No More Grousing

 

I stumbled across a new movement taking hold on the Internet. Check out this link to learn more about the specifics: Complaint Restraint Project. The initiative was established by Thierry Blancpain and Pieter Pelgrims,  to create a more positive life by eliminating negative statements for 30-days.

“There’s no secret sauce,” the website says. “Simply stop complaining.”

Unfortunately misery just loves company doesn’t it?

I thought I would give it a whirl, so I enlisted some of my inner circle for a team style project. My sister said it sounded interesting but she couldn’t commit to starting until after the 19th of month. Huh? Can it really be that difficult to stop grousing?



Fast Company picked up the battalion and even wrote a post that lists ways to make not complaining a realistic goal: 

Start by defining what a complaint is:

Turns out there is a difference between an observation and a complaint. Maybe I just tend to be very observant in my daily life. Especially when I notice coffee dribbled on the floor or laundry piled up. Perhaps people in my house just aren’t as observant as I am. Is that possible? Or did I just slip back into complaining? Seriously, a complaint brings about a negative undertone and makes the energy drain out of you.

Track how often you complain and what about:

This opens the mindfulness cavern and really gets your brain tuned into how habitually you fall into a pattern of complaining. One morning while watching the news I had 5 slips in a matter of minutes. Yikes, turn the television off, light candle and tune into some spa music.

Don’t engage:

Skip grousing fests and avoid friends who tend to over-grouse.  If you have to attend a meeting or event, try to stay on the fringe or add something positive. Just last week, I opened my mouth to say something and a certain person pounced on me like Tigger in Pooh. The rant of expletives, and “that is the stupidest thing I ever heard,” followed. Ouch!

Use the “but-positive” technique:

We all know this little trick helps you turn a negative into a positive. Another way to phrase things is by turning a “but” into a “get.”  Try turning, I have to pick up the dry cleaning, into, I get to pick up the dry cleaning, which happens to be right across the street from my favorite store. I have to go up north in the middle of a storm… but I get to spend time with my parents.


Just remember, ridding yourself of negativity takes work. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Slips happen, just keep trying to find the rainbow in the midst of the storm. I am working on taking the challenge one day at a time. Won’t you join me?

 

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com

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When Did Ethics Become Subjective?

When Did Ethics Become Subjective?

By: Jodi Cross

You may have heard the old saying…It’s not what you do when someone is looking, it’s what you do when no one is looking that defines your moral character.  


How did the ethical balance in our society get so out of control? Do ethics still matter; are they relevant or subjective? Ethics are a standard of moral behaviors that are accepted by society as right versus wrong. They guide us, define our character and help us make the right choices. Then why the Ponzi schemes, corporate CEO resignations and  Martha Stewart going to jail for insider trading? All of this can’t be a good thing! Has greed commandeered our ethics? It seems like this generation doesn’t see any real moral absolutes and they tend to make decisions based on their situation. Which is to say, if it fits their lifestyle then why not do it?


Situational ethics has created a moral decay that is pervasive in our society today. People can be caught doing something and still lie about it, all while justify and blaming it on someone or something else. In theory, people agree about what is right and wrong, things like honesty, courage, respect for life are clearly right and cheating, lying, and stealing are wrong. So how did we get where we are today? 


Ethics is more than dealing with the legal consequences of your actions it is about how you feel about yourself when you do something that is ethically questionable. Better yet, ask yourself, would you want someone to do the same thing to you? People may be above the law and not get caught but we should never abandon ethics.


Ethics is something that should be ingrained in us. It is about how we treat one another. My parents modeled it every day by providing guiding values, and making us accountable for our choices.   Our forefathers decreed ethics as a self-evident truth, Moses brought down the commandments, not the suggestions. It is time we get a grip and stop sliding down the slippery ethical slope laced with justifications and excuses. Choosing the ethical solution isn’t always easy, that’s why it’s called an moral dilemma.  I believe if we all tap into our guiding compass we will pick the right path and one we can be proud of. Perhaps that will start a chain of events that will bring us back on course.  


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com



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Milestones, Memories & The Meaning of Life

By: Jodi Cross

This was poised to be a cheery article about my impending birthday celebration. I was intending to write about how friends and family came from far and near to celebrate my milestone with me at a destination birthday bash in Miami. In preparation for my big day, I constructed a party plan, bought a new car, dieted for months and shopped for the perfect dress. I contracted with a hotel for an extravaganza and hired a Disc Jockey.


Everything for my perfect birthday celebration was all set. That was until a last minute trip to NY catapulted me into a family emergency, my aging parent’s ongoing health issues and the death of our neighbor. All at once my milestone turned into a flood of memories punctuated by questions about the meaning of life.


My eldest brother had been in ICU for five days when we realized that our neighbor had been admitted to the room next door. Kevin would make a full recovery but the story would be dramatically different for Mrs. F. The night before she passed, I went into her room, looked at her peaceful face and all the machines attached to her body and with my hands clenched tightly, I silently prayed over her failing body. I don’t recall a time when I have ever been so close to death. The next day, Mr. F and Matt visited my brother to see how he was doing. This selfless act of kindness simply blew me away.  As it turned out their next act would be to instruct the doctors to terminate the life support that kept his wife and his mother alive. The vivid image and the whirling sounds quickly bring things into perspective.  Ironically, a person’s last breath is something that unites all of mankind no matter what your age, social status or accomplishments may be.


Although this milestone was not a joyous one it too punctuates life and marks a time before and after. In fact, that is exactly the purpose of a milestone, to mark a path or a way along a road. To assure travelers that the proper path is being followed. Aren’t we all just travelers after all?


Suddenly, my parent’s health problems became manageable and I was happy to have them here with me to celebrate another birthday. The ache in my joints didn’t seem to bother me as much and all the worries about my next career reinvention faded into the background.


The next day, I reminisced with my family about good times, poured over photo albums of memories, and counted my blessings for the dear friendships and rich relationships I have in my life. I visited my neighbor and brought flowers and food. Gave hugs and cried along with them.  It seems like just yesterday I was a little girl fishing with my dad I couldn’t wait to get my license to drive or head off to college and get my start out in the real world. In the blink of an eye you are in the second half and you don’t even know how it happened. In fact, my friends and I often comment on how we still feel like we are eighteen on the inside, then you look in the mirror and each line tells a different story.


Milestones are important for reflection, recounting the journey and making new memories. I like Oprah’s quote, “The more you praise and celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” That’s a quote I can live by. As I enter this next chapter, I realize I am just a traveler in this world but it is the friends, family and people you meet along the way that matter most. How poignant that my neighbors, friends and family have celebrated birthdays, pond parties, weddings and now funerals along the road in this life. That is what life’s journey is all about, I am blessed to have some many people to share it with.


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com.

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Patience Pays

Patience Pays

By: Jodi Cross

I am not a patient person. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. Being patient has never come easy to me. In fact, the world we live in today likely makes it harder for many people to be patient when everything is an instant mouse click away.


During a recent visit to Muir Woods outside of San Francisco I learned a valuable lesson about patience. With over 1.5 million visitors a year my husband and I learned quickly that the park may have been big enough to handle that kind of crowd but the parking lot certainly wasn’t. After our third go around, I was growing impatient when we came upon a car sitting and blocking the backside of the parking ring. The gentlemen appeared to be waiting for someone to pull out. Just as I was about to lay on the horn my husband snatched my arm away from the steering wheel sternly stating, “Don’t, just wait”!


As you can surmise my husband is a steady, even- tempered kind of man. Which happens to compliment my intolerant, in a rush, always running late ways. A couple of minutes went by and sure enough a car pulled out and zip the car in front of us moved into the spot. After our third go around, perhaps waiting wasn’t such a bad strategy. Within a few moments, out came another couple and in we went to their spot.


As we were walking toward the park entrance the man in the car in front of us said hello. I may have sneered inadvertently still stinging from my frustration of wanting to get in and take a picture and move on. My husband, however, acknowledged the man and said hello. The fellow outdoor enthusiast proceeded to thank us for our patience and offered to pay our way into the park. Wow, what a great lesson this was for me! I started to think about all the other kind gestures I may have missed out on simply because of my hurried nature and impatience. As I was researching my article I came across an interesting statistic and quote that I thought I would share with you.


Apparently doctor’s research shows that every minute you are angry causes you to lose 60 seconds of happiness. I especially liked this quote from James Clavell’s novel, Shogun: “Karma is the beginning of knowledge. Next is patience. Patience is very important. The strong are the patient ones. Patience means holding back your inclination to the seven emotions: Hate, adoration, joy, anxiety, anger, grief, fear. If you don’t give way to the seven, you’re patient, then you’ll soon understand all manner of things and be in harmony with eternity.”


Next time you have an inclination to become annoyed or frustrated about a situation try relaxing and focusing on the big picture. Let it go and see if positive Karma comes back to you. © 

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