this, so I think it would be so beneficial to start the process for productive thinking in any review of my performance.

  33. Negative thinking. First just listen, watch and become aware of your thoughts and either talk back to your fearful self thanking it for the thought which is only meant to protect you from harm and reassure it that things are ok. And then think something opposite and focus on that a bit. Focus on what you do want, day dream.

  34. Leading with criticism. Honesty is important, but a positive statement encourages someone to want to do better, and opens them to a constructive idea about how they can improve. This applies particularly to my children, but also to employees, co- workers, spouses (ex-spouses!), and everyone else. I’m trying to spread empowerment!

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

    People should start care about the environment.

    For each activity (food, transport, entertainment etc) should wonder: is this the best eco-friendly option ? how can be even eco-friendlier ?

  36. People should stop interrupting. They should stop making broad, unnuanced statements. And we all should stop arguing before truly listening to another’s views. People also should stop giving unsolicited advice without being sure it is wanted. We all should ask more questions before too quickly putting down another’s thoughts or ideas. People should make “love” the primary emotion in responding to another person, rather than “judgment”.

  37. The other unproductive habit I would like to change is making excuses. This drives me crazy – either do something or not but stop making excuses. Also stop feeling like you have to have an excuse for saying no to something you don’t want to do. No is a complete sentence.

  38. I think another thought behavior should stop is negative self talk. Example: urgh, i am so stupid for making this mistake. Why am I so dumb? Maybe john/Mary is right, I can’t do this.

    I think the solution you provided with the complaint free method technique applies here as well.

    Another would be fear base action:

    For example: I think she cute, I should go talk to her, but she such a hottie I think she got a boyfriend. I better don’t bother her

    Or any action your too afraid to take action. Every time you notice it, take affirmative mental exercise and move through the fear and take action. For every time you don’t take, fine yourself a dollar and tally up in a month. A good score to check how many possible opportunities you miss out on

  39. Passive aggressive behavior.A passive aggressive person is essentially thinking the the person they are talking to is stupid.They think that they are being wise and subtle to make a point but don’t realize they are alienating people who see through it.Solution is simple call them out on it and explain that if they have a valid issue with you that you’d rather them be direct.That it won’t hurt your feelings.

  40. The behavior that people should stop besides complaining is being tardy. Try going 30 days by being 10 minutes early (minimum) to every meeting. You can use the 10 minutes to prepare for the meeting to insure it goes smoothly.

  41. People should stop using “should” statements. Why? Because it is a lousy motivational tool at best, and at worst used as self-righteous bashing. “You try to motivate yourself by saying, ‘I should do this’ or ‘I must do that.’ These statements [can] cause you to feel pressured and resentful…apathetic and unmotivated.” -Feeling Good, Dr. David Burns

    The double column technique is a powerful cognitive behavioural tool. Draw a line down the middle of the page. Write the thought(s) which is creating a negative emotion in the left column. Then try to identify the distortion in logic and write a rational response that you believe is true in the right column. For example:

    “I should exercise everyday.” A rational response could be, “Why should I? If I exercise everyday I would probably see a huge difference in my health and appearance. I am a free person. Nagging myself won’t help and is not very respectful.”

    Like anything, results are proportional to effort and time spent using this tool.

    Why should I do anything? People are constantly telling people what they should or shouldn’t do and it is psychological violence. I wouldn’t tell my brother, “You should exercise because you’ll be healthier.” This doesn’t teach anything and could lead to all kinds of negative reactions. Imagine being told that, compared to, “If you exercise more you would most likely see a huge improvement in your mood and health.” Not the best example but which style of statement would you be more receptive to?

    There is no natural law that says I MUST do anything. There are only actions and consequences and telling myself I have to do something is like using a stick instead of a carrot, and prevents learning of why I am telling myself this. Instead of telling myself I have to go to work or I should exercise more, which doesn’t help with motivation, I look at the consequences of going or not going and come to a decision that is in my best interest. This way, I learn that I actually want to exercise because I’ll feel and look better. I also can learn the reason for any resistance and address that reason. For example, I want to avoid pain. Well the truth is if I don’t exercise I’ll be in a lot more pain the longer I go without exercising. So, if the resistance to exercise is avoiding pain, then exercising is the best option. Logic is much more powerful than force. Should statements are a method of force.

  42. Hello Tim,

    I appreciate all the resources you provide to you’re subscribers to not only grow mentally but spiritually as well. A behavior I’m consciously breaking every day is the use of social media. It’s so convened to check Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram when you’re “board”. A solution I provided myself and encourage others to try is find other Apps and Articles that benefit personal grow. Apps and articles I use to occupy my time are Mint,, Tony Robbins Podcast, Evernote, CNBC, Elevate.. Etc to name a few. So far I believe I’m learning more, doing more,and helping more, by using these tools. I hope others find this helpful!

    Thank you,

    Nathaniel Fallentine

    “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”

  43. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve

    found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

  44. I believe people should stop saying “Yes” without first asking themselves the question, “Why am I saying yes?”.

    By simply asking ourselves why we do the things we do, we can avoid taking on unnecessary stress and devote our time to things that are important and we really care about. Great wristband initiative!

  45. Stop talking about people’s character when they are not in the room – either positively or negatively. Doing so is mostly future or past oriented. Stay present by talking about your own ideas or the ideas of others in the room.

  46. Hi Tim,

    Did you ever experiment with the Silva mind control method? I tried that once. Didn’t stick for me.

    Regarding wording: I think certain wordings and speech patterns are intuitively linked to certain “tribes” of people. Since humans are wired for tribe connection first and foremost it makes sense that changing your thinking style would induce change in behavior.

    I’m currently limiting my control. Often I find myself controlling my expression to unnecessary degrees. This depletes my willpower reserves for the bigger issues. So allowing myself more leeway in the smaller everyday interactions actually increases my discipline in important matters.

  47. Great post, and there are very good ideas in the responses. People complain constantly not even for the things that they should be complaining about, like why healthcare is so expensive in the USA or why people need to pay so much to go to college in a first world country, but about trivial stuff like why coffee is not hot enough, why the bus is late ten minutes, why the hair dresser can’t make the perfect color… “Oh my gosh, like life is so totally unfair.” 😛 I just can’t stand whiny people.

    I used to read the news first thing in the morning with my coffee and it affected the rest of my day badly sometimes. I don’t do that anymore. I read it in the evening. Have you seen the videos and pictures of injured kids in Aleppo recently? It doesn’t matter where they are born, kids don’t deserve to go through so much pain. You see this kind of news, then you go out and see some entitled whiny people who have everything, but they are still miserable. It pisses you off.

    But then there are those who are overly excited about everything like eager beaver, posting fake smiles on social media with some happiness quotes. “Look how happy I am, why don’t you be happy? Get up, go out, be happy! Come on! What are you waiting for?” God, chill the fudge out! Humans can’t even do happiness properly. Social media posts are only the highlights of someone’s life, the eager someone gets the more miserable he/she is in real life.

    I am glad you said “I’m big on constructive criticism.” Being critical and complaining are completely different things. I am a critical person and have very high standards with people, if they want to be my close friend or partner. And, being straight forward works like screening. Only right people appreciate it. And I always appreciate supportive criticism for myself from close friends. When you tell the truth it means you care.

    People are living for other people. They are dining, dressing up, going for vacation to show it to others. They are having kids just so they can be confirmed by the society. Nobody does anything for themselves anymore. They are following new trends mindlessly. They are playing the happiness game. They don’t care how you are doing, but they all want to know who you are doing. So they can categorize you. I keep my personal life private. It kills them.

    I hope you write more articles like this. Sorry I didn’t catch up with every single post in this site yet, but I am suggesting more like this one for future.

    Best x

  48. Just a suggestion: people (myself included) should definitely practice the art of being in service-to-others, rather than service-to-self. Gratitude, forgiveness, and the ability to openly admit when you are wrong (or better yet – you’ve wronged someone), would go miles on this planet…

  49. My girlfriend suggests that people should stop talking about themselves. This is pretty much something that everyone does in excess from time to time. I’ll elaborate on that and suggest that people stop having egocentric conversations. If you’re talking about yourself, it shouldn’t be a conversation opener, it shouldn’t come off conceited or self boasting or braggy. Perhaps even changing the way you structure a sentence from “I think you should”, to “maybe you should”, or “why don’t you”, etc. Training yourself to stop can be achieved by a similar technique with the elastic band on your wrist, combined with an agreement of only a few close friends whom you trust. You’ll rely on either yourself or these few friends to tell you any time you’re being “self talky”, and you’ll snap the elastic band on your wrist or against your skin and train the bad habit out of you.

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

    The most common behavior that I observe is people telling themselves that they simply can’t do something. I often observe this in the classroom and also in the workplace. Sometimes it’s in verbal form by saying something like “I just can’t figure this out and I’m never going to be able to do this” or it is more subtle in the form of nonverbal cues like dramatically dropping a pen, grunting, and shaking their heads.

    A simple solution to this is not letting yourself give up on a problem. I make a point to not give up on a problem and to always come up with an answer. Sometimes this consists of asking myself a question and if I realize that I don’t have the answer to it then I stop what I am doing and figure it out (solve the problem, do my research, etc.). That way, when I come to this problem again in the future I will at least have some background knowledge to the topic. This solution is sort of a lifelong learning tool that you too can apply to your everyday life.

  51. Commit to not announcing aloud to another human, a big idea, a goal or project you want to achieve, until you have put at least 50 hrs toward its completion.

  52. Projecting our own issues onto others. Instead of getting irrationally irritated by another persons particular behavior, we could go: “wait, why do I find this so irritating? Maybe I can look inward to find out instead of immediately point fingers outwardly”.

  53. People should Refrain from answers starting with “yes…but” and switch to “yes…and” which induces building on others’ ideas instead of pulling them down.

  54. it works! started 3 years ago (but not with petrochemical purple; got a cute bangle from Overstock) … immediately came a sense of relief, a “lightness of being”

  55. I’ve tried this out since two months back, but what I actually found is a new lifestyle. This has changed my world upside down. I used to have anger tantrums every week sometimes several tantrums in a day.

    Nowadays with my new lifestyle Im in total control of my emotions and I dont get that upset anymore. Its like nobody can affect me that way no more.

    It has been a beautiful journey so far and I’ve actually become much closer with my family and friends.

    [Moderator: link removed]

  56. I often make certain plans and never end up executing them. I usually regret not doing these things because they are usually triggered by things I wasn’t happy about in the first place. So, one thing people should change is sticking to their plan no matter what. (A little similar to following discipline) For example – I wanted to not smoke weed with my friends so I could work out and read certain books. But I smoked anyway and felt bad about it. I would like to change this about myself and want other people to also change this as it would result in growth.

  57. Behavior to stop: Coercion. The typical definition is ‘persuading someone through force or threat’ but I define this as the act of removing any option from someone else. I think it’s ok to try to persuade someone trowards an outcome but the decision must be theirs.

  58. I deal with people all of time who ard poor listeners and use others. It’s challenge to keep setting boundaries with people just won’t THINK. Ideas on using complaint free principles with these types?

  59. Self-criticism. Putting yourself down or treating yourself to standards far beyond what you would require of others (and putting yourself down when you don’t achieve them) is detrimental to your health. Just working on modifying THAT can produce amazing turnarounds with autoimmune disorders. Think about it – your immune system, the seat of your personality, had been attacking you. Is that not a mirror to how you have been treating yourself? Does the complaint list include self?

  60. People, myself included, should stop procrastinating and multitasking. I think multitasking is a way of procrastination. We rather do a thousand things, except the thing we must really do. I read that we can stop these behaviors by facing and doing the one thing we dont want to do. It requires a lot of awareness and, in many instances i have been successful and felt like the thing i didnt want to do wasnt so bad, but i havent been able to completely stop the habit of procrastination.

  61. One behavior people should stop doing is using thier cell phones during a conversation or at a dinner table. Checking your cell phone has become so common place that people don’t realize they are even doing it. It’seems also distracting during a conversation and feels impersonal. They can stop using their cell phones simply by keeping them in their bag or on silent in their pocket (even the vibration from the phone causes your mind to stop and automatically switch to thinking about your phone). If you are with a group of friends it could be like a game where who ever catches someone taking out or checking thier phone they get to hold that person’s phone until they leave. Who ever has the most phones at the end of the night wins and agreed upon prize. Their dinner or drinks paid for. Like the baby shower game where you take clothes pins from people who say the word baby.

  62. I feel like the behavior modification that would most benefit myself would be analyzing past and previous occurrences. For a very long Tim I justified my rendundant anlyations as a benefit as to “learn the lesson and avoid repeating it”. But as time has gone on I have realized that I have lost a great deal of time I could have used more wisely, by just being mindful of the present. I have allowed terrible people and encounters to take up space in my head for far too long. It’s funny too, because if you asked people that know me, they would say how much I accomplish, but productivity is relative; to some my daily work probably is more than adequate to feel fulfilled, but when I internalize my time, I know I could make leaps and bounds of difference if I was able to break this negative habit.

    Safe and mindful travels…



    1. Apologies for grammatical errors etc. typing on a 4″ screen is tricky. LOL

      Also, good luck with the MAC. I just made the switch last June and still not sure that I am content with it. I pondered that as I googled YouTube videos how to cut/paste and screenshot LOL

  63. I think people should stop using the word “but.” Hear me out. Ever responded to someone by saying ‘that’s a really good idea, but..’ The ‘but’ totally discredits everything the person just said and shuts them down hard, usually provoking a defensive response using a similar “but” structure. This follows with a destructive face off where both individuals are trying to beat each other as opposed to a free flow of constructive ideas. Think about it next time you talk to someone.

  64. I behavior I think we should all stop doing is using the excuse, “It’s too hard” when asked to do something. Something my friends have all started is going to the gym at 6am every morning. Before we started though we knew we would not have much buy in or may not have people sustain over the long period so we thought how can we make this fun? So everything morning we walk on the treadmill together reading a book for the first 30 minutes before the work out. When anyone walks in to the gym they see 8-12 people in a row walking on the treadmill and reading. So now when ever we approach some task we think, “How can we make this fun or funny? “

  65. End negative political comments without providing a positive reinforcement statement on how your life can be great in spite of politics

  66. People should stop chewing with their mouths open, especially on the phone. People could train themselves to do this by being punished with high voltage shocks, and I volunteer to be the punisher.

  67. Self depreciating thoughts and words should be eliminated. I do get tired of reassuring others that they can do what they are asked to do. Having a changin in mindset and taking a challenge to think positive and tell themselves they can do things, and then do it.

    I love the idea of a wrist band to switch from arm to arm when they say of think they cannot do something. I also like a tally mark app on a phone to collect data on how often it happens and a reflection on how often it happens and what needs to change.

  68. The Power of Hello – Say hello to the first stranger you come across on the street every morning ( Not ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’) You’re not a child anymore it’s ok to talk to strangers. This is a simple ritual I practice to super boost my person to person connecter each day. By the end of the day you will have made contact with people who will enrich your day and by the end of the year your lives.

    When you forget and need to ‘punish’ yourself.. simply SING (yes sing) Hello to the next person you see to reset.

    Sometimes, in fact most often, the singing Hello will produce laughter and smiles in your fellow human.

    As my great Shakespeare teacher once told me ‘When you get nervous you need not worry as it’s not about’s all about the other, your character is revealed in them’

    Life is a stage, remember we are all players.

    Happy Helloing people

    side note for Tim: Tools of Titans and The Tim Ferris Podcast have both changed my life. I’ve gone from out of work actor to producing my own content. Currently in pre production for a series I’m shooting in London England next month. Will invite you to the premiere if you make it over.

  69. People need to stop wearing “busy” like a badge of honour–i.e., I’m busy and important people are always busy; ergo, I am an important person. The opposite is also true–people need to stop complaining about being busy as though life is just happening to them, as if some omnipotent being just keeps dumping more and more stuff on them. Both busy and proud, and the powerless busy and stressed out suffer from the same problem. They aren’t prioritizing and focusing on what they chose to pursue. The solution is simple in theory, but maybe a bit harder in practice–everytime you catch yourself telling people your busy, or complaining that you don’t have enough time, force yourself to identify–right then and there–your top three priorities. Or force yourself, as a penalty, to drop something out of your routine anything that takes up your time but in no way furthers any of your priorities.

  70. OMG! I have one of these bracelets on now. I was at a talk by a channeler, no less. She threw them into the audience and one made a bee line for my purse. i.e. it was meant for me.

  71. We can stop sabotaging commitments to ourselves – losing weight, sticking to a diet, deciding to give up a bad habit. Most often, I am my own worst enemy, especially when I break a commitment I have made to myself!

  72. Keller said he appreciated Zesty’s mission to improve

    the way humanity eats,” and the challenge of working for

    a fast-growing company that doesn’t currently make its own food.

  73. Doing things half assed should be stopped. By that I mean doing everything mindfully, whether it be your job, exercising, hobbies, relationships and friendships and so on. Imagine how much more fulfilling life would be if we stopped just going through the motions and really shone at what we do. (Shined?)

    Anyway, the bracelet thing seems pretty solid way to always stay mindful of things you are trying to change, I used to wear a rubber band and snap my wrist a little when I was trying to stop a bad habit

  74. Using phrases such as “I think” or “I feel like” when expressing ourselves and just saying what we are thinking – it makes us sound much more confident in ourselves. Also a much harder one is eliminating “but” from our vocabulary — this is often followed by an excuse of why we believe we can’t accomplish something we want.

    What I have been using is a rubber band around my wrist and I snap it each time I catch myself using these words/phrases.

  75. I would have to say that people should really consider stopping their emotional constipation! Yes, I said it. Emotional constipation. We are bunged up emotionally and that inability to feel our feelings also leads to an utter inability to even consider that others HAVE feelings. It’s a vicious cycle. So, stop the constipation, take an emotional laxitive (try meditation) and let it all out.

  76. I think people should talk less and do more, me being the biggest culprit of how futile talking can be.

    Words without meaning and action area a waste of energy. I use to be the quiet observant type who used to lurk and listen in on conversations. I started noticing patterns and see how futile and empty some conversations were in general.

    Now that I’ve learned to express myself in worlds I see myself falling in the trap of empty conversations and wishful thinking which are just excuses to avoid physical action.

    I feel that me creating this post might just be another act on my part to perpetuate this behavior. I don’t wish to add to the flood of empty conversations but wish to make this into one of the action which I struggle with the most: asking for help.

    I need help creating a habit of aligning my thoughts and words with physical action. I was unfortunate to be raised by a family who personally struggles in this particular area and who were unable to teach me this skill which is so important in living a fulfilling life.

    I don’t want to fall between the cracks but be able to rise up from the adversity I’ve experience.

  77. What do we all need to stop doing?


    How do we stop? Imagine our thoughts and words are arrows. Ask: “Am I aiming my arrows at targets or at people?”. Make the conscious decision: “My thoughts and words are arrows and with these arrows I will not kill.” Before you follow that thought trail or speak/write those words imagine you are drawing a bow and focus your aim away from a person (or persons) and towards your true target then declare “I will do no harm”. At that point either let it fly or simply put the bow down.

  78. people should stop with the ‘spotlight effect’, as it limits connection and helping out both others and groups as well. the simplest thing I tried was to take a few minutes to write something with an ink pen on the back of my hand at the start of my day, to remind me of a few simple things. in this example, verbal ‘nods’ and general listening skills would be applicable. I’d abbreviate them to a few letters or symbols and not make it stand out too much.

  79. Busy work. Useless busy work. People should stop doing things that don’t produce results, for example responding to pointless emails or just working for the sake of working. Time you respond to an email just to say you got it, etc. adds up. Attending meetings that are pointless is a waste of time. Ask for the meeting purpose and your expected contribution before you accept it. We all should stop some of our habits just because they’re the norm.

  80. Hi Tim! Are you not allowed to complain in writing your morning pages either, then? I’ve started doing morning pages and find myself venting a lot in them and, well, complaining…should complaining be avoided in writing too? Thanks!

  81. This was an amazing post! I’m going to embark on my complaint free journey today. Thanks for inspiring me Tim!

  82. Derailing negative self talk…though I like your definition of complaining and your solution…to create a solution to go with your problem.

    So perhaps the experiment would have deeper impact if instead of stopping negative self talk we instead conditioned ourselves to add a constructive comment or solution that would close the loop.

  83. I would definitely say that one needs to stop thinking that the world owes us something. This false sense of entitlement only leads to constant disappointment and frustration. Instead one should accept negative situations as due course, and find better ways to deal with them. Someone, maybe even you, used traffic as an analogy for this. The world does not owe us an unblocked fast lane all the way to work in the mornings. Nor does the person in front of us need to go any faster, only because we wish it to be so. But rather take this moment to be thankful that we have transportation of our own, or take the time to look around and enjoy the scenery. etc. etc.

  84. I think comparing oneself to others is a very common behaviour that we should make an effort to stop.

    This can be stopped practically through discipline and pragmatism – reduce social media time, unfollow pages that make you feel inferior, stop getting into routine conversations where others are praised and you feel lesser as a result – and also mindfully where the surface comparisons can be sat with and disected and the realisation that the reality of how you feel goes deeper than superficial comparisons, that having certain things (material and social) will not make you better in whatever way you crave; confidence, loved, purpose etc.

  85. People should stop complaining about polytics and “the system” without being a good person with the people around them. We can make a difference. Personally. Not politicians or a corrupted system. Bracelets for everybody! Love your work, Tim, really inspiring many people in very different ambits! Thanks! 🙏🏻

  86. Great post! The concept of no complaining sort of Kinda reminds me of the book Four Agreements. The first one is “be impeccable with your word”. That pretty much takes care of all complaining right off the bat.

    If I wanted to make this 21 day no complaining challenge even more hard for myself I would add eye rolling. It’s silent complaining. I am a professional at it. I have the ability to roll my eyes in the back of my head like a scene from Beetlejuice. :0

  87. Hi Tim,

    Marty here, from Australia… love your work, thank you for your generosity and insights, amazing.

    Working as a parmedic, I’ve seen and dealt with life’s extremes, and the suggestion I would have would be the challenge of 21 days without self deprication or self pity, or self put downs, verbally or mentally.

    I’m looking at moving into helping people on a larger scale and I’d like to shake your hand one day to say thanks in person, especially for your work towards helping, and raising awareness regarding wrestling the black dog.

    Peace, best,