An Experiment That Can Change Your Whole Life

“Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, in fearing future.”- Antoine Rivarol

Stop Complaining Start Living

Today I would like to encourage you to try an experiment, that if done sincerely can have a profound effect on your life. The experiment is this, for one whole day, don’t complain. That’s it, just try your best to not complain about anything, no matter how big or small it may be. What this will show you is that complaining is all many of us ever do. It’s extremely difficult, an almost impossible task, trust me, I know, this is something I am always working on.

People complain so much, that most don’t even notice it anymore, it has become an unconscious habit. In time, many people will derive their sense of self from it. I am sure you know someone in your life, that if all of a sudden they quit complaining, you would not recognize them anymore. At a deep level we receive pleasure from complaining about anything. We don’t see nothing wrong with complaining, we think it’s natural. We love complaining, because without out it many of us would have nothing to talk about. So given the choice people would rather complain than keep quite.

You may say that you have a right to complain, that the world is a terrible place, that terrible things have happened to you. One of the problems with complaining is that it keeps you from seeing that ultimately you are the cause to how you feel. Outside circumstances simply provide situations for us to show our true colors. We can either respond in a conscious manner or react unconsciously. Responding you are in control, reacting you are a slave. It’s  easy to complain and we do it so that we don’t have to take responsibility for our state of being.

If you really try this experiment, it will help you learn to observe yourself in a proper way. Everyone knows it’s easy to observe others, but it is extremely difficult to observe oneself. When we observe others we are impartial, we can observe their behaviors objectively. To get a more objective look at yourself you will need to understand how your mind works.

Why Can’t We Stop Complaining

For you not to complain, you will have to remain alert to whatever is going on inside you. Before you speak you need to become aware of your thoughts, if you have nothing good or neutral to say, then don’t say it. Just be a witness to your internal world, be like a watcher on the hills, passive yet alert. Whatever thoughts you see, don’t judge them in any way, don’t analyze them, don’t get attached. This will be extremely hard, because that’s all our minds do, they are constantly judging and comparing whatever impressions we receive from the outside world.

If you are able to keep a distance, to just simply observe your thoughts, you will discover how your mind wants to label everything it comes in contact with immediately. If you label something as bad, as something that you don’t like, your mind has already started to complain. You then give into this train of thought and start to imagine a million and one things that end up draining you. You don’t see things as they are, you distort reality.

What this experiment will also show you, is that changing is incredibly hard. You will realize how unconscious you normally are to your thought process, how identified you are too it, that you are a slave to it’s tendencies. By not complaining you will see how much it actually is a part of your life, how you live a life of reaction.

Don’t Take Things Too Seriously

If you usually get irritated at the grocery checkout counter when the person ahead of you is going slow , just observe your usual reactions, don’t get involved, remain aloof. You may see that by remaining inwardly distant your negative emotions that started to take hold of you have now subsided. Negative emotions are immensely draining, positive emotions are uplifting. Next time you and your friends are gossiping try to withhold your criticism, see how difficult it really is. What did you observe by not getting involved?

The problem with complaining is that it wastes all your vital energy. To change your deeply ingrained behaviors you need all the energy you can get. When you learn to complain less, you will then conserve energy, this energy can then be channeled into your transformation, into constructive pursuits. Don’t express nor suppress negativity, just become aware of it, bring it to the light of your consciousness.

Throughout the ages, great teachers such as Jesus have insisted that you must awaken from your slumber. This experiment will help you realize that even while awake, we are still asleep, a majority of our day is spent unconsciously, inattentively. This is a huge realization, because the first step in waking up is realizing your asleep in the first place. Everyone thinks they are already awake, so they will never attempt to become conscious beings.

If you point out that they are asleep, they will be offended, they will not understand what you are talking about. But once you learn to just “see”, without having your mind’s constant chatter interfere with the act of seeing, you will clearly see how most people spend their day’s lost in thought, thus disconnected from reality. Meditation is your key to raising your awareness and becoming a “seer”. If you infuse your life with awareness, it will allow you to see things before they manifest. Remember, if you can “see” it you don’t have to “be” it. If you see yourself becoming identified to thoughts of jealousy, you can consciously decide to not get involved.

If you really try this experiment, you are just learning to be more mindful. This one day experiment should be done daily, because you will see that the first time you try it, you will fail miserably, you will forget. This is ok, we are human, we need to take baby steps. Don’t give up, we need to see something a thousand times before we realize the impact it is having on our lives. Each time you succeed in not complaining, you will be raising your level of awareness, that in time you can develop a permanent attitude that will help you transcend your old tendencies. This will lead to increased clarity of oneself and the world. You will begin to experience many sublime moments of peace and calmness.

I am not saying that there aren’t problems, that we should ignore them, but that we need to learn to see things as they truly are and use our energy to respond to life’s challenges in the most intelligent way possible. Complaining doesn’t solve any of our problems, it only serves to exacerbate them, we fail to take meaningful actions. It keeps us from growing and enjoying life.

If you try this experiment, I would love to hear what your experience is like. Email me or leave a comment below.

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(editors note: Originally posted in July 2011)

47 Responses to An Experiment That Can Change Your Whole Life

  1. Ivan – good post I’m a new reader. Just imagine if we took your advice for a day -what the hell would we spend the day talking about? i.e – most of our day is spent complaining lol 🙂

    • that’s part of the experiment 🙂 there’s a deep realization to be made if you see that you now have nothing to say…thanks so much for stopping by..hope you come back again soon…take care and be well…let me know if you attempt the experiment and what you learn from it….

  2. Extremely insightful read and I know attempting this will be challenging but once I am fully awakened the challenge that once was will no longer be.

    Wish me well and thank you!

    • I am delighted that you will try the experiment, I wish you the best on your journey…keep in touch!…

    • Think of awakening as opening doors one after the other. To become fully awakened may not even be possible, because from each awakening there is another level. Yea! It is a journey. Hence, be here now.


  3. I am a new reader too and I love your posts. I recently started meditation and that works great but if i don’t constantly meditate I find myself going back to complaining or joining in w/ co-workers when they begin to complain. I am making slow progress but your amazing blog is a great resource!

    • Jorge..hablas espanol?..muchas gracias por visitar mi blog…I am really happy to hear you started meditating…keep at took me a long time to get a knack for it..and to allow it to go deep within…it’s an amazing journey…i wish you the best with all your endeavors…come back soon!…

  4. I am extremely glued to this one! I could not blink while reading it. This post is really helpful and inspiring to everybody. I was raised simple so I don’t know how to complain much. I practically get contented of what I have in life. Blessing come in different ways. I could not agree more with your post. I should start let everybody read your post and encourage everybody to do a good experiment on their selves too.

    • Thank you so much for your great feedback :)…I am happy that you could relate to the post…I wish you the best on your journey…

  5. Great post!for me sometimes I complain a lot until i realized now how lucky i am that my sister always supports me, specially in my downfall days. I am very much thankful to her, I got wonderful sister, she is one in a million!

  6. This can really so difficult to do…people just complain every minute of the day..but i guess you are have a better life, one must STOP complaining..and I think I better start today..

    • there are some very deep realizations to be made with this experiment :)…I really hope your try it :)…best of luck to you :)…

  7. True that! Reading this is very fulfilling. We should all live life and just chill! For a start, life is just simple…we’re the ones making our own problems and we’re the ones making simple things complicated. This is a very nice and important experiment to ourselves! I love your post! Food for the soul ^_^ Thanks for sharing!

    • My pleasure :)…your right life is simple..that’s why it’s so beautiful…somehow we love to make everything complicated….let’s get back to the basics :)…be well 🙂

  8. Hi Ivan,

    You really hit me here dude. It is really interesting article and would love to read more about your blogs. Thanks.

  9. Nice post!I agree every minute people always complain, i do sometimes to my self when i am very tired and have deadlines,well for me i guess i think it is something productive that can be used for future. This is a very informative post thanks for sharing this with us!

    • it is my pleasure my friend…I am happy I am able to help in some small way…be well…

  10. I also wanna add that talking badly about something, complaining is an example, doesn’t allow you to get rid of these bad energies and they all just stay there in your system so it’s like a snow ball effect.

    • yes..that’s why it’s important to not suppress…if you simply just witness the energies you will see them leave your system if you do not become identified…but if you suppress them, you have identified your self to them, and will you will suppress them in your unconscious, and will express themselves when the time is right…

  11. Hey I am up for the challenge of no complaining. I thought I saw a book called No Complaining Rule couple years ago. Probably same concept except yours is a challenge.

    I’ll let you know who successful I am. Have a great day. No Complaining allowed :))

    • good luck bro :)…wish you the best on your journey :)..thanks for stopping by..come back soon :)…

  12. Yes, you’re right… stop complaining and start living! people should learn how to be contented and stop complaining about things.. we only live once so let’s make the most out of it

    • “we live only once so let’s make the most out of it”…that pretty much sums it up :)…thanks for sharing my friend…hope your doing well…peace..

  13. people complain….day by day….anywhere…..sometimes…i gotta kick when I see these people complain…just so funny to look at them ….but this is normal…5 mins it’s gone…

    • and another 5 mins it’s back :)…thanks for contributing to my site :)…hope your doing well….take care

  14. Ivan! What a great thought provoking post. I continue to do this on a daily basis. Some days it is harder than others but I do it because I discovered one day that all my complaining about how the world was not what I thought it should be was taking up too much of my time and energy. And I realized that complaining does nothing to instigate change. In fact when we complain it tends to proliferate the actions that we are complaining about. It’s freeing to realize that as Gandhi said we need to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

    • So great to see you again my friend :)..I hope all your plans are right on track :)…hopefully we meet up somewhere in Asia soon :)…

  15. Hi Ivan,
    This is the first time I’ve come across your blog, but not the last. I love your challenge. You’re right…so often we fill up our conversations with complaints because it’s habit, or because we’d have nothing else to say. I’m paying more attention to my thoughts, and now, my words.

    So…I’m up for the challenge! In return I’d like suggest you try the Money Attracting Challenge over at my blog….

    • Thanks for stopping by contributing to my site…really appreciate it :)…glad you enjoyed the post..good luck on your journey..stay alert :)…

  16. Complaining? Too much complaining can irritate you, and it will affect your life and work in general especially it you take it too personally. Often times, it is only yourself who seems to be doing it to yourself and not someone else..take it easy…smile, and be a good leader to your self so that others may smile too…;) You are too young to complain to much…

  17. I have read many articles on Self Awareness & Meditation but this is intriguing especially because of its simple English structure and therefore fully understandable. I really enjoyed reading and have learned a lot .

    Thank you very much for this knowledge .


  18. ivan i am reading your blogs silently from last 3years and so your writings have a profound impact on my life .i am indebited to you all my life .thank you is not enough to express my gratitude to your help .

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. You don’t need to thank me, anything you have gained has come your own inner work. I am happy that I could be a part of your inner journey. Many blessings to you.

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