30-Day Minimalism Challenge // Day 4: No Complaining

Throughout the month of January, I am doing a 30-day minimalism challenge in an attempt to start the year off fresh by practicing mindfulness, learning to enjoy solitude, and embracing simplicity. Feel free to join in if you want, I posted an image with all the challenges for you at the bottom of this post for reference.

Minimalism and Zen go hand in hand. Minimalism is about not making life too cluttered, nor too busy. Minimalism is about not being wasteful. It’s about figuring out what true happiness is, not what advertising tells you it is. Anything that is unnecessary is wasteful, and in a world where the trash is piling up and none of us is any better for it, maybe it’s time to try a new way.

I’m starting with doing 30 days, just to give it a try. What I like, I’ll keep, what I don’t, I’ll toss.

No-complaint day

Complaining is never productive and a catalyst for negative thought patterns. Challenge yourself to not complain about small stuff today. Either accept the situation and move on, or find a solution.

Yesterday’s task was to have a whole day of no complaints. I really did do my best but I won’t say that I did it 100%. I do think I did pretty good, especially considering it was the first day back to work after a break from my usual routine. Some of my major complaints were:

Having to get up early to go to work. This is my #1 complaint Monday thru Friday. I am not at all a morning person and I don’t think I ever really will be. Having to get up before I am ready is guaranteed to put me in a bad mood.

I have been working on this one for years and honestly it might just be something I deal with for as long as I continue to work a job that requires me to get up early. What I can do is learn not to let this complaint go ruin my mood and morning. I have resolved to keep this negativity to myself and to do my best to steer myself toward positive thoughts as the morning goes on.

Having to be at work at all. Everyone I know hates their job so I thought it was normal for me to hate mine too. I get to the circle of complaints and I find myself joining in and encouraging others to see the place in a wholly negative way and to drag our feet and be miserable as a sign of solidarity. I hate when I get like that because a lot of the problems are exaggerated or even made up in our heads. We just can’t think rationally about it when we are in a group like that.

I mean, no, my day job isn’t my dream job but compared to the rest of the world’s income levels it does pay well and doesn’t require too much of me. I’ve worked here for almost 10 years and I am secure in the knowledge that I will have this job for as long as I want it. I work with my friends (and my girlfriend)  and I have earned respect from my peers and my bosses. Sounds like I have it pretty good, don’t I?

I try to remember that I have very little to complain about when it comes to my employment situation. That is usually enough to shame me into gratitude and a better outlook.

Work that requires me to do anything physical. I woke up yesterday morning knowing that the day was going to be an easy one. Schools weren’t going so all I was doing was going in to look busy (organizing files, filling out paperwork, walking around with a clipboard, that sort of thing) and only for a half a day. Yeah, turns out I was wrong about that.

When I came in I saw that “the guys” had started a project, organizing one of the sheds out back. The sheds are full of very dirty, very heavy, and very old equipment. Some of this stuff has been in there since before I started working here. I had to help out or else I would look really bad and I was pissed about it. I complained a lot!

But you know what, after all, that moving around, I felt pretty good. We had worked on a project that had been on our to-do list for a very long time. We had done work that no one else had wanted to do, and we did it well.

And finally, I’m tired. At the end of every day, I come home feeling drained. I really think it’s more of a mental exhaustion than a physical one and I truly believe it has a lot to do with my negativity and the negativity of those around me wearing me down.

When I get home I try my best to do something I really want to do, something that makes me happy. I try to make time for my girlfriend too. Time to talk with her and get my feelings off of my chest or maybe make her laugh if I can. I make an effort to play with the dog, the exercise gets my blood moving again and perks me up.

Sometimes I realize I’m not as tired as I thought, other times I ending going to bed early. Either way, I end the night happier than I would if I just complained the whole time.

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Complaining is not only a bad habit most of us have, it’s also one we encourage in others. I’m not talking about when we voice our fears or pains, I’m talking about when you are bringing yourself nd those around you down for no reason other than you’re grouchy.

Some complaints are important, valid, or address a really big issue and some complaints are just a bad habit reinforced by the connections we have built with others through shared negativity. There is a better way and life can be a little bit better when you remind yourself that things aren’t as bad as your mind makes them out to be.

Give a no-complaining day a try, decide to either fix what is upsetting you, or to accept it and move on. Maybe it will help, and maybe it won’t, but it will be a step toward figuring out what works for you.

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The idea for this challenge came from Into Mind. The rules for the challenge: Do one assignment every day, the order is your call. Don’t skip a day. That’s it.

30-Day Minimalism Challenge Calendar

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Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

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