This weekend I was fortunate to meet and listen to Will Bowen, the best selling author most widely known for his Complaint Free World book and its accompanying challenge. The Complaint Free World challenge is to simply go 21-consecutive days without complaining. Sounds easy right? That is until you realize just how damn hard it is. (I just complained!)
As a queue to help you remember not to complain and to track your progress, Will includes purple rubber bracelets you wear daily on your wrist. Whenever you complain you switch the bracelet to the other wrist and reset your clock. Day 1 begins each time you switch wrists. This process repeats until you go 21-days without complaining, thus keeping the bracelet on the same wrist for that length of time.
Bowen says it can take between 4-8 months to make actually make it through 21- no complaint days. What makes the challenge difficult is that we often do not even realize how habitual our complaining is, so the first step is to become aware of our thoughts and then we can make adjustments. Bowen went on to stress that life unfolds day by day and is cumulative. That is, the little things we do each day add up to determine the body of work we create.
This is where the world’s largest ball of paint comes in.
Bowen shared the story of how he and his daughter went on vacation touring obscure sites throughout the Midwest. Part of their journey brought them to Alexandria, Indiana, which is home to a giant ball of paint that is over 14 feet in circumference and weighs over 2.5 tons.
What is remarkable is this present day paint planet started out as an ordinary baseball, which has a circumference of 9-9.25 inches and weighs between 5-5.25 ounces. (32,000 ounces is equal to 1-ton) Each day since January 1, 1977 the ball’s owner has had a single layer of paint applied on it. According to the Dampney Engineered coatings company, a single coat of paint has a theoretical thickness of 1 mil (.001inch). So for the past 14,123 days the ball has been growing through having a fresh coat of paint applied to it. While each day the addition of a new coat may not seem to be much, over time this cumulative addition is quite profound.
As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day.”
Now back to what we are building each day with our lives.
Eliminating complaining for 21-days is a challenging experiment, but one that can dramatically improve your life and the lives of those around you. Imagine what we could build with our lives if we kept complaint free for our remaining days.
A Complaint Free World http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/
World’s Largest Ball of Paint http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/9792
Baseball (ball) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_(ball)