While complaining may provide us an opportunity to “unload,” and even help us feel connected to one another as we share our grievances, excessive complaining can create an internal cycle of negativity and become a heavy burden to those close to us. By challenging thoughts and feelings that are attached to maladaptive behaviors, we work to transform these habits (such as excessive complaining) into positive actions that serve us better in the long run.
In a recent New York Times piece, Oliver Burkeman, author of the forthcoming book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, takes a look at the recent event in San Jose, CA, called Unleash the Power Within, starring motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Twenty-one people, committed to the belief of Mr. Robbins and his acolytes that “it’s all a matter of mind-set: cultivate the belief that success is guaranteed, and anything is possible,” were treated for burns after walking barefoot over hot coals. The following is a selection from Burkeman’s piece.