A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted

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9780739358474: A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted

The audio edition of A Complaint Free World includes a COMPLAINT FREE™ purple bracelet — the key to your personal transformation.


In your hands, you hold the secret to transforming your life. Big words? Yes, but this is a plan that has already proven itself with millions of people around the world. Pastor Will Bowen developed the life-changing A Complaint Free World plan based on the simple idea that good things will happen for you in abundance if you can just leave your grumbling behind. In a Sunday-morning sermon, Will told his congregation he wanted to make the world a complaint-free zone and, to prove he was serious, he passed out purple bracelets to each church member and offered them a challenge. "If you catch yourself complaining, take the bracelet and move it to the other wrist."

Now, less than a year later, more than six million people have taken up the challenge, trying to go twenty-one consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, and in so doing, forming a new, positive habit. By changing your words, you can change your thoughts and then begin to create your life by design. People have shared stories with Will of chronic pain relieved, relationships healed, careers improved, and becoming an overall happier person. Less pain, improved health, satisfying relationships, a better job, being more serene and joyous—sound good? It’s not only possible, it’s probable. Consciously striving to reformat your mental hard drive is not easy, but you can start now by using the steps Bowen presents here.

In this book, you can learn what constitutes a complaint, why we complain, what benefits we think we receive from complaining, how complaining is destructive to our lives, and how we can get others around us to stop complaining. You will learn the steps to eradicating this poisonous form of expression from your life. If you stay with it, you will find that not only will you not complain, but others around you will cease to do so as well. In a short period of time, you can have the life you’ve always dreamed of having.

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About the Author:

Will Bowen is the lead minister at Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, MO. Prior to entering the ministry, he spent many years in radio and in sales and marketing. His passions are exercise, Bible history, juggling, horseback riding, traveling, and reading, He and his wife, Gail, have a daughter, Lia. The Bowen family live in rural Missouri with several horses, dogs, and cats.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
I Complain Therefore I Am

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. —Lily Tomlin

Complain: (verb) 1: to express grief, pain, or discontent 2: to make a formal accusation or charge —The Merriam–Webster Dictionary
There are four stages to become competent at anything. In becoming a Complaint Free person, you will go through each of them and, sorry, you can’t skip steps. You can’t jump over them and effect lasting change. Some of the stages last longer than others. Everyone’s experience with them varies. You might soar through one stage and then become stuck in another for a long time, but if you stay with it you will master this skill.
VOICES
Like most of the other folks who took up the Complaint free challenge, I quickly discovered exactly how many of the words I spoke in daily interactions were complaints. For the first time, I really heard myself when I vented about work, whined about my aches and pains, bemoaned political and world issues, and complained about the weather. What a shock to realize how many of my words held negative energy–and I considered myself such a positive person! —Marty Pointer, Kansas City, MO
The four stages to competency are:
1. Unconscious Incompetence
2. Conscious Incompetence
3. Conscious Competence
4. Unconscious Competence

In “On a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” Thomas Gray gave us the saying “ignorance is bliss.” As you become a Complaint Free person, you begin in the bliss of ignorance, move through the turmoil of transformation, and arrive at true bliss. Right now, you are in the Unconscious Incompetence stage. You are unconscious about your being incompetent. You don’t realize (are unconscious) as to how much you complain (are incompetent).

Unconscious Incompetence is as much a state of being as a stage of competency. This is where we all begin. In Unconscious Incompetence you are pure potential, ready to create great things for yourself. There are exciting new vistas about to be explored. All you have to do is be willing to go through the remaining steps.

Many people are an “ouch!” looking for a hurt. If you cry “ouch,” the hurt will show up. If you complain, you’ll receive more to complain about. It’s the Law of Attraction in action. As you complete these stages, as you leave complaining behind, as you are no longer an “ouch” looking for a hurt, your life will unfold for you like a beautiful spring flower.

One of the questions I’m often asked is “Can I never complain...ever!?” To which I answer, “Of course you can complain.” I say this for two reasons:

1. I’m not out to tell you or anyone else what to do. If I were, I’d be trying to change you, and that means I’m focusing on something about you I don’t like. I’d be expressing discontent about you and, by inference, complaining. So you can do whatever you want. It’s your choice.

2. Sometimes it makes sense to complain.

Now, before you feel you’ve found your loophole in number 2 above, consider that word “sometimes” and remember that I and many, many people have gone three consecutive weeks–that’s 21 days, or 504 hours in a row–without complaining at all. No complaints, zero, I Complain Therefore I Am 25 zip! When it comes to complaining, “sometimes” means “not very often at all.” Complaining should happen infrequently; criticism and gossip, never. If we are honest with ourselves, life events that lead us to legitimately complain (express grief, pain, or discontent) are exceedingly rare. Most of the complaining we do is just a lot of “ear pollution” detrimental to our happiness and well-being.

Check yourself. When you complain (express grief, pain, or discontent), is the cause severe? Are you complaining frequently? Has it been a month or more since you complained? If you’re complaining more than once a month, you might just be giving in to habitual griping, which doesn’t serve you. You’re an “ouch” looking for a hurt.

To be a happy person who has mastered your thoughts and has begun creating your life by design, you need a very, very high threshold of what leads you to express grief, pain, and discontent. The next time you’re about to complain about something, ask yourself how the situation stacks up to something that happened to me a few years ago.

I was sitting in my office preparing a lesson. The home we lived in at the time was located at a sharp bend in the road. Drivers had to slow down to make the curve, and just 200 yards past our house the city road became a county highway and the speed limit changed from 25 mph to 55 mph. As a result, we lived on an acceleration/deceleration lane. If it weren’t for the curve in the road, our home would have been in a very dangerous place. It was a warm spring afternoon and the lace curtains flapped softly in the breeze from the open windows. Suddenly, I heard a strange sound. There was a loud thud, followed by a scream. It wasn’t the scream of a person, but rather that of an animal. Every animal, just like every person, has a unique voice, and I knew this voice well. It was our long-haired golden retriever, Ginger. Normally, we don’t think of dogs screaming. Barking, howling, whimpering—yes; but screaming is something we rarely hear. But that’s exactly what Ginger was doing. She had been hit, and she lay in the road shrieking with pain not twenty feet outside my window. I shouted and ran through the living room and out the front door, followed by my wife, Gail, and my daughter, Lia. Lia was six at the time.

As we approached Ginger, we could tell she was badly hurt. She was using her front legs to try to stand, but her hind legs did not seem to be helping. Again and again she yowled in pain. Neighbors poured from their homes to see what was causing the commotion. Lia just kept saying her name, “Ginger...Ginger...,” as the tears flowed down her cheeks and wet her shirt.

I looked around for the driver who had hit Ginger but saw no one. Then I looked up the hill that marked the line between city road and county road and saw a truck, towing a trailer, cresting the hill and accelerating past 55 mph. Even though our dog lay there in agony, my wife stood in shock, and my daughter cried piteously, I was consumed with confronting the person who had hit Ginger. “How could anyone do this and just drive off?!” I thought. “He was just coming around the curve...surely he saw her, surely he knew what happened!”

Abandoning my family in the midst of their pain and confusion, I jumped into my car and spun out of the driveway, leaving a plume of dust and gravel. Sixty, 75, 83 miles per hour along the gravel-and-dirt road in pursuit of the person who had hit Lia’s dog and left without so much as facing us. I was going so fast on the uncertain surface that my car began to feel as if it were floating tenuously above the ground. In that moment, I calmed myself enough to realize that if I were killed while driving, it would be even harder on Gail and Lia than Ginger’s having been hurt. I slowed down just enough to control my car as the distance between me and other driver closed.

Turning into his driveway and still not realizing I was after him, the man stepped from his truck in a torn shirt and oily jeans. I skidded in behind him and jumped from my car, screaming, “You hit my dog!!!” The man turned and looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. With blood raging in my ears, I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly when he said, “I know I hit your dog...What are you going to do about it?” After regaining my connection with reality, I shot back, “WHAT?!? What did you say?!” He smiled as if he were correcting an errant child and then said again, in slow, deliberate words, “I know I hit your dog...Exactly what are you going to do about it?”

I was blind with rage. In my mind I kept seeing Lia in my rearview mirror standing over Ginger and crying. “Put up your hands,” I yelled. “What?” he said. “Put up your hands,” I said again. “Defend yourself...I’m going to kill you!”

A few moments before, reason had kept me from killing myself while driving in a white–hot rage to find this guy. Now his dismissive and cavalier comment about having painfully wounded a pet I dearly loved had vanquished all reason. I had never been in a fight in my adult life. I didn’t believe in fighting. I wasn’t sure I knew how to fight. But I wanted to beat this man to death. In that moment, I didn’t care if I ended up in prison.

“I ain’t gonna fight you,” he said. “And if you hit me, it’s assault, mister.” My arms raised, my fists clinched tight as diamonds, I stood there dumbfounded. “Fight me!” I said. “No, sir,” he said, smiling through his remaining teeth, “I ain’t gonna do no such thing.” He turned his back and slowly walked away. I stood there shaking, anger poisoning my blood.

I don’t remember driving back to my family. I don’t remember lifting Ginger up and taking her to the vet. I do remember the way she smelled the last time I held her and the way she whimpered softly as the vet’s needle ended her suffering. “How could a person do such a thing?” I asked myself repeatedly.

Days later, the man’s jagged smile still haunted me as I tried to sleep. His “What are you going to do about it?” rang in my ears. I visualized exactly what I would have done to him had we fought. In my visions I was a superhero destroying ...

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