blogathon: the no complaining rule

the cost of negativity is one of the things jon gordon points out in his book the no complaining rule

  • negativity costs the US economy between $250 to $300 billion every year in lost productivity (gallup)
  • 90% of doctor visits are stress related (centers for disease control), and the #1 cause of office stress is coworkers and their complaining (
  • negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with (how full is your bucket? by tom rath)
  • too many negative interactions can decrease the productivity of a team (university of michigan)
  • one negative person can create a miserable office environment
  • negative emotions are associated with decreased life span, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, greater stress, less energy, more pain, fewer friends and less success

this book is germane to the subject of this blogathon. last may, we had the mental health week here in canada, and the topic this time was mental health in the workplace. from the book jacket:

based on an actual company that created and implemented the no complaining rule, gordon delivers an engaging story filled with innovative ideas and practical strategies to develop positive leaders, organizations, and teams.

here are 5 strategies gordon suggests to replace complaining:

  • practice gratitude
  • praise others
  • focus on success
  • let go
  • pray and meditate

i think all of these are useful (and of course, not just in the office) – and today, as i’m thinking about this, i particularly like the idea of praising others. when i praise someone, there is always a little glow that comes over me, a feeling of my heart opening and expanding.

canadian mental health associationthis is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps. thank you!


  1. The concept of “showing gratefulness” is something I need to write on at length. It is massively important in terms of understanding why some people feel the world is worthless – they feel they can’t even be treated with the bare minimal respect by others, they’re just objects to someone else’s ends.

    The funny thing is that 1) it doesn’t take a lot to show gratefulness, and 2) you can be grateful without sacrificing any pride. That sounds so strange to us, being humble in a way and yet being prideful, but in Aristotle the term is “magnanimity” – to have a great soul is something to take pride in, and allows one to relate to others and build them up without diminishing oneself.

    Oh well. Just a thought.

    ashok’s last blog post..Rant: How Do We Determine If Too Many People Are Going To College Or Not?

  2. I had a moment of clarity a couple days ago. Something truly dreadful happened in my life – a serious emotional punch in the gut that took the wind out of me entirely – and was thinking and thinking about it. Analysing why it happened, assigning blame (I’m human and easily think in terms of ‘blame’), imagining all sorts of things I would like to say back.

    Then – and I almost wonder if this was the voice of God – I heard this clear thought in my head: You don’t have to let your mind dwell on this.

    You don’t have to let your mind dwell on this.

    And I felt a deep sense of release, and moved my mind to other engrossing and interesting things to think about. I let go of the negative in favour of thoughts about that which is lifegiving.


    Nancy’s last blog post..Guest Post: ditching plastic bags – why didn?t MSN Money readers jump on board

  3. ashok, your thoughts are always a big contribution. (in fact, just the other day, i suggested to nancy, the other commenter, to follow you on twitter)

    “the term is “magnanimity” – to have a great soul is something to take pride in, and allows one to relate to others and build them up without diminishing oneself.”

    you hit the nail on the head. alma magna. big soul. that’s exactly how it feels.

    i would also like to add that humility and feeling good about oneself are not mutually exclusive. “humility” and “humiliation” do not need to be synonymous. to be humble, literally, means to be “like the ground” (humus = earth, soil) or “close to the ground”. down-to-earth perhaps, or grounded? it is certainly much easier for me to have a large, open soul when i am grounded …

    nancy, your story is beautiful. the voice of god, why not? a pal of mine calls god “the friend within”.

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