Guest challenge: ‘no complaints’

This month’s guest challenge is from Michael Burton. Michael is a charismatic playwright and a stranger I had the fortune of befriending last month. 


Habits are persistent little sods aren’t they? Especially the bad ones. That’s why, a year ago, I decided to do a month without Pepsi. 


Things had gotten bad. I had swan-dived, face first, into a downward spiral of Pepsi-mania. Pepsi for breakfast, Pepsi in the side alleys, Pepsi between breaths. Pepsi risotto. Pepsi bubble bath. Pepsi Pepsi Pepsi

This is not product placement. 



I was consuming around 8 cans a day, something like that. So I decided to do a month without, to help me cut down and just for the challenge. 


And I did it! 


I’ve actually not drank Pepsi since, except for once or twice on a night out. 


Since then I’ve also done a month vegetarian (vegetarians will find this easy), a month without alcohol, a month without chocolate and (against my will) a month without sex. I completed all the challenges and I can honestly (arrogantly) say that I found them easy. But then I met Alice…


It was at a party. The theme was “bad taste”. Me and my flatmate put a fresh spin on it and dressed up in our finest clobber and went as the Aristocrats. If you don’t know the Aristocrats, it’s the foulest joke ever that is more or less improvised every time. 


So, after appalling a few people who thought the idea was just to wear green and orange together (it was), I was befriended by Alice. She was cool (don’t tell her) so I chatted to her for a while. She told me I was her ‘stranger of the day’ last month. Sounds promiscuous but it’s not. It was then that I found out about this blog. 



Feeling inspired by Alice’s general nature, I decided it was time to undertake another challenge…


A few days later, I heard about the ’21 Day No Complaint Challenge’. It’s not even a month, and I’m a pretty positive chap, so I coaxed my flatmate into doing it with me and the challenge began. 


Now, normally it goes that if you complain you have to give the person you complain to a pound. But, given that there’s a paucity of pounds in our household we decided that if either one of us complains we start again. 


We’re currently on day 3 of the 4th retry – 2 complaints apiece.


What I didn’t realise was that as soon as you undertake this challenge the universe conspires against you in very creative ways…


I’ve had people knocking on the door at 5am intermittently for an hour, builders that have let pets escape, friends leave me stranded in London, a toilet leak on my face, money disappear from my account before it should have and my dog crap in front of me then promptly run off. And only ONE of these things caused me to complain. 


(Trying not to cry over spilt milk)

Who knows what the next 17 days hold? Will the challenge ever end? Have I learned anything? I think I have.

It’s a great challenge to try. You become very solution oriented and learn to very quickly let things go. I never realised how much a little irritant is drawn out by complaining. It’s also incredible to watch how much people bond through complaint. I hope people are enjoying spending time around me more as I can only be positive. 


I recommend this challenge to anyone who wants to become more aware of their own patience and others’ behaviour. 


I also suggest cutting down on the Pepsi risottos. You’ll feel better for it. 




Are you undertaking a challenge and fancy being next month’s guest blogger? 

Or do you want to challenge me?

Drop me a line at

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