A Complaint Free Rotary?

A Complaint Free Rotary

A new dimension of Service Above Self

“This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it”

“Perhaps dreaming is not so bad if one dreams good dreams and makes them come true.” 

– Paul Harris

“The quality of an organization can never exceed
the quality of the minds that make it up.”

– Harold R. McAlindon

Complaining is defined as expressing pain, grief, or discontent.  Chronic complaining might be considered ear pollution!  In a fun, yet challening way, it’s proposed that the Rotary Club of West Shreveport  support a global intiative to “reduce ear pollution” a.k.a. reduce the amount of complaining in the world, beginning on the local level.

What is complaining?  It’s observing something that displeases you and throwing energy (attention) at it.  Complaining is a way of expressing concern about something.  Ironically, like worry, the activity of complaining may increase the disagreeable situation or condition rather than reducing it.  How is that?

When we complain we focus attention on something we do not like.  The more we complain, the more focused the attention – which reveals even more of what we don’t like, leading to more complaints, and so on.   The power to change is within, not without.  That’s a principle sometimes difficult to understand and practice.   That’s where the purple bracelet comes in.

 Why “Complaint Free?”

 People think better and make better decisions when they feel good.   It’s not possible to complain and feel good at the same time.  Like laughter, feeling good can spread.

The fastest way to stop a complaint is replace it immediately with an appreciation.  Like tuning from an irritating radio station to one pleasing, the subtle negativity and conflict embedded in a complaint can be shifted to something feeling better.  There’s always something to be appreciated or grateful for.

The beneficiary of “complaint free” is the individual, not the “other.”

 Will Bowen is the Lead Minister of One Community Spiritual Center in Kansas City, Missouri. In July 2006 he suggested his congregation use purple bracelets to monitor their success at eradicating complaining from their lives. His idea exploded around the world and more than 6 million purple Complaint Free bracelets have been sent to people in over 106 countries.  There are complaint free businesses and organizations as well.  Do the math and you get an idea of the reduction in global complaining already!

 A Complaint Free Rotary doesn’t mean ignoring problems or “shutting up”

It ‘s a change in the way a person communicates with self and others about observations of fact.  Complaint Free develops a skill to speak directly and only to the person who can affect the change sought.  Our words indicate what we are thinking.

 It takes about 21 days to deliberately replace one habit with another. 

 There is a difference between a complaint and a fact

 Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right. And to refrain from complaining doesn’t necessarily mean putting up with bad quality of behavior. There is no ego in telling the waiter your soup is cold and needs to be heated up – if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral.

How dare you serve me cold soup?”

. . . That’s complaining.  – Eckert Tolle

Why complain?


 Get attention – making contact with someone else

Remove Responsibility – don’t expect me…

Inspire Envy – if they would do it MY way…

Power – support me

Excuse Poor Performance – don’t expect much from me

A Twitter note at Complaint Free World website:

 “ Whenever you have a fleeting thought or misdirected word, stop it midstream. Say to yourself, ‘that’s not like me,’ and most often, think/say the opposite. (and why should we do this?) Because deep down inside of us all, we really care. We want this world to be a better place.”

 If someone sees something around them that they don’t like and complain it’s because they perceive that it cheats them of something.

 “My life would be better if _________” (fill in the blank)

If the _______ involves waiting for another person to change their nature or the environment to change, in order to feel better, then it’s going to be a long wait.

What can be done is observing facts but not personalize them.  It’s difficult to complain and feel good at the same time.  Basic question:  Do you want to feel good?

Do you want others to feel good?

Isn’t that the basis of Service Above Self?


Rotary Club of West Shreveport – The little club that can


  • West Shreveport Rotary endorses the concepts of the Complaint Free World effort – Reduce Ear Pollution
  • For club purposes, add a parenthetical statement to the Four Way Test :  Will I do it without complaining?
  •  Encourage the Complaint Free experiment (21 days without complaining) to our Interact and supply them with purple bracelets 
  • Strive to make each meeting complaint-free


The Four Way Test

of the things we think, say and do:

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? 

(Will I do it without complaining?) 


More George here.

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