GTC continues an ambitious task begun years ago: Challenging ourselves to use positive language in our professional and personal lives. We have begun to use the Complaint Free World model-- purple wristbands are being distributed to individuals throughout the agency. They are encouraged to monitor their conversations, and when they use negative language, they switch their bracelets to the other wrist. The goal is to form a new habit of positive speech by completing 21 consecutive days without switching their wristbands. • Directors discuss their progress at their weekly meetings, and through e-mail. • Members of Life in Action use their improv skills to demonstrate more positive interactions. • Stress Management Classes also focus on developing more positive speech, leading to more productive thoughts, and subsequently experiencing stressors in a less threatening way.
People often spend too much time thinking about the past and future - We worry about future events / pessimism about what is to come - We regret mistakes we have made / rehash negative events There needs to be more focus on the present. Learning from the past and planning for the future is essential but... much of our thinking is wasteful, cluttering our minds Being in the “here and now” helps us to connect with people. Mindfulness: intentionally focusing one’s attention on the experience occurring at the present moment, in a non-judging or accepting way. Mindfulness allows you to put aside pre-conceived notions, past experiences and assumptions about situations and people, so that you can allow yourself to actively listen to others and accurately assess situations. > being mindful (rather than mindless) of our thoughts and words will lead to communication being more productive • People not only create their own reality through their thoughts and words, but affect others around them. We naturally entrain—we “synch up” with each other. • How do we stop the complaining momentum? (1) Be the change you want to see. The change we seek is not “out there” but within ourselves. Emphasize the positives, rather than attract negativity through your own words. (2) Avoid triangulation—speak directly to the person with whom you have a problem, not others. (3) Focus on solutions. Freeing yourself from negativity will allow for more productive thinking. • You have more influence than you think on your interactions, meetings, programs and agency. Positive speech and positive thinking will improve our work environment, and likewise, the quality of life for the individuals we serve.
There are 4 Stages to the competency process: 1. Unconscious Incompetence - We are not aware of our complaining. 2. Conscious Incompetence – We are aware of how much we complain. 3. Conscious Competence – If we focus, we speak more positively. 4. Unconscious Competence – We effortlessly use impeccable words. • Most of us have spent the last several weeks working toward step 2. Unfortunately, complaining is like bad breath—we notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth, but not when it comes from our own. • This challenge is definitely not easy, but nothing valuable ever is. It will be worth it... to your effectiveness as a supervisor, coworker, friend, parent, community member, etc. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average. – M.H. Alderson You can do it. Awareness is the the first important step. Your thoughts create your world, and words indicate what you are thinking. Let every one of your words accurately portray who you are, and who you want to be.
Just stick to the facts! Many times one can avoid complaining by just stating facts, without adding expressions of negative emotion (e.g., "I can't stand it when..."). Being careful with our words will allows us to better focus on problem-solving. Positive words will elicit positive feelings from others, and influence their words in response.
Be sure that your powerful words positively influence direct care staff, peers and supervisors. Ultimately, our efforts will create a better environment for the consumers we serve.
• There is too much complaining in the world. • The state of the world is not the way we would like it. You can change your world/work/home by simply becoming an example of positive change. As you become a happier person, you will send out vibrations of optimism and hope that will resound with others. It is easy to give up-- stay with it for all those around you. • Avoid focusing on what is wrong, rather focus your vision on a healthy, happy, and harmonious world. We attract those things we give the most attention. • Let's remind ourselves why we are taking on this challenge: it will make our workplace a more comfortable, enjoyable environment, which will ultimately translate to better services for the individuals we serve. It will attract good people and things to our agency.
• It is challenging, but most things that are worthwhile are, and I think we can all agree that this is a worthwhile undertaking. • Remember that awareness is the first important step to positive change, and it's been great to see people more aware of speaking positively. • Don't be discouraged. Take small steps. Put a few good interactions together, and then a few hours...and so on. If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain. – Maya Angelou • Stay with it. It may take many months to reach 21 consecutive days. The average is 4 to 8 months. If you've taken your bracelet off, you can always put it back on. If you've lost it, ask for a new one. • What you articulate, you demonstrate. We create our lives all the time—We need to take the reins and steer the horse to where we want to go, rather than where we do not.
A man constantly complained about his bag lunch: “Every day, I have the same thing, over and over again.” A co-worker finally asked. “Why don’t you ask your wife to make something else, that you like.” The man responded, “What are you talking about...I make my own lunch!” • Each and every day, we “make our own lunch”. We are responsible for how our days play themselves out. If we don’t like how things are going, we have the power to change. As with this man, complaints to others do not help the problem. Change what you do and say to affect a different outcome. Change how you perceive “problems” when you have less control over them. We are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think. – Buddha As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. –Jesus, Matthew 8:13 Paul Harvey once said, “ I hope that one day I achieve enough of what the world calls success so that if someone asks me how I did it I will tell them that I get up more than I fall”. As with all things worth accomplishing, you must fail your way to success. It does not matter if you have stumbled, forgotten or ignored the challenge. Get back to it. You are worth it.
• Life is change. Most things can be described as fluctuating throughout our lifetimes. If we remember “this too will pass” we will be better grounded, and less apt to complain. • In a recession, those who are able to invest are much better off when the economy improves. Although budget constraints will necessitate tighter controls on finances and staffing, during this time we can all take the opportunity to invest our time and efforts to develop good working relationships with our coworkers and positive practices that will serve us well going forward. We are all in this together—our focus on our successes will lift the individuals we serve. It is a waste of time to be angry about disability. One has to get on with life...People won’t have time for you if you are always complaining. –Stephen Hawking • About 2/3 of illnesses originate in the mind. What the mind believes, the body manifests. When you complain about your health, you are putting out negative statements that your body hears. Complaining about an illness will neither shorten its duration nor lessen its severity. There is a health-affirming power of living a life of gratitude.
While your job, money and position in society are like the cups-- they are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor does it change, the quality of life you are living. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. Live simply... Be grateful... Don't complain... Speak kindly... The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have!! The richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. Optimism: the tendency to believe, expect, or hope that things will turn out well. Research indicates that optimism is often the key indicator as to the success of clinical programming. I think most of us agree this can apply to the success of many things in our lives. If you are having difficulty thinking in an optimistic way, be mindful that your words are positive. This practice will lead to more positive thinking. What you put out there will come back to you.
Gratitude If you are able to regularly pause to remind yourself about all you have, and you make a habit of taking time to be thankful for these things, your speech will certainly reflect this appreciation. It will be easier to see good, focusing on that which is positive. It’s always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Stephen Wiltshire is an autistic savant who creates very detailed drawings from memory. He is able to retain an incredible amount of information. All are amazed by his skills. If just one mind is able to do something so beyond what we think is possible, we all have the potential to do things we thought we could not do. Don’t limit yourself—you never know what you are capable of; we do not know our potentials. We achieve more when we try to find out.
Positive Reinforcement- an event that causes behavior to increase in frequency (or likelihood). - When you break down everyone's routine behaviors, most individual actions are heavily influenced by how much (or how little) they are reinforced. As adults, we typically prefer to be uplifted (reinforced) rather than criticized (punished), or dragged down (by complaining). - When we establish relationships (or supervise others), we cannot just assume that others should be "self- motivated" to act conscientiously / responsibly (or to perform job responsibilities) without some source of reinforcement. ... and it is not reinforcement if it is not effective. - We all have our own “bag of treats” among our unique personal qualities that can serve as reinforcements for others (compliments, humor, smiles, mindful listening, assistance).
• It’s curious that the word “coincidence” has come to mean: happening by chance. The origin is from the word “coincident”: occupying the same space or time; in exact agreement; harmonious. • Being mindful (rather than getting caught up in unproductive thoughts and words) will lead to being more aware of our environment: the people and happenings around us. The more we are “in tune” with our surroundings, the more capable we are of seeing circumstances which are in fact as they should be. • Throughout history, humanity has (at first) been unaware of many things (e.g., scientific principles, energy sources, etc.). It is important to be grounded and practical; however opening your mind to new possibilities can often lead to learning and growth. * When you put forth positive words and actions, good things will happen. No “coincidences”. A young monk joins a monastery that requires total silence. After 5 years, the abbot allows him to speak 2 words. The young monk says, “Hard bed.” The abbot replies, “OK, we’ll try to fix that.” After 10 years, 2 more words were permitted: “ Cold food”, says the young monk. The abbot answers, “ I’ll tell the cook.” After 15 years, 2 more words were allowed: “I quit” says the young monk. The abbot replies, “ It’s just as well, you’ve done nothing but complain since you’ve been here!” It does not matter how much we complain, or how many words we use-- just that we do. We are the only ones who can be honest with ourselves to explore our true intentions, and open our eyes to the impact of our words. Positive change can only come from within, when one is ready. Through our “complaint-free” attempts, we have hopefully gained more awareness of the amount of complaining we all do, likely more than we thought. It is up to each of us to continue to renew our efforts, and remind ourselves of how we’d like to present ourselves at work, and in our lives.