The Complaint Free Company

April 17, 2009

By Matt Michel

Will Bowen is Lead Minister at Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Missouri.  He says people fail to achieve their desires because they focus on the opposite of what they want.

This isn’t a new revelation.  For decades, psychologist Denis Waitley has stressed that the mind is constantly drawn towards the currently dominant thought.  What is new and different is Bowen’s approach.  He set out to end complaints.

Bowen explained, “Our thoughts create our lives and our words indicate what we are thinking.  Scientists believe it takes 21 days to form a new habit and so I invited my congregation to become complaint-free by going 21 consecutive days without complaining.  I gave everyone a purple silicone bracelet and invited them to put it on either wrist.  When – not if – they caught themselves complaining, they were to move the bracelet to the other wrist and start the 21 days over.  Back and forth they were to switch the bracelet until they learned to no longer complain.  It was not an easy task.”

Bowen’s purple bracelets proved transformational.  It’s become a minor movement.  He’s had requests for 5.5 million purple bracelets from more than 80 stories.  The bracelets have been sent to virtually every type of organization.  Bowen’s been written about in more than 150 newspapers.  He’s been featured on “Oprah.”  He’s written a book, “A Complaint Free World, How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.”

It’s a simple idea.  Is it that powerful?  In a word, yes.

Athletic teams have taken Bowen’s challenge and turned losing seasons into winning ones.  Companies have turned their fortunes around.  Individuals have seen lives transformed and relationships improved.

“All of the successes have come about as a result of focusing on what works,” says Bowen, “Rather than griping about what is broken.”

If we’re honest, all of us will admit to complaining too much.  But what if we didn’t complain?  Think how better life would seem if we started focusing on what’s going right, rather than what’s going wrong.  Think how good it would be if those around us joined our effort. 

Personally, I would have more energy and more drive.  Complainers are psychic vampires, draining our energy, sucking the motivation out of us. 

Try Bowen’s challenge at home and with your entire company.  Focus on a complaint free company.

Bowen sells purple bracelets for $1 each at his website…

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2008 Matt Michel

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