Thursday, December 30, 2010

Complaints and Resolutions: Turn the problem around #love2011

I've really been enjoying the #reverb10 prompts and reading what other bloggers have to say. I've decided to start my own project with my own prompts! I'm going to call it "The 2011 Love Project" If you blog, go ahead and use the tag #love2011 on Twitter or leave me a comment. I'll work on organizing it more come January!

Prompt: What is a complaint you have? How can you turn it around to change it from a negative feeling to a positive feeling?

One of my resolutions for the new year is to not complain. I'm also going to try and do the standard: eat more healthfully. So this week I've been pigging out on candy and junk food. And I figure I should get all my complaints out of my system, too.

Complaint:

I HATE THE CHIRPING BATTERY OF THE SMOKE ALARM!

Yes, that chirping battery drives me crazy every year. It chirps in the middle of the night (because it only chirps when it's cold). The last thing I want to do at 3 in the morning is dig out the ladder and change a battery, so I just cover my head with blankets and wait until morning. And because all the smoke alarms are clumped together (with an abundance in hallways) I'm not sure which battery needs to be changed. I know... I should just change them all, because inevitably, another one will chirp soon enough.

Nevermind that the whole alarm system is run on electricity... we need to have backup batteries, that are apparently always draining and INSIST on being changed as soon as they start to get low. There's no option to turn off the chirp. Nope. It's very important that we change that battery immediately in case the perfect storm happens and the electricity goes out at the same time we have a fire and none of the other 10 alarms in the hallways go off...

And then, of course, there's the waste of money from buying a bunch of 9V batteries every year along with the environmental concerns of battery disposal for batteries that are only there as backups in the first place. My friend, David, came up with a great idea: why not have the batteries in smoke alarms be rechargeable? They could be constantly recharging except on those rare occasions when the electricity is out.

The Resolution

So that's the complaint. My son and I play this game sometimes where we talk about something that's bothering us, but then we have to talk about what we're going to do about it. How we'll resolve whatever the problem is.

In this case, the easy solution is to go out and get a bunch of batteries and make my smoke alarms happy so they will stop the chirp. New year, new batteries. I can do that. If I'm really ambitious, I'd work with David on getting a patent or something on the rechargeable battery idea. Maybe he'd share the wealth when he got rich off of it. Yes.... I'm getting excited already!

It Works When Complaining About People, Too

We still are going to complain about annoyances, even if we don't complain out loud. The key however, is to play this game... figure out how you can go from feeling annoyed to actually feeling excited.

Byron Katie demonstrates this brilliantly in this audiocast. A woman is complaining about her friend. But with every complaint, Katie is able to turn it around to show that the problem isn't really in the other person, but in ourselves. (I have my friend, Rebecca Mullen of AltaredSpaces to thank for sending me to that audiocast.)


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