Today’s “3 Questions” reflection, as taught to me by my former boss:
1) What was your favorite part about today?
2) What was your least favorite part about today?
3) How did you help someone today?
Some of you may have seen on facebook last week that I’m “going complaint-free” with some LUCers…And the circle of those who’ve pledged to do the same has been expanding ever since I made the pledge on Friday. I now know that there are 30+ people on our campus who are working on not complaining for the next 21 days. Want to know why? Read the reflection that I wrote to propose it to some of the living learning community leaders. And feel free to join in on the fun…if you dare to change the world!
(Everyone is asked to pick up a rubber band from the middle of the table)
Last week, we started our focus on the power of one– one’s ability to become the catalyst for a world-wide change. And just as the enthusiasm and ingenuity of one person is highly contagious, so too is the negative energy and feelings of doubt that are all too prevalent in our communities and in our world.
Reflect for a moment on your day. What did you feel like when you first woke up? How did that affect the outlook you had on simple daily tasks, challenging assignments, and interactions with people around you? What about yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? If you’re like most people, the darkest and worst times in your life often correlate to the times when you were least receptive to good things and optimistic perspectives on life. Charles Swindoll is famous for saying that “we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
When we choose to face the world with a smile on our faces, the positive energy we put out comes back to us. We are able to magnetically attract others with inspirational thinking and motivation to take risks and sow reward. But if we put out negative actions and words, those will return to us with different consequences. What was the last thing you complained about? Was it worth complaining over? Was there another way you could have phrased it? More revolutionary, could you have used the time spent complaining to think of how to fix your worry?
The rubber band you hold in your hand is a common office item that is rarely thought of as significant and powerful. This seeming meaningless is what it has in common with our unconscious rattling on about things that we wish were different, or better, or more convenient. And one minister in Missouri discovered how powerful one band– and one less complaining person– really can be when he started A Complaint-Free World. Through A Complaint-Free World, more than SIX MILLION people have taken the challenge to become conscious of their unconstructive thoughts and then stop emitting them into the environments in which they work, play, and live.
The challenge: it takes 3 weeks to break a habit. If you choose to do your part in filling the world with more joy and hope, wear your rubber band on our wrist as a reminder of how powerful something so simple can be. Every time you complain, gossip, or whine, switch the rubber band to your other wrist. In doing this, you will become conscious of every negative thought– however little– that you release into the world. The less you say those things, the less you have to switch the band, and according to those who’ve succeeded in the twenty-one day endeavor, the less you start producing negative thoughts to begin with! Just thinking the thoughts does not require a band-swap, but if you remind one of your fellow challenge-takers to switch after one of their complaints, you’re whining about them not following the guidelines so you have to switch yours, too!
And this is how great the power of one really is: by making a commitment to ourselves about what we decide to think and express, we inherently make a decision about what role we will choose to adopt in our world. Because we are each individual parts of the greater society, our attitude change can only lift the entire community to which we belong one step higher, one level closer to unconditional love, hope, and companionship. As one person, we can cause a wave of optimism that builds momentum and surges with positivity and growth for the entire community.
The choice of wearing this rubber band is entirely yours, just like your ability to choose an attitude the moment you rise out of bed. What will you decide for yourself and your world?