Can You Commit?

On March 5, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan

“In every difficult situation is potential value. Believe this, then begin looking for it.”
-Norman Vincent Peale

Let’s face it: we all complain about life’s difficult situations. We complain about foul weather, misbehaving offspring, inattentive drivers, lines in stores, crying babies on airplanes, barking dogs, scratching cats, misplaced car keys, dirty dishes in sinks, towels on bathroom floors, leaky faucets, big bills, challenging coworkers, distracted significant others, ad nauseum. What, really, is the purpose of such complaining?

The ever-intuitive, always-motivated Beth has given the world a challenge. Here’s an excerpt of the challenge from her blog:
“…The quick explanation is that a pastor in Kansas City gave a challenge to his congregation—to go 21 days without complaining (the amount of time some say it takes to develop a new habit). What a great idea I thought! Not that I’m a huge complainer but I do complain and you can see how one little complaint turns into another into another and before you know it you’ve got one bad attitude on your hands…”

Beth started her 21-day challenge yesterday, and I’m starting my challenge today. Can you commit to 21 days of all positive energy? Leave a comment if you want to publicly commit to the challenge!

“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”


13 Responses to “Can You Commit?”

  1. JeffO says:

    I’m sick of the stupid political campaign.
    My back hurts.
    It’s too frickin’ cold!!!!
    I’m too busy.

    OK, now that’s off my chest, I’m ready, Meghan.
    21 hours, err, was that DAYS?!?! Wait – that’s not a complaint – just making sure.
    How hard can that be? nearly a 3rd of the time, we’re asleep anyways, so we only have a challenge 2/3 of the time, right?
    Time shoving food in our mouths or drinking beverages and not able to speak, listening to others so we can’t speak, singing in the shower,… By the time you get through figuring it out, we only have to be good half the time.
    I’m “N”.
    Oooe. I have a marathon during that time – in snow. That will be a challenge. Post-holing in wet snow that last 7 miles. But b y then I’ll be all practiced.

  2. Audrey says:


    I’m in. This will be SOOOOOOO hard. Thanks Meghan and Beth!!


  3. A says:

    I’m in! I love it. I’ve been trying to do this anyway, just to counteract the constant negative vibe that is emitted by my fellow college students; it was a real shock to me at first when I went back to school, but now it is less noticeable, which means…eeek…I’ve gotten used to it, which means… I need a boost like this to keep it on my mind! (Whoops, was that a complaint about the whiny college students these days? ha ha!) Okay, starting NOW. 🙂

    It is amazing how contagious negative energy is, so this is a great opportunity to explore the contagion of positive energy!

    Amazing how there are so many things to be grateful for, which get ignored because we’re so busy complaining about the rest. Selective focus! Can work wonders. 🙂 Here we go!


  4. Beth says:

    Yeah Meghan!! Good luck – we will hold each other accountable! It’s funny…I keep catching myself about to complain when I’m like “wait – can’t think that way!!” It works! 🙂 Have fun and have a great (non-complaining) day!

  5. chelle says:

    I’ve actually been doing this already, ever since I noticed how incredibly much my work colleagues complain. I’ve been very conscientious about this so far which has let to me being labeled a pollyanna more than once, but my boss also encouraged me to stay that way and not become jaded and bitter like him. I really do think a positive mind set helps make perceptions of everything more positive.

    Working in the news business I have so much negative energy placed before me each day, I think it’s really important to try and glean a bit of light wherever is possible in all that darkness. There’s just some days where that is more challenging than others!

  6. Meghan says:

    Lookit! It’s spreading! Nice job, y’all!

    JeffO, Audrey, Anne, Beth, and I are doing it. Chelle already has been.

    Who else is in?

  7. olga says:

    Awesome quote!!!

  8. Backofpack says:

    This is funny, I just read Sarah’s post (sarahspace) about trying to overlook the faults in others, or rather, to acknowledge them, but forgive them. My response fits here too:

    Meghan (crooked trails)just put up a post challenging us to not complain for a certain length of time (I can’t remember, can I complain here about my faulty memory?). Eric and I were talking about it last night. Our neighborhood is currently engaged in covenant wars and people are complaining left and right. I am feeling stress at work with several things going on. The question becomes, can I talk about the issues without complaining about the issues and/or those on the opposite side of the fence? I’m a talker, good, bad and ugly. How do I let the steam out without verbalizing it? I know, I know. Running – and it helps, but I can’t run every time I feel it building. Maybe if I could only complain to Eric, (not about him, but to him) that would work. But that might take a toll on our relationship. Yikes! It’s a hard one.

    I do know this though. To be happy or unhappy, angry or not, even stressed or not, is a choice. We can choose our reactions. Sometimes our bodies react before we can calm them (think blood pressure rises, tight chest, adreneline surge) but we can choose to pause and breathe, and choose another response. It is much easier said than done, but I always try!

    So, okay. I’m going to try not to complain. It’s gonna be hard, but hey, it’s worth a shot. Only one thing, can I have an exemption for, I dunno, let’s say miles 26-50 next Saturday? Because I really, really might need to whine a bit.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sign me up! “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” I’ll bet Spumoni and Inky Wu will want to do this, too.

  10. Danni says:

    I will do it. The hard part though is that most of my complaining is done exclusively in my head. I don’t complain to others as a rule. If I can stop the inner complaints I’ll be very impressed with myself.

  11. Carilyn says:


    Great blog! I love the challenge – 21 days – tough! Thanks for the inspiration!


  12. Meghan says:

    Happy weekending, all!

    Olga- Thanks!

    Michelle- I think it’s all about balance. We, of course, cannot proceed through life with nary a complaint! However, to be a perpetual complainer might leave us among the ranks of higher order pessimism. And, really, who needs to live like that?

    I think the point of this 21-day exercise is to train ourselves to think more positively, to cure us of our sometimes habit of automatic negative thinking, and to instead instill in us a new habit of automatic positivity. I’m all for making such a habit, and that’s why I’m playing along.

    I wish you well in your quest towards mucking through life’s stresses positively, including that all-important race coming up! We’re all on your side to support you, Michelle!

    Anonymous- I do wonder how the cats will play along. Let me know how it goes!

    Danni- Me too! I mull through a lot of thoughts in my head/in writing before I voice them to anyone. I think that type of complaining is fair game for this exercise. It’s all about adapting one’s life persepctive, regardless of the manner in which we express our perspective, to a more positive state of being. Good luck, we’ll be doing it together!

    Carilyn- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck to you should you take on the challenge!

  13. Anonymous says:

    hmm. love this text.

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