Helpful wisdom, compassion and care for you

A Complaint Free World

A Complaint Free World - Love Jo by Jo Cooper

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it,  change your attitude. Don’t complain.
— Maya Angelou

Have you heard of the Complaint Free challenge?

A minister named Will Bowen started this in 2006. He was teaching a class in prosperity and offered his students purple bracelets (you can buy them here or use a rubberband) and a challenge: go 21 days without complaining.

Will Bowen’s vision is to inspire 1% of the world’s population to try the No Complaint Challenge.

The current world population is 7 billion people. 1% of 7 billion is, of course, 700,000,000, which Will thinks will be sufficient to shift the balance to… positive. We could use more positivity, right?

To date, complaint free bracelets have been distributed in 207 countries to an estimated 11 million people — individuals, schools, corporations and places of worship.

It’s a start.

The rules are simple:

  • Switch your bracelet to the other wrist with every spoken complaint. Only when you complain, criticize, gossip, or say something sarcastic aloud. It’s ok to state a fact, such as “A mosquito just bit me,” vs. “Why am I always the one being bitten by mosquitos?”
  • Always know what day you’re on. If you don’t know, you’re not taking it seriously.
  • Don’t be a bracelet cop. If you are doing the challenge with friends or classmates, don’t monitor their actions; monitor your own!
  • Switch your bracelet with every complaint. It’s easy to think, well maybe I don’t have to switch it for that one… Get used to switching it. The average person complains 15 – 30 times a day.

(From Will Bowen, A Complaint Free World, Three Rivers Press, c 2007, 2013)

If you’re like most people, you might be on day 1 for a couple of weeks, and after finally reaching day 2, slip back to day 1 the next day! It can take months to reach 21 complaint-free days. Yikes! It’s truly a challenge. But you’ll be rewiring your brain for positivity rather than negativity, improving your own life and the lives of those around you. Well worth it!

I strongly encourage you to purchase the book or borrow it from your public library. There are so many interesting details to support your success with the challenge.

Here’s Maya Angelou talking about her vision of a complaint-free world. She calls it, “The beginning of paradise.”

Want to try the challenge? I have 7 bracelets left from the 10-pack I ordered and I’ll be happy to mail them to the first 7 people who email me. I’m ready to try again (my second time) and I would love some company 🙂


No one wants to suffer


What do you do for fun?


  1. tanmeet

    I am up for the challenge Jo! I love this rewiring, it is so necessary!

    • Jo

      Yay!!! I welcome your company, Tanmeet! Email me your snail mail address and I’ll pop a bracelet in the mail for you 🙂 xoxo

  2. Hello Jo! I have done the complaint free world challenge a few times. It is an amazing experience to understand how complaints are insidious in our thoughts. I think it took me a few months to get through the 21-day challenge.

    I am willing to monitor my thoughts to have a complaint free life! I’ll have look in my jewelry box and dust off my purple band!

  3. Jo

    Update: After a week of doing the 21-day challenge, I am on Day 1! I made it to Day 2 twice, and am finding I complain to myself! When weeding the garden on Sunday, I fell forward onto the muddy earth. “Shoot!” I exclaimed aloud, and quickly switched my wrist band. I’m certain I wouldn’t have even noticed without the challenge. Interesting!

    How are you doing?

  4. Jo

    Update: I’m done! I started on April 17th; it took me a few weeks to get really steady with it; and I finished the 21 days on May 16. This was my second time, which made all the difference! I think once you’ve done it, you never entirely lose site of it — you have an enhanced awareness of when you complain. Even though you are no longer transferring your bracelet from one wrist to the other, you think, how could I have done that differently? Next time maybe you give yourself a little more space before you react. And if you don’t, you learn from it!

    How about you? Are you trying it? Do you want to?

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