15 votes

Huffpo: I Went 21 Days Without Complaining and It Changed My Life

7-22-14 by Tim Ferris

"This $@#&ing Mac will be the death of me. Intuitive, my ass."

It just slipped out, and I don't think I can be blamed. I was ready to leave the PC behind and take my Mac overseas for the first time when I couldn't figure out how to resize photos. On a friggin' Mac? I felt swindled. I also now had to move the bracelet.

2014-07-22-vmull1.jpg

For the last four months, I've been experimenting with a few types of thought experiments. The two most notable are Radical Honesty, which is 100 percent guaranteed to get you slapped or worse, and anti-complaining, which I'll explain here. The latter started in my book agent's office, where I spotted a pile of purple bracelets on his desk...

"What are these?" I grabbed one and it was inscribed with 'acomplaintfreeworld.org.'

"Another author of mine. Interesting story, actually."

And it was. The author was Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister who had recognized -- as I have in a previous post -- that word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions. It's not enough to just decide you'll stop using certain words, though. It requires conditioning.

Will designed a solution in the form of a simple purple bracelet, which he offered to his congregation with a challenge: go 21 days without complaining. Each time one of them complained, they had to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and start again from day 0. It was simple but effective metacognitive awareness training.

The effects were immediate and life-changing.

The bracelets spread like wildfire as others observed these transformations, and, to date, more than 5,900,000 people have requested the little devices...

Full article @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-ferriss/no-complaint-exper...

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I'd like to go 21 days

without seeing this headline

Thanks for the bump. ;)

Really, it's hardly come up in weeks. But I guess I can relate to feeling that way re posts on certain topics - such as those that are redundant or knowingly divisive... nothing I can think of, though, that I'd consider potentially helpful to some people's physical and emotional well being (and those others whom they come in contact with), such as the experiment among six million people currently taking place and being reported on in that Huffpo opinion piece.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I've been meaning to get over here

and tell everyone how terrible I am about complaining. I had no idea.

I did pretty well for a a few days but...well, let's just say I have a much better understanding of what an unbearable PIA I sometimes am.

I hear ya. Wanna start over with me beginning tomorrow?

Mid August to Mid September would be the new time frame. What? September already? Hmm. In that case, maybe AUTUMN LEAVES could be the theme song for the grand finale. Nah, too melancholy. But, in anticipation of making it through to the Fall, I might just use it to sing a line or two (instead), every time I go to complain or criticize:

http://youtu.be/b3w_ZVU_D2k

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Do over.

Day One (again): August 4.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

What?

happened! Story please.

thanks for this

I've heard the idea before but today I actually GOT the idea. Got a band on my wrist already. Better than keeping the band around my soul any longer. Somehow I think this is going to work...if I work.

Bill of Rights /Amendment X: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Do you need a politician or judge to "interpret" those 28

jrd3820's picture

Have a great day M

:)

Day One and already I'm in a quandary.

I don't know, jrd. I think a little incident that happened today that I'm planning to post might count as complaining. My working title: "I Feel Like A Whore."

Hmm. In replying to dwalters after you did, I gave three possible scenarios using your Diet Coke "receiving the wrong order at a drive thru" example:
1) Complain about the circumstance,
2) Complain about the circumstance but add a solution, and
3) Just state the facts of the circumstance and add a solution, that is, a response free of any negativity.

So much for my telling dw about my being this eternal optimist and the great role model my dad was in that regard. Maybe it's my "mountains out of molehills" mother being channeled through me--- Um, does that count as a complaint?

Ha, ha. So much for me fairly mocking mc, who has chosen not to join us in this challenge (at least so far), imagining the internal debates over whether something constituted a complaint or not - with me calling him, well, I forget the exact word, but I think it may have been "legalistic," as in, "Well, then, maybe you need this 21-day challenge, because if you think you could drive *yourself* crazy with such materialistic, legalistic thinking, just think of the effect such behavior might be having on others!" Yeah, I admit I was thinking of me, primarily, namely, this recent fight we had over Neil Young (whom I'd accused of ripping off his own music).

I'll have to give this some thought. As I told dwalters, the exercise was about general, everyday life - not "extenuating circumstances." Well but what happens when you're doing something *not* out of the ordinary and yet still find yourself in some sort of Gattica sub-plot? Or maybe better stated, some sort of Gattica prequel.

So jrd, if you're confused - not knowing what I'm even talking about, all I can say is, I *do* know what I'm talking about and am no less confused.

Well, thank you. And have a great evening! :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Being compliant slaves - that's how to attain more liberty...

There is such a thing as legitimate complaints.

If you don't stand up for your principles, someone else will stand on them.

jrd3820's picture

Right, but the article doesn't advocate complacency

One of the ideas is to change the way you react to your complaints. Yes, it does advocate getting rid of silly pointless complaints from your life; I ordered a coke at the drive through and now I'm on the road and take a drink and realize it's a diet coke; oh well, life goes on.

However there are bigger more legitimate complaints such as you pointed out the loss of liberty. That is where it is suggesting coupling complaints with solutions.

We lose liberties on a daily basis, I don't imagine you have to solve the whole problem, but it is kind of more along the lines of what are you going to do about it today? Are you going to educate the ppl around you, run for a seat, campaign for a liberty candidate, write an original at the DP about your observations and or possible solutions....

Actually this could be a great exercise for the site. Complaining about loss of liberty is one thing; now let's couple those complaints with possible solutions.

I'll be honest...

The only part of the article I read was that posted here on the DP. I'm not in a habit of giving HuffPo hits. So, what I was responding to was the impression that this excerpt gives.

Sometimes it's a slippery slope to give solutions. For instance, questions like - "What should the government do about so-and-so issue?" (such as immigration reform) - are a trap because does one honestly think that his or her solutions are those that will be implemented? Such questions themselves suppose that the State should be involved a priori.

Sometimes, the solution is the lack of a solution, and standing up (complaining in a constructive way) is the path to that lack.

I hear what you're saying about having legitimate complaints.

I agree with how jrd responded, that this in no way advocates passivity. Bad things happen. As I said elsewhere, this is not about putting blinders on. And I don't see that it "goes against" this challenge in any way to state a problem that you observe, whether "This is a diet Coke. I ordered a Coke" or "That statute violates the Constitution."

So, in the "wrong order" example, three choices are fairly obvious. You could say, "Damn! I ordered a Coke, not diet Coke. Stupid jerk. The artificial sweeteners are poison! Plus it leaves a metallic aftertaste! I HATE diet Coke! Stupid jerk who took the order. And I'm a jerk, too, for not checking before I left the window." That is, ocmplain before pouring the foul stuff out (or drinking it anyway). Or...

you could say all the above, then pour the stuff (or drink it anyway), and add, "Next time I'll confirm my order before I drive away." That is, complain *but* add a solution. Or...

while still identifying the problem, you could skip all negativity. You could say, "I ordered a Coke, not diet Coke," pour it out (or drink it), and add, "Next time I'll confirm my order before I drive off." That is, refraining from registering any complaint or criticism, just sticking to the (neutral) facts and offering a solution.

In any event, it's not about pretending that you really have a regular Coke - unless you decide to drink the diet Coke anyway! :) Nor is it about being passive, saying, "Oh, big difference" when you have a strong opinion that there is a big difference. It's about choosing to speak from a positive vs. negative perspective. But...

I don't personally think, bottom line, that the exercise is about "solutions" or "taking action." I think it's more to just get people to be more conscious of what they're saying, namely, realizing just how much of their speech and everyday lives focus on the negative. And to simply observe what happens after 21 days of *not* complaining. It's an experiment.

What this exercise is not is about "extenuating circumstances." And there IS such a thing as righteous indignation, and actually, it's far more effective when coming from someone who *isn't* always complaining.

There must have been some overwhelming positive feedback from among the first to take up this 21-day challenge, that it would inspire MILLIONS more to try it. And really, what do people have to lose? Three weeks' worth of complaints regarding circumstances on a global scale and on down to a personal level; three weeks' worth of criticisms of government officials, bosses and co-workers, neighbors, family members, and one's self. And of course, people wanting to take the challenge can always still register those complaints and criticisms after the 21 days. I'm sure that at least some of society's problems will still be here. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I always have a smile...

on my face. I'm a glass-is-half-full type of person. I always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, I don't go around complaining about trivial things. I'm always cordial to folks who mess up my order, for instance. I'm a big fan of Dale Carnegie.

I "complain" when things are important and relevant. More accurately, I don't complain but rather do my best to offer honest criticism.

I'm not trying to put down the "experiment." In my experience, a lot of the bellyaching that goes on is about the "small stuff" - day-to-day dribble that we all typically put up with. Surely, it would do people good to quit sweating those types of things.

I think that before someone complains, he or she should ask - "Is this going to matter to me tomorrow, a week from now, or a year from now?" If so, then the criticism should be delivered. If not, suck it up and don't go ruining other peoples' days.

Well, dwalters,

If all you say is true, I guess you'd be done with this in 21 days flat! - unlike those who don't realize until they actually try it, how much they actually do complain. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I'll just consider the last 21 days as completion

Life is too short to worry about the little stuff.

I was raised to be self-sufficient. It's very rare that I ask for help or whine about my situation. For instance, most of the time, I don't do too much hanging out with people. So, I had people over for a couple of weekends earlier this month, and it drained my budget. I've been eating potato hash, vegetables from the garden, and eggs for the last week and a half. I'll continue to do so until the end of this week. I've lived on less before, but you won't hear me bitch about it. It builds character.

I'm that guy that, when you get hurt, I'll tell you - "It's a long way from your heart."

People tend to take too much for granted, and it often leads to moaning and groaning when everything doesn't go exactly as they think it should.

Life is about living. I'm glad it's not the same all the time. When stuff goes wrong, it just provides an opportunity to solve a problem.

Consider it done. :)

I don't consider myself a complainer either. In part I think it's that my father's eternal optimism kinda rubbed off on me. I'm grateful to have had that kind of role model... for at least half my parents!

I agree about people's unreasonable expectations. Control freaks represent a whole class of chronic complainers, ever unhappy to re-discover the world does not turn around them.

When I was thinking about this challenge, what came to mind was the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. I'll just add that, in my experience, the likelihood of experiencing that serenity is increased if you have a sense of humour and appreciation of music. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I rarely complain.

I typically go straight to notions of homicide. I remember the first time I said the Serenity Prayer in public. My VCR had just fried, and I was jonesin' to watch "The Lorax" and a couple other titles from my vast VHS collection. I had a few DVDs that family had sent for Christmas, but since they weren't anything as choice as Dr.Seuss I hadn't yet acquired a device with which to play them. Being an audio freak I had always wanted a stereo VCR anyway, so I remained quite positive initially at the demise of my monophonic video tape player. I thought myself to be Mr.Responsible upon taking the action of calling around to the locally available electronics stores to find a new stereo unit and have them hold it for me, saving time and gasoline. Best Buy told me they had a unit. It was a reputable brand and I told them I'd be there later that day to pick it up.

As the sun got low I walked into Best Buy, found the aisle and rack displaying my unit, and waited for a clerk as the rack appeared void of boxed items. I thought, "Wow, I'm glad I called ahead. I seem to have nabbed the last one." A clerk appeared, I pointed and he replied, "We're out of those." I informed him that I had called earlier and that there was one on hold for me somewhere. He went to go check, came back and said, "I'm sorry, I couldn't find anyone you may have spoken to, but there are none on hold and we are out. We might get one next Thursday. If we get another I can save that for you."

I lived and drove from about ten minutes away from that Best Buy, but I told him that the reason I had called ahead was that I lived in Grand Marais [a couple hours away]. That information much to my surprise didn't seem to change the fact at all that they had no unit to sell me, AND it also remarkably didn't seem to make him feel sorry for me whatsoever. "Well, there's a display unit chained and locked to the rack right there. Sell me that. I'll even pay full price for it." "I can't do that. It's pretty old, and we'd have to hook it up to see if it even works. We're too busy tonight to do that. We'll probably have a new one on Thursday. I'll put it on hold for you."

"Yes, I've been told that once already, before driving all the way from Grand Marais!"

He said one more thing to me as he walked away. I didn't hear what that was as I seemed to have blacked out by that point, but he was gone and I kinda figured he was going to get his manager as my conscious self had parted from my body and was hovering above looking back down at the clearly homicidal customer. Left alone my focus went adrift and landed on the days last golden glow shining through the windows to the far west of the store. Happy hour is almost over. A glassy golden shot of Cuervo perched on the altar of a familiar wooden bar counter flashed in my head. As I felt impelled to escape toward the light of the parking lot these words instantaneously spilled aloud from my lips, "God, grant me the serenity too accept..." As I moved toward the door I noticed the next rack held open box discount items. The first one that came into focus was a combination [stereo :D] VHS and DVD player, twenty dollars cheaper than the one I was willing to kill for. I said aloud "Cool!", swooped it through checkout, got it home and yes, I watched Dr.Seuss, but instead of "The Lorax" I watched "The Zax", wiped my brow, laughed and tickled my kids.


http://youtu.be/dZmZzGxGpSs

Perhaps we could get approval from the mods

...to spam the Serenty Prayer for three weeks.

Then we could downvote comments willy nilly while attaching that prayer in reply. :D

It took a second for

it to register. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

it's a pretty neat idea but..

how about, 21 days without being passive about the hostile takeover of our land by a fascist government. if any day you don't take action and dismantle a government agency you have to switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start over.

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

The two are not mutually exclusive.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

I am going to not complain about this post

I agreed to buy and cherish a my little pony for 21 days and it changed my life.

http://youtu.be/ohnuyqJyEW0

(upvote cause it is an interesting idea but also ripe to tease about.)

ok, so on a more serious note:

I used to do this in the past as avoiding the three C's:

Do not complain
Do not criticize
Do not condemn

Perhaps it's time to try this exercise again :)

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

I'll be happy if I can go 21 days

without complaining about Tim Ferris.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

jrd3820's picture

Ok M, this is what I'm thinking so far

I think I will try to start Monday unless you need some more time. Or we don't have to start on the same day either. Just let me know if Monday works for you. I am going to the craft store today to get some hemp to make a bracelet.

I'm going to say downvoting counts as a complaint. So no downvoting for 21 days. Of course this will be on the honor system, actually I guess the whole thing will be on the honor system.

I think we might as well go along with the idea of coupling a complaint with a solution is ok, because what I took away from the article was more about changing the thought process around complaining. So if we get in the habit of coupling a complaint with a solution, it might be a habit we carry on after the 21 days hopefully.

Jon asked if I thought thinking a complaint counts as a complaint or if we are just dealing with verbal complaints. It probably does. What do you think? That is why I think it is a good idea to allow complaints coupled with solutions. It is hard to stop a thought from entering your head, so thinking a complaint is going to be a bit tricky to combat.

I spend a lot of time in the sun in the gardens, when I am sweating and dirty and being eaten by mosquitoes and it is 900% humidity outside, no matter how hard I try the complaint of; this is uncomfortable will enter my head, but my goal will be to focus on a solution; this is uncomfortable, but I have 2.5 rows done and if I finish this row I think I can take an air conditioned inside water break....

Let me know what ya think, if there is anything you want to add or change, when you think you want to start....

God said, Let there be light. And

...there was light.

I've done some thinking about the "solutions" option. Okay, first, a few things.

1) I'll spare you the extra verbiage of "in my humble opinion" or 'as I personally see it," etc., that I'd normally pepper an explanation with where I disagreed (respectfully disagreed. of course)... see what I mean? Please let that be understood.

2) I imagine that for those of us wishing to take up the challenge, we can set our own parameters. After all, unlike Anadrome, it's not a competition or race. :)

3) In answer to Jon's question, "Does "thinking" a complaint count as a complaint?" Yes, it most certainly does! But that's rather the whole point of this exercise. (More on that below, but it also relates to the following point.)

4) I don't necessarily agree entirely with a statement made in the above article that the article's author himself seems to have overlooked (what he attributes to the author of the *book* on the subject): "The author was Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister who had recognized -- as I have in a previous post -- that word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions."

Well, I do believe that, I guess. But I believe it's far deeper (more mysterious?) than what that describes, which gets me to the last caveat.

5) Where this subject is concerned, I'll spare you details of my various spiritual and other epiphanies that led me to have the belief I do. In a nutshell: words are a creative force.

I'll say, too, that it's not something I learned in the Bible, which I only actually picked up and read in recent years, although... it's reflected there, too. My belief that words are a creative force, literally, relates to all sorts of different and seemingly unrelated interests over a long period of years that only fairly recently seem to have coincided, each reinforcing the other (not out of line with the John Muir quote that follows me around the Daily Paul), interests in... sound, beginning with something I read ages ago (1992?) re letters, beginning with vowels and as distinct from consonants; the "attunement" work of a friend of mine who created a healing art with the use of tuning forks (and others are out there, too, although she came upon hers independently and with a key difference), this person also having subsequently done much study that relates to ancient Egypt (and also Tesla) that only confirms her own discoveries; linguistics - and not the sort of reductionist thinking reflected in the work of, say, Naom Chomsky or Steven Pinker (at least as I understand that to be); Bible study - with a key *example* of the principle being the opening words in Genesis, though it comes up elsewhere in the Bible, including the New Testament; the work of Dr. Masuru Emoto (whose book The Messages in Water I came across prior to seeing the documentary "What The Bleep Do We Know"); that documentary itself (in other ways), i.e., What The Bleep, which touches on quantum physics... well, those are what comes to mind. Okay, so...

-----------------
As to Jon's question. IF you believe that WORDS are a creative force ... or even "just" that words affect thoughts, which affect emotions, which affect actions, i.e., in this order

WORDS -> THOUGHTS -> EMOTIONS -> ACTIONS

(with some sort of understanding that how *you* act will, sooner or later, have an effect on how you are treated) then you don't need to be so concerned about your thoughts... SO LONG AS YOU DON'T VERBALIZE THEM. The thinking goes (no pun intended)... change your words and eventually your thoughts will (by default) change. I said "eventually," but if the book at the heart of this is any indication - with almost six million people having taken up the challenge to date, it could happen in as short a time frame as "21 days."

[FYI, some people will, however, also SPEAK against "even" just negative thoughts. I won't go into it, but that's reflected in the Bible, too.]

And so... I feel strongly that verbalizing a complaint constitutes "complaining" - whether or not you ADD a solution. If you say to your friend with you at the post office, "The guy in front of us is a jerk wasting everyone's time, SO next time I'm getting here earlier to avoid the lines," you've still VOICED "the guy in front of us is a jerk." Sure, the solution/advice about avoiding post office lines by arriving earlier "goes out into the universe." But also your calling a fellow human being a jerk.

[I hate to say this, but it reminds me of someone deliberately slapping another person across the face and then saying, "Don't worry. I won't do it again." Okay, if you stop the abuse - at least with her [because that's all the author was doing, providing a "solution" for just each individual incidence of complaint], well, that's a step in the right direction. But you got her good one last time, though, didn't you?]

However, I do feel that there are ways to change your words to "put a positive spin" on an otherwise "negative situation" - that is, to at least still acknowledge it. This exercise isn't about putting blinders on but finding a new way to relate to circumstances we might find unpleasant. To stick with this example - while looking at "the jerk" in front of you at the post office - yes, you know perfectly well who's inspired this thought, you say only [just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts]: "I really have more productive things to do with my time than stand here on this line. Next time I'm getting here earlier."

So... those are my thoughts on the matter for your consideration. I don't think the change that the author made (the author of the article) is a good one - though it seems to have nonetheless brought about some positive change in his life. Maybe some will follow his lead, while others will stick with the original intent: to change your words so as not to complain to begin with. But as I said, I don't see a reason why we have to have the same parameters. As for myself, I'm "starting over" if I complain. As Education said it - the 3C's (hey a positive way to think about the @!#$%^&* C's!) no complaining, criticizing, or condemning.

I'm with you as far as starting tomorrow. So anyway, I was speaking to someone yesterday and mentioned my "evil stepsister." All characters appearing in this comment are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. I haven't thought that in ages, but yeah. In anticipation of starting this soon, I did want to get that out one last time! Whack! Oh, sorry. I won't do it again. lol

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

jrd3820's picture

Ok M....

I will also be starting tomorrow. And I do see where you are coming from with slapping the guy across the face but then saying; don't worry about it, I won't do it again.

My first and foremost goal is to not complain in the first place, but like I said....I think what I personally took away from this idea and how I would like to benefit from this exercise is just thinking more positively about things.

I was actually at secretary of state last Tuesday before we even started talking about this experiment. And it was a very long line, I don't even think that that is a complaint, just an observation...anyways, I thought to myself; Sigh, why didn't I bring my ipod and or a reading material, way to go Jen.....

My complaints are often about my lack of foresight. I rarely
(I'm not perfect, sometimes I slip up) complain about others as I have no control over others. There was no one at the secretary of state that I called a jerk or wished any ill will upon, but yes I was frustrated with myself.

I think if that situation were to play out tomorrow I would switch my bracelet over because it is really a silly thing to get upset about, I should have known the line would be long, it always is, I should have brought something to entertain myself.

But then where do observations and complaints blur a little? The lady in front of me sighed and mumbled to me 'omg this is going to take forever' and if I respond with yes it is a long line, that is more of an observation on my part....

well anyways....idk.

I'm going to aim to be complaint free and make judgement calls as I go along. Don't worry, I'm not going to cheat just because I added a solution, I see how that could be abused, you could then complain all day and just say tomorrow I'll do x,y,or z different. But I might allow myself a complaint or two with a very valid constructive solution. I want to try this exercise for my own benefit, so I'll definitely not cut myself a whole lot of slack or anything.

Also, I'll use this thread to announce any milestones or start over dates.

Re 21-day challenge. So, it starts tomorrow.

"I'm going to aim to be complaint free and...make judgement calls as I go along." Me, too.

Just so you know, I'm fine with making factual, neutral observations, as I mentioned to dwalters below. And as to circumstances such as the lady in front of you, that was a good reply, "yes, it is a long line," only confirming a fact & not reinforcing her (negative) expectation. In that sort of circumstance, depending on the environment & person, I might be inclined to offer some positive possible outcome to counter the negativity - if only to smile optimistically & shrug: "Well, You never know." Or maybe start singing the Kinks. You have to play these things by ear. :)

Just one clarification. While I did express that the "complaint + solution" idea *could* be viewed as a license to complain... for me the bottom line reason to not complain or criticize has to do with my belief that words are a creative force. So if I speak negativity into the universe, I am helping to create a negative universe.

So, good. We start tomorrow. John Robb's in, right? And what about Jon? Was he just asking that question about (negative) thoughts out of curiosity, or was he considering doing this, too? Well, anyway, people who are interested can start whenever they wish. Hey, where's Michael these days? If he were around, I'm sure he'd have had something to say. And by the way, good idea to use this thread for feedback: milestones, do-overs, impressions, epiphanies, jokes, songs, etc...

Well, good luck tomorrow, jrd and whoever else is in. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Ahem

I'm going to say downvoting counts as a complaint.

Cool.

So no downvoting for 21 days.

Wait a second! A complaint may be coupled with a solution, right?

might as well go along with the idea of coupling a complaint with a solution is ok

Go ahead and downvote a comment, but then couple it with a solution. The solution is to leave a reply to the downvoted comment that says, "When you change your mind I will reverse my downvote." Bingo! :D