Jon Gordon's book 'The No Complaining Rule' is something that I've tried to instill, both from a personal standpoint, and in my office and locker room.
The rules are pretty simple in concept -
1) you can only complain to someone who can resolve the problem - rather than bitch and moan to someone divorced from the problem (which is wasted energy, as well as negative energy), you must go to someone who can help fix the problem at hand.
2) you can only complain if you are going to offer a resolution as well - rather than talk about what doesn't work, be a part of the solution by offering a way to fix it, opposed to compounding the problem.
People who use phrases like 'can't' and 'won't' probably don't have a lot of success in the business world or in sport, and true problem-solvers look at challenges as an opportunity to build and improve.
Bob Proctor has an outstanding story - the 333 story - which was passed along by a friend of mine, Craig Timmons. Proctor's story is from his book 'You Were Born Rich', and builds off of the premise in 'the No Complaining Rule' by turning challenges and burdens into tremendous opportunities.
Proctor's story was based on a gentleman who drove through a town in Ontario, Canada that was ravaged by tornado. That gentleman - Bob Templeton - became fascinated with the laws of the universe, particularly The Law of Polarity or as it is often referred to, The Law of Opposites.
This law clearly states everything has an opposite. You cannot have an up without a down, hot without cold or in without out. By the same token, if you can figure out why something you want to do cannot be done, by law, you must be able to figure out how it can be done. People who accomplish great things are aware of the negative, however, they give all of their mental energy to the positive.
After seeing what happened to this town, Bob Templeton was committed to the idea of raising millions of dollars and giving it to the people who had been caught in the tornado, and he was going to raise the money immediately! Furthermore, he was not remotely interested in why he
The following Friday he called all of his executives at Telemedia into his office. At the top of a flip chart in bold letters, he wrote three 3’s. He said to his executives “How would you like to raise 3 million dollars, 3 days from now, in just 3 hours and give the money to the people in Barrie?” There was nothing but silence in the room.
Finally someone said, “Templeton, you’re crazy. There is absolutely no way we could raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now!”
Bob said, “Wait a minute. I didn’t ask you if we could or even if we should. I just asked
you if you would like to.” Bob Templeton was wise; he was appealing to the charitable
side of their nature. It was important for those present to openly admit that this was
something they wanted to do. Bob Templeton knew that his new idea could show anyone
how to accomplish anything they wanted by working with the law.
They all said, “Sure, we’d like to.” He then drew a large T underneath the 333. On one
side he wrote, ‘Why We Can’t.’ On the other side he wrote, ‘How We Can.’ Under the
words, ‘Why We Can’t,’ Bob Templeton drew a large X. As he placed the X on the flip chart,
he said, “Now there is no place to record the ideas we think of which explain why we can’t
raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now, regardless of how valid they might be.”
He continued by explaining, “When anyone calls out an idea which suggests why we can’t,
everyone else must yell out as loud as they can, NEXT. That will be our command to go
to the next idea. Ideas are like the cars on a train, one always follows the other. We will
keep saying Next until a positive idea arrives.”
Bob smiled and continued to explain that, “Opposite the X on the other side of the
flipchart, directly under the words, ‘How We Can,’ I will write down every idea that we can
come up with on how we can raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now.” He
also suggested in a very serious tone of voice, that everyone will remain in the room until
we figure it out. “We are not only going to think of how we can raise 3 million dollars
immediately, after we originate the ideas we are going to execute them!” There was silence
Finally, someone said, “We could do a radio show across Canada.”
Bob said, “That’s a great idea,” and wrote it down under, ‘How We Can.’
Before he had it written on the right hand side of the flipchart, someone said, “You can’t do a radio show across Canada. We don’t have radio stations across Canada!” Since Telemedia only had stations in Ontario and Quebec, you must admit that was a pretty valid objection. However, someone in the back of the room, in a rather soft tone said, “Next.”
Bob Templeton replied, “Doing a radio show is how we can. That idea stays.” But this truly did sound like a ridiculous idea, because radio stations are very competitive. They usually don’t work together and to get them to do so would be virtually impossible according to the standard way of thinking.
All of a sudden someone suggested, “You could get Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson, the biggest names in Canadian broadcasting, to anchor the show.” These gentlemen are anchors of national stature in the Canadian television industry. Someone clearly spoke out saying, “They’re not going to go on radio.” But, at that point the group yelled, “NEXT.” Bob said that was when the energy shifted; everyone got involved and it was absolutely amazing how fast and furious the creative ideas began to flow.
That was on a Friday. The following Tuesday they had a radiothon, where 50 radio stations, from all across the country, agreed to work in harmony for such a good cause. They felt it didn’t matter who got the credit, as long as the people in Barrie got the money. Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson anchored the show and they succeeded in raising 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, within 3 business days!
You see, you can have whatever you want; all things are possible when you put your
focus on how you can and “Next” every idea telling you why you can’t.
This may be a difficult exercise in the beginning, however when you persist
“Nexting” any and all negative concepts, the flow of positive ideas will roar into your
Millions of people who have heard the story of Bob Templeton are making positive things happen in their lives because Templeton would not listen to the reasons why he and his staff could not raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, just 3 days after they began to brainstorm the idea.
By the way, Bob Templeton and his staff have formed the habit of ‘333ing’ their wants and, as a result, he has gone on to become the President of NewCap Broadcasting company, a highly profitable corporation, with stations right across Canada. Templeton set up a force for good that will follow him wherever he goes. Profit has become his second name. Begin at once to ‘333’ all of your wants and profit will follow you as well.