Many years ago, a professional referee who works for a big-name sports franchise shared a story with me. (I’m protecting his privacy by not disclosing any more information.) He was early on in his career and one day he complained to his boss (the head of all the referees) about his wife, who is a very lovable woman, and who was working full-time as a teacher while also raising their three young children while her husband was often traveling for work. 

His boss gave him this advice:  

“If you want to be successful in this highly competitive business, and manage to stay happily married with all the traveling you’ll be doing—a stable home is essential. Before you tell your wife one thing you don’t like about her, before you complain about anything she does—make sure you’ve first told her 50 things you admire about her. If you can do that first, then go ahead and complain about whatever you want. But remember, this is an ‘every 24-hour requirement’: Find and tell her 50 positives every 24 hours before you start complaining. I expect you to report your progress to me.”

Can you imagine? Wow! What a wise man who clearly valued the worth of a partner and family; understood human nature; and knew the effort (and kindness) essential to maintaining relationships. I never forgot this story. Its lessons can be applied to so many of our interactions with others as well as with ourselves. What an effective practice to get rid of those thoughts, such as:  If only she didn’t…If only he could… If only I weren’t…If only they would…

What if we all stopped thinking about what we aren’t happy with and instead required ourselves to list 50 things we are happy about before we’re allowed to complain? Just an idea…

PS:  This is an excerpt from my book The Silver Disobedience Playbook, available on Amazon.

PSS: This shirt is the closest I could come to a striped referee jersey!  

I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience and a Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People.  Modeling info @Whlm.newyork —other info in my bio & on my websites.