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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Working Toward a Complaint Free World

Empire State Building
Photo by myself of the Empire State Building, from 5th Avenue and the 30's.

There's something really photogenic about this building that keeps me going back. It's hard to believe that it was built in a year and half, just before the Depression.


Did anyone catch last weekend's CBS Morning News? There was a segment with Bill Geist about a church-based organization called A Complaint Free World in Kansas City that is helping people stop complaining.

I can't find the quote online, but Bill said that if New Yorkers stopped complaining, they'd have nothing to talk about. Apparently he thinks all we New Yorkers do is kvetch all day.

Hm. Possibly. Many of us aren't afraid of voicing the truth. And life can be far from ideal when you're living and commuting on top of other people all the time.

At A Complaint Free World, Reverend Will Bowen offers a challenge where a person stops complaining for 21 days. The theory is that if you stop uttering complaints, your brain will stop producing the complaints. The person then finds him or herself in a state of happiness, or at least, mute acceptance.

During the program, Geist went to a restaurant and remarked that his waitress was taking a long time to fill his order. Apparently the no-complaint way to handle the situation would be to sit and wait for one's food to come. Eventually.

Hello, isn't it more stressful to sit and wait while suppressing one's whiny thoughts? And you're losing an opportunity to bond with your fellow sufferers if you kept your mouth shut.

However, there is something to not complaining. When my mom kvetches about her anxieties, I readily feel antsy and begin to squirm. And so I apologize heartily to my dear readers for my previous worrying posts about bloodhounds hurling through space, potential camera snatchers and crime.

New York, despite all my whiny declarations, is a wonderful place to be.


fishwithoutbicycle said...

Fabulous photo Kitty!!! I agree with you there's often bonding over shared complaints - I bond over the subway ALL the time ;-). But I agree there's something to thinking positively and choosing what's worth a grumble and what isn't.

Olivier said...

belle photo, et bel hommage a l'ESB. j'aime ce choix du b&w. De l'hôtel ou je vais (The New Yorker) quand je suis a NYC, j'ai une superbe vue sur l'ESB.....NYC me manque

MAis j'avoue que maintenant, je préfère aller au Top Of The Rock, moins de monde, cette impression de pouvoir toucher les building (si il n'y avait pas le MetLife, on aurait une vue sur le Chrysler) mais je dérape ;o))

Beautiful picture, and a fine tribute ESB. I like this choice of b&w. From the hotel where I am going (The New Yorker) when I was NYC, I have a beautiful view on ESB ..... I miss NYC

But I admit that now, I prefer to go to the Top Of The Rock, fewer people, that impression to reach the building (if there was no MetLife, we would have a view of the Chrysler) but I skids; o))

Anonymous said...

Very attractive photo of your city. It is a reminder of how all photos once looked in black and white. Nice post. Interesting about the complaint free world.

Abraham Lincoln in Brookville, Ohio.

Spandrel Studios said...

If I didn't know better, I'd say the drive to stop complaining is part of a "vast, right-wing conspiracy."

Although bonding can definitely occur over kvetching, constant complaining doesn't make for good company. Thinking positively definitely makes a difference in one's mood. And I've had many fantastic opportunities just fall into my lap when I've consciously sent out a more positive vibe.

Like the photo's perspective!

Carolyn said...

Great Pic! I love looking at all the buildings.

Kitty said...

Thanks Fish!
It's hard to think first, grumble second. But it's a worthy goal.

Hi Olivier
I used to work near the New Yorker Hotel. It's huge!
I don't often visit Rockefeller Center, but I'm thinking there are great photos to be had there.

Hi Mr Lincoln
Yes, those old photos are pretty cool. Funny to think that that's how people saw their world photographically back then.

Hi Spandrel
lol about the conspiracy. I'm an expressive person, so it's hard to put on the mute button.
I agree with you about positive thinking. It can really transform your perception of the world, and induce good things to happen!

Hi Barber Bunch!
Thank you! Yes, buildings are cool. People are interesting, too. I try to show a mix of both. :-)

Kizz said...

I saw that piece, too, and it did kind of come off as an elaborate way to get people to shut the hell up. I mean, reducing the whining in life is fabulous and I'm all for it but does the good Rev. give you constructive ways to request better service or address conflict? It was weird.

BrianC said...

Hey, you were right around the corner from my office! I took some night shots of the Empire State Bldg. about a week ago. I hadn't posted them yet, but now I'll have to put them up. I do like the ESB, but my first love is still the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ming the Merciless said...

I subscribe to the philosophy/mantra that Oprah pushed to the modern civilization -- find five (5) new things you are grateful every day and you won't be complaining as much.

I also believe in less is more.

Mom Knows Everything said...

That picture is amazing! I love how it is in black and white. :o)

sonia a. mascaro said...

Wow! Just amazing picture! Impressive building for sure!

Kitty said...

Hey Kizz
I agree with you. It'd be great to be non-complaining and proactive on some level.

I mean, just raise your finger and say,'Excuse me, I'm in sort of a rush...' and that'll do it.

Hi Brian
That area is a madhouse, no? Tons of people.
I can't wait til it's nicer out and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge won't be such an ordeal!

Hi Ming
I love that concept, especially since there's an infinite number of good things. It's just a matter of taking the time to value them.

Thanks so much Tammy and Sonia. I love black and white, too.

Fredrik said...

Really nice composition and I like it in black and white! But there's some annoying blur at the bottom. Greasy finger on the lens or some moist perhaps!? ;)
A tip is to get a UV filter, if you don't already have one. It has an antireflection coating and protects the expensive lens. Did you get any other lenses than the 17-55? You'll soon be craving for a serious wide angle lens, or even a fisheye lens. I've seen very cool pictures of NY with that on.

Kitty said...

good eye, Fredrik! I took this with my point and shoot G5 and realized afterwards I had a smudge on all my photos. Drat.

I haven't gotten another lens for the 40D and already see the limits of the 17-55. I haven't really worked with a wide angle lens before and should start.

recently I've noticed that even though I love the horizontal format, my more successful shots are vertical due to composition. I have to train my eye.

Thanks so much for the tip! I will be making my purchase soon. Yippee!!!

The D in D & T said...

i think this is stunning!

i'm kind of with the conspiracy theory on this one. I think that there's a difference between being negative and complaining. I think complaining can be quite positive in fact, but maybe that's just because i cant find my own mute button :)

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic - Love the angle!

New York Hotel said...

i do think that New Yorkers rely progressively less on automobiles and more on subway trains. on the other hand you can say that the reality as we know it has made it happen.

term papers online writing service said...

gorgeous photo, Kitty!!! well done, feels a hand of a professional when looks on this your job