The ‘no complaint’ diet


I always try and be authentic on this blog. I try not to write about life improvements I haven’t personally tried. But like everyone else, I’m still keen to learn new things. So here goes.

I’ve recently started listening to James Altucher’s Ask Altucher podcast. James and his wife Claudia talk about going on a ‘no complaint’ diet.

What that means is, while you’re on the diet, you abstain from complaining for seven days. If you slip and start complaining you have to start again at day one, until you’ve gone seven consecutive days without complaining.

The thing is, it is really hard to avoid complaining all together. So it’s an alomost impossible task to complete. However, the purpose of the no complaint diet is to give you more energy and happiness because complaining is draining! Complaining delivers very few results most times but makes us feel drained emotionally.

Take yesterday for example. We have a franking machine at the office, that my little charity bought to save money on postage. When they were selling us the machine they told us we would save a lot of money on postage. However, what they didn’t tells us was they would charge us for all sorts of extras which means we aren’t saving much money at all.

Yesterday, they sent me an invoice for a service contract for £165. This was something we had never asked for. I called them to tell them to cancel the invoice. The man on the phone was apologetic that we had received a bill for something we didn’t want and agreed to cancel the bill.

That could have been the simple end of the story. But I went into complaint mode and told him how unhappy I was about all the previous hidden charges. He couldn’t really do anything about the past so he offered to put a message into the managing director’s office. A lady called and I complained again. She said she would see what they could do as we were a small charity. She phoned back and said she’d sent us an invoice for £135 and added a few extras to the service contract. Now I got angry and told her to stop sending invoices for things we’d never asked for. The conversation reached a stalemate as I began to sound like Basil Fawlty. I came off the phone frustrated and exhausted.

Here’s the thing. Had I been on a no complaint diet, I could have just called and cancelled the original mistake and got on with my day. The energy I expended on ranting about unfair charges – which produced nothing but a feeling of frustration – I could have used for something more positive.

Now, there are things wrong in the world. I remember the good old days when companies promised nothing and delivered that nothing with added poor service with a smile. We didn’t expect good service and we didn’t get it. Everyone was happy.

Today, all businesses promise the world and few deliver. The rule is over promise and under deliver – which always disappoints. There a few companies doing the better thing – under promise and over deliver. I find companies like Amazon often do that. The goods come sooner that promised and are sometimes better than described.

My point is that we may have to draw attention to a fault with a product but we don’t have to start the complaining rant. More importantly, some people we chat to during the week start complaining to us about another person, and want us to join in. That’s the moment to say, ‘I’m on a no complaining diet so I don’t want to comment.’ As we avoid complaining and make that a habit, we will free up more of our emotional energy for more constructive and creative things. Maybe we could encourage a friend, compliment a colleague or start a new hobby.

I’m going to give it a try. I’m not sure I’ll get through the day but I’m going to give it a try.

Like all new habits, the more we do it – the stronger we become in that area. To be accountable, I’m going to attempt to report back on how I did by next Friday. Why not join me and abstain from the complain for a week because complaining is draining!

‘Do everything without complaining.’  – St Paul


One comment

  1. Pingback: Update on the no complaint diet… | don egan

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