The Metacognitive Anti-Complaint Campaign

Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister recognized that word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions.designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge: go 21 days without complaining.


Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day 0. It was simple but effective metacognitive awareness training.
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Here are a few of the changes I noticed then and am noticing again now:

1) My lazier thinking evolved from counterproductive commiserating to reflexive systems thinking. Each description of a problem forced me to ask and answer: What policy can I create to avoid this in the future?

2) I was able to turn off negative events—because the tentative solution had be offered—instead of giving them indefinite mental shelf-life (and “open loop” in GTD parlance), resulting in better sleep and more pleasant conversations with both friends and business partners.

3) People want to be around action-oriented problem solvers. Training yourself to offer solutions on-the-spot attracts people and resources.