I am writing this from the airport in Detroit after a great 7 day cruise. I had an amazing time, but also am so pumped to get back and start teaching Fit Fun Bootcamps and Mamatone. I guess that is what happens when you love what you do. I will try to share more from the cruise along with videos and pictures another day, but today I wanted to talk about one small experience I had this past week.
Abby and I were visiting our last island and we were sitting in a tender boat. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a tender boat is a smaller boat that takes us from the big ship to the island. This occurs when the islands don’t have a large enough port for the ship.
This scenery was breathtaking, aqua blue water, blue skies, pristine white sandy beaches and 80 degree weather. Wow can life get any better?
We happened to be sitting near a woman in her 50’s who spent at least 80% of the 30 minutes we were on the boat complaining. She complained about EVERYTHING to those sitting around her that she just met. She complained about the food, the delay in the tender (which was due to the high waves), she complained about waiting for everyone else to get on the boat, and the list goes on and on. Her complaining soon rubbed off on the others around her and they started to chime in with complaints too!
I was mildly listening to their rants, but still looking around enjoying the amazing beauty and reflecting on the past 6 days of cruising. My girlfriend Abby has a little shorter fuse than I do, and after about 20 minutes yelled out, “Stop complaining already! How can you be complaining like this on vacation.”
I am sure you all know someone like this. Hopefully you aren’t good friends with someone like this, because you might be like them too J
This woman’s face looked liked it had a permanent scowl on it, you could tell her smile muscles and smile wrinkles weren’t being used very much.
Why do I share this story with you?
First, it once again shows how influenced we are by others. I have no idea if the other people that we were surrounded by, were naturally very negative; but once the one woman got going, the others chimed in, and she definitely encouraged it.
In the past week, how many conversations have you had with your closest 5 friends and family members that involved some sort of “health” talk? In other words, did you talk anything about eating healthy, exercising, or other positive healthy topics? If you couldn’t think of any, it might be a sign that you could find healthier friends to be around.
Second, life is too short to be around complainers. I would really hate to see this woman during the week at her job, or at home with her husband, who by the way, sat next to her the whole time with a scowl and didn’t say one word to her, nor her to him. Thankfully we get to choose most of those we get to be around (offices can be a different story) and we can find people who have a glass over flowing outlook on life.
A great example was at the conference I was at in DC last week. I was with about 500 business owners who use the internet to promote their business. This conference was very expensive to attend, so the caliper of success was already very high. The past 3 years have obviously been very challenging in the economy and business owners many times are hit hardest. Even though many were experiencing challenges in the every changing landscape of their business, I didn’t hear any complaining what-so-ever! They didn’t spend their time moaning about where the economy is currently; rather they spent time brainstorming ways to overcome the challenges and to succeed.
I have put this challenge out to you about a year ago, but my challenge is to try to commit to one week of no complaining. Since we all complain subconsciously, we need to be reminded when we accidently do it.
So tell those around you what you are doing and ask them to help monitor your words. Better yet, invite them to join you in the challenge. One strategy I have heard to work very well is to wear a thick rubber band around your wrist and whenever someone hears you complain they snap you with the rubber band. If you are alone and you catch yourself, you can snap it yourself.
Here is the founder of “A Complaint Free World”
Another effective strategy is if you complain you put a certain dollar amount in a jar, and when the week is up, you donate it to a charity that you don’t stand for. For example, if you are a union protester at the WI capitol, you could donate it to the Scott Walker fund. 🙂
In conclusion, getting rid of negativity will not only make you a happier person, it will help empower you. When you stop complaining and take responsibility, it will open up other options for yourself and different outcomes. This is something I struggle with daily, but with practice it will improve. We need to condition our subconscious minds to be more positive!