Stories - Complaint Free Individuals

a Contact Name: C. Palmer
Location: Monterrey, NV Mexico
Category: Complaint Free School

In 2006, myself and some friends had an idea in which we could organize a seminar/congress, in which teenagers could live a new experience for 3 days that would hopefully help them take initiative to make a positive chance in their life, and the life of those who surround them. L.I.F.E. is a new concept in Monterrey, Mexico, that has made it possible for more than 2,000 students in almost 2 years, to live the experience and start making a difference. It is amazing to see how L.I.F.E. has not only changed our lives, but also to see how it has gone far away from what we ever thought. In L.I.F.E. we believe in our society, we believe in our people, but most important we believe in ourselves, and know that there is a way to make a positive change in our world.

The first one was with university students last April. We had approximately 200 students at a conference, which summarized all their work for community service during their semester. They had a reflection session about their work, and they all had a chance to present their biggest achievements and concerns about their approaches with our community. During the session, many students talked about how difficult it is to deal with situations of social awareness, especially with young students (grades 3-6). It was interesting to hear them, cause when they were all done, the L.I.F.E. staff stood-up, and we began with our “Complaint Free World” activities, we have designed a series of conferences and workshops that really put the audience into a serious and reflection mood, in which they allow themselves to truly analyze what matters, and what doesn’t matter regarding complaints.

Our second BIG event was this summer, at our L.I.F.E. national congress. 140 students + 60 staff member from all around Mexico came to Monterrey for their staff-training week. When these students go back home, they get to do the L.I.F.E. congress at their school, at its best. The workshop we designed at L.I.F.E., for the “A Complaint Free World” campaign, was created intentionally to give students the opportunity to think about our complaints and how many of them could be stopped, and which are absolutely necessary. Many students felt motivated to change, and become better persons.

a Contact Name: C. Palmer
Location: Depoe Bay, OR USA
Category: Complaint Free Organization

The Just Wait Teens™ requested that the Depoe Bay City Council pass a resolution declaring that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving be a day of gratitude, giving complaint free bracelets to merchants, town’s people, and friends for them to wear on Complaint Free Wednesday. Depoe Bay is a nicer place to live now. They are requesting another resolution this year.

Our program offers teenagers who participate in the Just Wait’s drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention program a one-year guaranteed college scholarship at a community college or $1000. One of the requirements that the teenager HAS to accomplish is to wear a Complaint Free Bracelet for 21 days without complaining. The bracelet is one of more than 48 experiences which the Just Wait Teens™ practice during their 4 year Positive Youth Development Program.

For more information on Just Wait Teens™ you can reach them at or or our web site featuring Will Bowen at:

a Contact Name: R. Olson
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
Category: Complaint Free Individual

So what did I learn from taking on the 21-day complaint free challenge? I felt very optimistic on day one and took the challenge home to my family. My wife and older boys accepted the challenge with optimism and we were on our way! It just so happened, that within a couple of days of starting the challenge, my family and I moved into a new house. If anyone has ever experienced a full move with 4 boys (2 of them are twins at the age of 3), then they would know how frustrating things can get. I must have changed my bracelet at least 17 times a day. This was good for me because it allowed me to experience just how difficult it was to control my emotions. I had entered the conscience incompetence stage and for several days, it felt I would never advance to the next stage. There were a few days in between that I forgot to wear my bracelet and I found myself tempted to let go of the challenge because it was too difficult. Thanks to my family and our weekly sociology class, I was reminded of the importance of pressing forward.

After settling in our new house, our family came together and recommitted ourselves to the challenge. We began sharing experiences at the dinner table where each of us would talk about our failures and successes with the challenge, then we would offer ideas on how to improve. We felt a sense of togetherness and as we worked together in establishing a complaint free family, there was an increased sense of caring, happiness and peace within our home. This added new insight to my understanding of parenting. I was raised to believe that a certain type of discipline was the only way to mold a child (such as spanking, or yelling). Applying a complaint free environment has shown my wife and I that our children will respond differently to a positive tone in our voice. They don't become defensive as they normally do when we raise our voice and speak in a negative, complaining tone. This has created a dramatic change in our communication with the children.

My testimony of this experience is that we can lead happier lives with our families as we strive to complain less and focus on being positive. The bonds we have in our family relationships will be strengthened and we’ll feel an increased love for our spouses, children and siblings. As we strengthen our families, we will strengthen the values that we live for and the society we are a part of. This world will indeed be a better place as we strive to make it complaint free. I invite everyone to ponder the message and the testimonies of those striving to live a complaint free life.

a Contact Name: Alden C.
Location: Houston, TX USA
Category: Complaint Free Organization

I can pretty much guarantee that almost every salon across this planet is known for the employee break room, as the den of inequity. It is the spot where they gather and complain, complain, complain. On New Years Eve 2007, I went up to the salon and painted the break room purple and stenciled "A Complaint Free World" on the wall. As each employee arrived on January 2nd I gave them the CD, book and bracelet. I told them to listen, read what they could and showed them the chart I made with everyone's name on it and counting the 21 days. I then let them know there would be a reward for everyone that finished the 21 days.

The first week was fun for everyone. The second week I panicked! By Wednesday three people quit, saying. "If you are not going to confront the problems in the salon then we don't not want to work here any more", I held the door open as I escorted them out. I spent some in prayer and meditation that night, making sure I was doing the right thing. The 3 that quit were my 3 biggest complainers. The response from the rest of the staff was "Thank God their gone, they were always so negative". I have since replaced the 3 that left. The interview process always begins in the break room, showing off the wall and telling them this is a Complaint Free salon. The 3 new replacements produce twice the income as the ones that left.

Well, it's been over a year now and everyone made it to the finish line. Every now and then I see a few people wearing their bracelets; they inform me they needed a reminder. I get pulled aside by customers all the time telling me how much they love the energy in the salon, that while it's a beautiful salon, it's the people that work here that make it really beautiful.

a Contact Name: Stephanie A.
Location: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Canada
Category: Complaint Free School

In January of 2009, I extended an invitation to my grade 4/5 students of Crichton Park School, to embrace “A Complaint Free World” and its 21-day challenge. They enthusiastically accepted and set out with determination and a sense of adventure. A remarkable journey ensued with the theme taking on a life of its own, producing positive change and invaluable accomplishments.

Out of a class of twenty students, seven achieved the 21-day challenge within six months! Also, in conjunction with the class's involvement in the “Entrepreneurial Adventure Program”, the students created a book of poems inspired by the principles of Will Bowen's “A Complaint Free World” titled, Poems to Inspire Your Spirit. In addition, the students and I established a connection with the local Chapters Bookstore as a means of launching the book to a market beyond the school community. Proceeds from the book sales were donated equally to “A Complaint Free World” and “CdPeace”. In June, the class was honored with the BMO National Innovation Award for outstanding achievement..

“A Complaint Free World's 21-day Challenge” is a fun, meaningful, socially conscious and rewarding way to inspire students to create positive change in the world.

hamilton Contact Name: David H.
Location: United Kingdom
Category: Complaint Free Individual

Dr. David R. H.
Author of It's The Thought That Counts: Why Mind Over Matter Really Works

As a speaker in the self-help field, I thought the 21-day challenge would be simple. Actually, it was more challenging than I thought. I quickly realized that I had a habit of pointing out to others when they complained.

After a few weeks of repeatedly having to go back to day one, my partner, Elizabeth, decided to try too (I think, seeing my rather fruitless attempt, she reckoned she could get to 21 days before me). As the days went on, I had begun to notice that Elizabeth didn’t always notice when she complained. To be really honest, it was hard for me not to say anything. I guess, with hindsight, I could have found a positive way of saying it. But I was reluctant unless it was seen as a complaint.

After I had gone 17 days, we were watching a Saturday night TV show (Britain’s Got Talent), and Elizabeth made a comment about one of the acts. I thought it was an unfair judgment (she said it was an observation) and I pointed this out. But recognizing my emotional charge, Elizabeth correctly pointed out that I’d just did the same to her. So I had to go right back to day one again. Aaarrrrrgghhh.

Anyway, I went 21 days straight shortly after that. One thing I noticed right away was that I felt really good. It’s funny, but people don’t realize how bad complaining makes them feel and how good being kind makes ‘them feel. The 21-day challenge can be life changing for people.

I also noticed that people around me were happier too. One surprising observation I made was that there were certain people around whom I did my occasional little bits of complaining. I had in mind that they enjoyed having a moan. Actually, when I stopped complaining around them, they seemed to be much happier. This was a major lesson for me.

It’s not so much the effect on you when you go complaint-free. It has a huge impact upon those around you too. If you want to change the world in some way, change yourself. Then the world will be happier!

alves Name: Ashleigh A.
Location: South Africa
Category: Complaint Free Individual

I think the concept is incredible and wonderful and love to be part of sharing it and spreading it throughout the country and the world.

South Africa is full of people who are complaining about the economic recession, the country's political problems, the crime in the country, apartheid, poverty, beggars, corruption, public services, taxis, traffic, water, housing, etc etc etc, all the things they cannot really change on their own (are not sure who can change it), but I believe if we can change the attitude of the people in this country there would be a major shift, a massive one, and could possible start to help some of the problems in this country, never mind make it a happier place to live.

westlie Name: John W.
Location: United States
Category: Complaint Free Individual

My experience yesterday:

I had to have a fairly extensive dental procedure (removal of existing crown, remove decay very close to bone, prepare for new crown). I went to the dentist determined that (1) at the end of the day I would have nothing to complain about; (2) I would use this as an opportunity to practice relaxing all my muscles and focusing on my breathing.

Result: No pain during the procedure, just awareness that there was drilling, poking and prodding going on in my mouth. No pain afterwards. The procedure came off flawlessly according to the dentist. End of the day: nothing to complain about.

What is the cause? It might just be skillful dentisty and good anesthesia. But it also might be the reframing of my consciousness that has resulted from wearing the bracelet and thinking in terms of living without complaint.

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