My self-imposed 21-Day challenge! DAY 1.

Yesterday I got a taxi (I had just collected my cat from the vet), as I climbed into the taxi, the driver let out a sigh (that sounded somewhat disapproving). Straight away I got on the defensive and was going to make a formal complaint to the taxi company about the driver’s poor attitude. Heck! Right in front of me, on the dash board, was the number I could ring to make the complaint! The stars must of all been aligned for me to experience such a fortuitous event!

As we headed away, the taxi driver and I started talking and she turned out to be a nice person (she even discounted the fare for me for no reason). That’s when I got to thinking about my reaction to her first reaction. Funny how we can set each other off isn’t it?

When I returned to work, I mentioned to my colleagues about how I was going to make a complaint about the driver, but then how I changed my mind. It was one of my colleagues that mentioned about a challenge she had done (she had mentioned it to me before). It sounds simple enough:

Stop complaining for 21 days. At the beginning wear a bracelet, or something similar, around your wrist and try and keep it on the same wrist. If you complain, then you have to put the bracelet on the opposite wrist and start the 21 days all over again!

So, in light of my “taxi incident”, I thought I would take up the challenge. I am going to keep you all updated as to my progress as I face the next 21 days without trying to complain. I  like to call it my “Anti-Complaining Campaign” (or ACC for short!)

DAY 1: Seems easy enough!

This morning I wake up with a focus: I will not complain today!! I have my band around my left wrist.

But I have to find out what is actually meant by complaining? How is complaining defined. If you look up the dictionary definitions, you’ll find that it might be easier just to keep your mouth shut all day and not say anything to anyone!! I needed a more concrete example, something that sets off alarm bells in my head “You are about to complain!! Stop!!”

So how do I define complaining for this challenge? I asked the guys at work and we settled on the understanding that it is anything that is deemed to be whinging, whining or just “letting of steam” (e.g. I so hate the way that Eric keeps being let off the hook. It’s like nothing sticks to him. And he’s so smug!!“; “I woke up this morning and my husband was in the foulest mood. I gave him a good breakfast and he didn’t even say thank-you! Some days I don’t know why I bother!“; “OMG!! Does anyone know how to replace the paper in the printer when they realise it has run out! What a pack of losers I am surrounded with!) Any of these sound familiar?

So…how did I go on my first day?

To be honest with you all, it’s hard work! You become so conscious of your thoughts and you have to stop them before they just blurt out your mouth!!

This afternoon, I felt the strong urge to complain. My mind was going “Just a little complaint. You’ve been good all day, holding back and not saying anything. Just a small whinge.  It can be about the way the stapler is sitting. Look at it, it’s all crooked!!” I fought back! “No!!”

I thought about how complaining makes you feel. It makes you feel good, I just wanted to let it all out in a flood. Just release it in a torrent…let the negativity flow out and you’ll feel good! And you do feel good after a good whinge. That’s the interesting part. Complaining is so egotistical. It’s all about you!! It makes you feel worthwhile in a sense. You are justifying things. You feel better because you think “I’m not like that person.” “I don’t like the way you have just treated me!” Your ego has just been massaged, especially when others get involved in your complaining session! Nothing like having other people justifying your justification! You’re righteous and those that disagree are to be condemned.

So Day 1 is complete. Success!! No complaining today. 🙂 BRING ON DAY 2!

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Control Yourself!!

Do you make decisions for yourself, or do you allow other people to make up your mind for you?

Some people find it easier and more comfortable if they have other people make decisions for them. It may not be their fault. They probably grew up in an environment with domineering parents. These people may of made decisions as children, only to find they may of failed and then been ridiculed and put down as a result of the failure. From this it is easier to: let other people tell you what to do, and who to be; to let people make decisions and do things for you, after all you don’t want to look stupid, you don’t want to be ridiculed. You want to be liked and accepted, even if this means going with the flow.

The sad thing about this is that you are not being who you are meant to be! You are being who others want you to be. You are allowing others to decide where your life is meant to be heading. You are being controlled, whether you know it or not, by others. You may not agree with the decision someone has made, but you are too scared to voice your opinion. You do not want to rock the boat. The result? Someone got what they wanted. Guess what? It wasn’t you!

It can be difficult for to change. After all you have allowed people to think and decide for you all your life. I know of one individual who has gone from one relationship to another, just so that she does not have to make her own decisions. When she had the chance to become independent, she got worried and had complete lack of faith in her own ability to make decisions for herself. After all, she always had men make decisions for her, pay bills for her. The good news is that, in the time she was independent, she found out that she could actually take care of herself. For the first time in her life, she could sit down and think for herself too. She had the chance to reflect where she was in life, what she wanted out of life, and what she needed to do to get it.

That is what you need to do too. It is time to take charge of your life! Take control!! If you have never done it before, it can be hard, intimidating and scary. So, do it in tiny steps. Make a small decision, then another one, when you are used doing that. Reflect back on how far you have come! Look at the confidence you have gained! Time to start making bigger decisions. Sit down and write out goals you want to achieve in life. Then decide to go for it! Guess what? You have just taken control of your life!! Congratulations!!

What if you make the wrong decision and fail? I used to beat myself up for making mistakes. There would be a voice that would whisper “You are just so useless. Why even bother trying anymore, you are just going to fail again. Give up!” But then one day I argued with that voice. It is that voice that kept me where I was at. It was a voice I had heard all my life, but one day I told it to “Shut up!” I can achieve what I set out to do. If I fail, well, at least I tried. And I will try again and again until I get there. 

Accept that failure is a part of life. It is a learning process. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Find people who believe in you and will encourage you. Do not be surprised if some of your friends get a shock when you say “No. I want to do it this way.” , “No. I have decided that I am going to achieve this…” You will find that people will respect you. Which will actually increase your self-esteem and add to your new-found confidence. Other people may be intimidated by you, but that is okay, That is their issue to deal with, not yours.

It’s time to stop pleasing others and begin to get that life you have always dreamed of. Go for it!!

Are you a floating Island?

Some peoople just cruise through life without any sense of purpose or direction. After all “Que Sera Sera”, right? Whatever will be will be…no point making plans they never work out anyway!

These people are always blown about by the whims and wishes of other people. Their direction is determined by the winds of those around them. They are blown about, directionless, like floating island. Does that sound like you? Are you always ready to succumb to the wishes and desires of those around you? Is your life’s direction determined by others rather than by you?

These floating islands are full of the junk that is blown and deposited on them by life and those around them. They might bump into another “floating island” and there might be an exchange:

“Oh you have no idea how terrible my life is. The kids are uncontrollable, the husband is so irritable lately.”

“You think you’ve got it bad? My dog needs to be put down tomorrow. My arthritic knee is playing up somewhat terribly. And I’m sure that this economy is heading down the drain!”

What has happened? Two islands have collided and swapped junk! One might take on more junk than it has given out. The result? A heavier load for that island to bear. It begins to sink beneath the waves of negativity and turmoil that pushes it about aimlessly in the sea of life.

Is there any hope for these floating islands?

There is! It requires the island to be anchored securely. Once it has been, it is no longer at the whims of the tides of negativity. It can resist the push and pull that has caused it to previously float aimlessy and directionless through life.

How does one become an anchored island?

First, realise that you have been floating through life, pushed and pulled by the wishes and desires of those around you. It’s time to stop and focus on yourself and on your life. The anchor has just been lowered and secured!!

Second, map out where you want to be in life. Chart out a course that embraces your hopes, dreams, goals, and wishes. Where do you want to be in your life? What do you want to achieve?

Third, remove all the junk that has weighed you down beneath the sea of life. Remove the negativity, the fears, the lack of self-belief, the mediocrity.

Fourth, with your course charted in life. Pull up the anchor and go for it!

You will be tossed and turned by the storms of life, but that’s when you need to refocus on where you are heading. Forget about the buffeting, forget about the negativity, just keep your sites fixed on the shores of your hopes and dreams.

Eventually you will be shouting “Land ahoy!” Congratulations your island has made it to the land of your dreams!