My fiancé and I implemented this one rule every single day together. We only allow ourselves to have one complaint per day. We did this to make sure our limited time together was spent in an optimistic way. Today, we’re sharing…

  • How this has changed our relationship
  • The WHY behind implementing a rule like this together
  • The unexpected learnings that came from this

If you’re wanting to live a more positive, optimistic life, this is for you!

My fiancé and I implemented our "one complaint" per day rule for a month, and here's what happened...

Podcast Episode


Facebook Live Replay


Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais:

So welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I’m your host, Leah. This is Adam.


Adam Pascarella: I’m Adam, hi guys.


Leah Gervais: We wanted to come together to talk to you guys about something today that we’ve been doing in our relationship and in our lives that we wanted to share with you. But first do you want to introduce yourself a little bit?


Adam Pascarella: Of course. Yeah, I think I was on an earlier version of this show. It wasn’t Your Biggest Vision, but it was something else that Leah was doing. I’m Adam, I’m her fiance. Obviously we’re getting married in October, so I’m very excited about that. As for me, I’m a former lawyer or I guess current lawyer, former practicing lawyer that left my job at a big corporate law firm to become an entrepreneur. My latest venture is I’m working on an equity research firm where I’m going to be evaluating companies, doing deep dive research and seeing if they’re cheap or overpriced, some very excited for that.


Leah Gervais: Thanks for sharing that, I’m proud of you. Yes, we’re both entrepreneurs. As you can tell, since we’re able to be here together on a Monday, we’re very lucky to have that flexibility. It’s an adventure, having two people in your life that are both entrepreneurs, but I’m happy that we get to share this journey together.


Adam Pascarella: It is, and in the past we’ve heard for instance, from some people, why don’t you work together? You should collaborate more. I think we do, but in our own unique way and I think that really caters to our strengths and our relationship and really what we’re looking for in our professional lives. At least that’s my perspective.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, I think we’ve hit a really good balance, but I think for every couple of you just have to know that it’s going to be different for you than it is for other couples and you have to do it your way. For me, I’m so grateful that you’re also an entrepreneur because I just am happy that I have you to talk to about everything that I do.

Adam Pascarella: Sometimes you may feel uncomfortable talking about certain issues with other people, you can rely on your spouse or fiance or boyfriend or girlfriend to get a different opinion.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. We still do our own things, which we think is important because we’re both very creative and so it would be hard to like co-create everything. Anyway, this is neither here nor there. Thanks for being here and introducing yourself. So what we’ve been doing and that we wanted to share with you is I’d say about a month ago we decided to implement a rule and kind of test it out to see how it would go to only allow each other to complain about one thing per day and only one time per day. So one complaint a day, it has been our rule and it’s been funny. I don’t know. We haven’t been that strict on it. I think at first we were a little more into it, but we still wanted to come talk about what it has been like, why we’re doing it and some of the unexpected things that have come along with it. So, I don’t remember exactly what the day was that we’re like, let’s start doing this. Do you?


Adam Pascarella: I don’t remember. It seems like this was a couple months ago, maybe two months ago. It was her idea. So I give Leah all of the credit because I wasn’t thinking about this. But yeah, I think there was some moment we were either in our apartment and we were out or something and to be totally honest, I think I was the one that was complaining and we weren’t fighting or anything, but we were having a discussion about what we talk about in our day to day lives. I think it’s fair to say that Leah is a very optimistic person. That’s one of the reasons why I love her so much. For me, I’m not necessarily a pessimist, but I do sometimes take a critical look at the world and I think that provides both advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes the disadvantages, you know, not necessarily affected our relationship in a serious way. But you could see some of those disadvantages. And that’s why Leah suggested that maybe we should think about complaining only one time per day and we kind of took it from there. It’s evolved in an interesting way since then, but overall it’s been a very good experiment and I’d highly recommend people do it.


Leah Gervais: I think when we are both so busy, we both work so much. I think that we’re definitely busier than when, well, when we met, we both were working in nine, five jobs. Like he said he was a lawyer, I was working at a law firm and we’re much busier now that we work for ourselves. So, you know, you only have so much time in the day together. You only have so many hours in the day to spend together. You don’t want to spend that time complaining. You want to talk about exciting things that are going on. And I think that it’s only human nature or I guess I’ve kind of argue that, but I think a lot of people tend to just vent about things and that’s normal. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but we just wanted to be a bit more intentional about what we were talking about when we’re together because we don’t get to talk all that much. We just, were very busy. We wanted to like make sure that when we were spending time together it was talking about optimistic things. I think also for those of you that are entrepreneurs, you know how important it is to have a really strong mindset and how you cannot entertain your doubt or things that are holding you back or things that might go wrong. So we wanted to get any potential conversations like that out of our conversation and just really stay in a place of supporting each other and staying optimistic and excited about the possibilities of things that could happen. And I think that that’s happened. I think we have gotten more optimistic, I don’t know if you think so.


Adam Pascarella: I do think so. I’m not sure if you want to get into the nitty gritty of what we actually do, but I do like the fact that it’s only one complaint per day, you know, you could potentially increase that. You can make it five or ten complaints a day and maybe you’d feel a little bit more comfortable with that and maybe I would as well. But having it just one complaint for 24 hours, it makes it almost a little bit more strategic in the way we have conversations with each other and the one thing that you’re going to vent or complain about. So I think that’s actually a very valuable part of the exercise. It’s not zero complaints because I think that’s kind of impossible. You can’t go throughout your day to day life not complaining anything and being totally positive about life. So I think that’s kind of the impossible. You can do it maybe a couple of days in a row, but after a while, you know, life can sometimes be hard and I don’t think you should necessarily hide that. But having one complaint, limiting it to one thing I think is pretty cool.


Leah Gervais: I actually agree and I think before we did this I would’ve pushed back on that and said let’s try no complaints because I would rather have none. That was kind of my reaction. But one of the things that has come out of this that I didn’t really anticipate going in or I wouldn’t have expected, but I think is really a good thing, is we started to see patterns. So we started thinking, okay what am I complained three times about this week or what has been like my one complaint for the past, you know within 10 days or something several times. Because if things are a pattern, that’s a very good sign that you need to stop doing it or that you need to take a lot of action and get it out of your life or that you really need to be proactive. Like if your complaint is something kind of offhanded like maybe you’re sore or you know you’re in pain or like you didn’t want to go to the gym or whatever, that’s fine. But if you start really feeling like you’re complaining about the same things over and over again and that’s like worth your one complaint, then it might be something that you really can be and should be changing and you might not have had the drive to do so unless you really started to get the self awareness to notice that you’re, you’re constantly complaining about it.


Adam Pascarella: Yeah. It’s not only self awareness too, it’s actually both of us calling out each other.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. Keeping accountable.


Adam Pascarella: It requires you obviously, to listen to what the other person is saying and gathering some insight after a couple of days of doing this, but at least from my end, I know you’ve helped me recognize certain things that I don’t particularly enjoy doing that I’ve complained about a couple of times in a row and I made changes because of that. And so it does require the other person to listen and to have a genuine interest in what you’re saying and what you’re complaining about. But once you gather those insights and put them into action, that can be very valuable.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think usually, especially when we were starting out, our one complaint would go one of two ways, like one or the other would complain about something and then we’d say, Oh, is that your complaint? And then you either you as the complainer either have one or two reactions. Either you go, oh my God, no, I take it back, I didn’t realize I was complaining and you were just kind of doing it on autopilot. But that’s a good lesson to learn because then you realize like that you might be complaining and not realizing it and no one wants to do that. Or we kind of sometimes had opposite reactions where we’d be like, you know what? Yep, that is my complaint. Like, I don’t want to do this or this sucks, or whatever. I think when you can start, you know, owning that and realizing that this is worth complaining, that’s when it’s worth taking a step back and thinking if it’s worth complaining about and I feel really strongly that I should complain about it. Maybe I should get rid of it in my life.


Adam Pascarella: Yeah. The one thing that I’ve encountered through doing this, and I don’t have a clear answer or solution for it yet, but there’s almost a fine line between complaints and observations. I have to kind of use that as a loophole sometimes to escape, if I’ve used my one complaint already.So that’s just something to think about. You may observe like if you’re standing in line for for coffee, I got coffee this morning and it took a long time to get it and that was observing. This line is really long. They’re a lot of people in here. Maybe these people behind the counter could be doing a better job. That’s an observation. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily a complaint. Again, I don’t have any answer to any of this, but this is just something that I’ve encountered through doing it.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. It’s more of that self awareness that we talked about because you might not realize that observations that you’re saying, like any of us, I’m not talking about you, but like any of us, we might not realize that if we’re just observing, we’re kind of talking for small talk or whatever. If you’re not careful, they might sound negative and do you want to be the person that’s just like negative? I don’t, I certainly don’t. So that’s why this is helpful because I can start to think are things that I’m just sort of saying off the cuff and not really thinking about are they actually negative things and how can I change?


Adam Pascarella: I think that’s a really, really important point. It’s almost rewiring your brain in that instance. And yeah, it’s easy to go through life. Not even sharing your complaints with another person, just thinking in your mind, oh this sucks. this isn’t, this isn’t what I want to do. And those subtle thoughts are going to influence what you actually say and your behaviors. And so having this one complaint, even just trying to limit yourself to one, even if you don’t necessarily abide by it every single day, having that goal is going to put you miles ahead of other people. I Truly believe.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, and if you start getting into a place where you’re thinking, well, this isn’t really a complaint, I’m sort of just observing it, I’m going to use your example not to target you. The example of standing in line at Starbucks. I’m thinking it’s Monday morning, this is taking a long time, I don’t really want to stand in this line. Even if you’re not really doing it in a complaining way. But if those are the thoughts going through your head, relatively innocent, right? No one wants to stand in line for coffee. How can you switch those thoughts with, it’s Monday, it’s a new week. I’m so excited for the things in this week. We’re in New York City, best city in the world. I’m so lucky to be getting coffee here. You know, those are observations too. So you get to choose what you’re choosing to pay attention to in terms of what you observe and what you fill your head with and then eventually what you speak. And you know, I really believe and I think you do too, that what you speak really will attract kind of the people in situations that come into your life and you don’t want to be drawing in all this negativity because you’re speaking negatively. This is a good way to get around that.


Adam Pascarella: So let me ask you a question, Leah. Your Biggest Vision, this is the show titl. For viewers or listeners to this, either now or later on, they’re thinking this sounds really interesting. They may want to do it. What are some of the traps that you’ve fallen in while doing this and how can they avoid those traps? I guess for me, it was just the fine line between observation and complaining and I don’t have a clear answer for that, but in your experience doing this, have you tripped up at any point and if so, how can people avoid those traps?


Leah Gervais: In trying to complain less specifically?


Adam Pascarella: In trying to either follow what our arrangement is, trying to have one complaint a day, or trying to share our thoughts with each other, or trying to help each other. Throughout this entire process, what is something that you’d want to avoid if you could do it over again?


Leah Gervais: Well, I think one thing I have to look out for and that I’m still learning kind of in general, but that applies to this is, you know, as we kind of talked about, I’m always wanting to be very positive. But it’s important to not repress your feelings or like the bad things that might be going on. The very normal things. I think that was a really big lesson for me in this, like I just told you, if it were up to me, I would say no complaints a day, but then I wouldn’t be learning everything that we’re learning. I wouldn’t notice if I am complaining more than once. So I think my advice, if you’re doing something like this, something that I want to get better with and you know, maybe we can talk about more together as we do this is just going into it with a really like sort of playful and exploratory and curious mindset instead of getting mad at yourself or complaining or feeling like you have to complain less or having any intensity around it or like even judgment around it. I think if you can go into it, just trying to see, you know, what am I really thinking? How can I be more self aware of what is going to help my life? The more fun it’s going to be and the better results you’re going to get in, the more you’re going to learn. Is that helpful?


Adam Pascarella: Yeah, that answers my question. Yeah. I’m just trying to take the perspective of the viewers. If they want to get started with this. I think another advantage that we have is that, we’ve both bought into this program and we have such a strong relationship and some viewers out there may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend or they might not be married. They may have a close friend or two that may want to buy into this. So I think just just staying committed can be an issue potentially. So you’re gonna have to figure out a way to make sure your partner or partners, whoever joins you is really all in for this type of program. It’s also helpful for us too because we spend a lot of time together and we can call each other out on these sorts of things. If you’re a partner in this program is someone that you don’t see every day or is someone even in a different city? I think it can be easier to complain a little bit more because they may not necessarily call you out. You could be on the phone with them for for say 10 or 15 minutes a day and I think anyone can avoid complaining if they really want to for 10 or 15 minutes. But it’s not necessarily the objective of this program. So that’s, that’s just something to think about as well.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, I think accountability is key. That’s a good point. We’re really lucky that we obviously live together, we’re together a lot, we’re getting married. So we have each other to talk to about this a lot. And that I think has really helped. But, I also think that the reason that this works is because we really both want to do this. We have a “why”, we care about the kind of people we are. We care about how we’re acting in front of other people. We don’t want to be- gratitude is really important to both of us. We’re always talking about and making sure that we are feeling really observant and grateful for the things in our life. And this is sort of a way that you can express that you’re a grateful person day to day, but just making sure that you’re talking in alignment with that belief. So if you do want to do something like this, if you want to start doing more mindfulness about your own positivity, have a really big reason for why you want to do it. I don’t think it’s going to work. If you just sort of say that’s kind of a cool experiment, maybe I’ll try it or whatever. Like you have to really care about why you’re doing it and your reason can be different than ours. It’s not that about having a right reason, but you should have a “why” behind it. And I think that’s the biggest accountability of all is really having a motivator and a reason you want to do this.


Adam Pascarella: Yeah. To add on to that, tying it to some goal you have. It may not even necessarily be a career or professional goal. I think for us the goal was to strengthen our relationship and just to share a more positive mindset, not saying we didn’t have one, but just become even more positive. So tying it with some goal I think can make it easier to follow because there have been times, at least from my perspective, that I want to complain more than once per day and sometimes you can slip up and like I was saying, I think that that does happen, but even just committing yourself to following this program, even if you don’t necessarily follow it every day, it’s going to put you in a much better position than if you decided not to do it.


Leah Gervais: I also think, now that I’m thinking about it, I think maybe one of the reasons we started doing this was because we were planning our wedding and we have this very strong perspective. You know, everyone says planning a wedding is very stressful and there’s so much to it and it’s so complicated and it is, there’s a lot to it. But we really feel like there is no reason we will not tolerate each other. I won’t tolerate myself really getting stressed out about it. It is a blessing to get married. It is a blessing that we’re having a wedding. It’s a blessing that we have each other. I am not going to let myself get stressed about something that is such an amazing thing. So that was something I really started to monitor myself with. I mean, you actually feel like, you know, haven’t gotten as stressed as I. I think it’s more natural for the bride to get more stressed. But I just really said, over the past couple of weeks and months especially, had to say I’m not indulging in this. I’m not going to get stressed out about it. But that same concept really can apply to almost anything in life. I mean wedding is pretty obvious. Like obviously that’s a huge blessing, but really your business is a blessing. Getting to run it is a blessing. So if you’re complaining about it, that’s not really the way that you want to go about that. Anything in life, getting to exercise, getting to eat healthy, getting to take care of yourself. I understand that we’re all human and we all have times when they’re frustrating, but if you can just reframe, you know, your way of thinking to think that it is a gift that you get to do this and act in accordance with that. You’re going to be so much more of a powerful person. There’s nothing empowering about putting yourself in a situation, like if you’re an entrepreneur, you chose to be an entrepreneur and then complaining about a situation you put yourself in. And if you have big dreams, you have a big vision, that’s what my whole show is about. You need to be very empowered. So these little things day to day might sound like they’re just one off complaints. But if you’re knocking down something you’ve done for yourself or position, you’ve put yourself in slowly with every little knock, you know, you are disempowering yourself. So, it seems small, but it speaks to a bigger thing.


Adam Pascarella: I agree. I don’t know how much more time we have, but let’s say if a viewer is watching this and is really buying in, they are really enthusiastic about doing this. So they found an accountability partner, so to speak, and they’re ready to go and say like a week or two into it, they face like a really objectively stressful situation. Maybe more than one, maybe something really bad happens and they’re struggling too to follow this like they really want to, but objectively, the circumstances have gotten worse for whatever reason. What advice would you have for those people?


Leah Gervais: I think, you know, let yourself feel. Let yourself be upset. It’s okay. It’s good to process your emotions and most importantly, don’t throw in the towel if you end up complaining several times in one day. Tomorrow’s a new day. You can start again. It’s just one day. Don’t make it mean more than it does. You know, we all make mistakes. It’s like that with everything. It’s like that with dieting. If you’re trying to lose weight or whatever and you slip up one day, that doesn’t mean your diets over, it just means the next day you kind of need to reset it. Back to your hypothetical situation, if someone is going through something and they’re really starting to realize how the importance of positivity and the importance of the way you speak and all that kind of thing, if you’re struggling with the mindset around it and you do come up with an objectively difficult situation or an obstacle, the first thing you want to do, or maybe not the first thing, but the bottom line of the place you want to get to, always is that you are responsible for the situation that you’re in. I don’t mean that to be insensitive. You know, sometimes bad things really do happen to good people and things that are seemingly out of your control. But the sooner you take more responsibility for the situation that’s where you’re going to be able to get out of the situation. You’re not really going to be able to change if you don’t think you have any power to change. So you can be upset, you can cry, you can vent, you can have a cocktail, like whatever. But so long as the conclusion you come to is a place of knowing that you got yourself in that situation and it’s okay because now you can get yourself out.


Adam Pascarella: I think that’s a great answer. I’m targeting on the point you made about dieting and setting a goal. I’ve thought about goals and the sort of things accomplishing my career goals and personal goals. And there’s a difference between a goal and a process. And that’s what I’ve discovered since I left my day to day a law firm job. You may trip up on the day to day goal, but if you have a good process that you’re following and you follow it every single day, then that is going to get you to your ultimate goal. There are a bunch of books on this. I don’t know if you have show notes on this. I can add them to the show notes. But focus on your process and like Leah was saying, you may trip up on your goal for a day or two or even longer than that. But if you’re chipping away,  and if you’re following your process and chipping away at that goal, it’s going to happen. I hope that kind of made sense. But there are a couple of books on the difference between goals and processes and I refer your viewers to read them.


Leah Gervais: I think that’s a really good point and I think something we’ve both kind of come into in our journeys. I think when we started out as entrepreneurs,we have different paths, but like we put, we’ve gone through a lot together. We both were so goal oriented, he went to law school, you worked at it, you were working at a big law firm. He had accomplished so many checkbox things like really amazing things. I had recently graduated from school so we were very into our goals and I think it’s been interesting. I think we’ve both really switched over to falling more in love with the journey and with the process and stop obsessing over to the next goal. Cause like we did that for a while and it’s exhausting. Really when you’re an entrepreneur or going through any sort of transformation, that’s what, you know, Your Biggest Vision is all about, any transformation. You have to love the actual process of transforming because otherwise you’re going to get to your goal and sort of feel like, okay, well now what? I’m not really fulfilled and no one wants that. Do you think we’ve become more process oriented?


Adam Pascarella: I hope to think so. Yeah, it’d because I just think it’s a better route to accomplish what you really want to do. So, yeah, you absolutely have. I’m working on it.


Leah Gervais: I’m working on it too.


Adam Pascarella: Even a process is a process so I’m working on it.


Leah Gervais: It is. It is and it’s not the easiest thing, especially when, yeah, you are maybe more Type A and you’ve kind of just gone your whole life checking things off your metaphorical to do lists. But it is a much more joyous way to live if you can sort of fall in love with the process and the journey and with the way that you’re getting there and you’ll discover so much more along the way to your goal. You can get maybe even a bigger goal if you kind of think of it in that way and don’t just like have this closed off vision to anything but that milestone. So I guess we kind of got a little bit away from our one campaign. But, this is kind of our mindset and we hope that in sharing this, you guys kind of see our why behind this and why this is so important to us and I think that that’s why it’s worked because it does have a lot of meaning to us. It’s more than just like only complaining once a day, trying to cut out negativity in our life, it is that. But as you guys can see this, it really means a lot to us in terms of the kind of people we want to be and the kind of business owners we want to be, the kind of soon to be husband and wife we want to be. So there’s a lot to it for us. I think that that’s why it’s worked and we hope that this has inspired you guys or someone that you want to do this with, to start if that’s what calls you and there’s so many different ways you can do it. You know, he was saying we could do five complaints a day. You don’t have to do complaints. Something else you could do is just reflect like what was one tough thing that happened today or something I didn’t want to do today. And the rest of the time try to just focus on, you know, replacing your negative observations with positive ones. Like whatever we make sense to you and clicks with you cause it’s more important that you actually stick with it then do exactly what we did that this is how it came to be. Maybe we’ll keep you guys posted in a couple of months because I’m sure it will evolve and we’ll find out more about it.


Adam Pascarella: Yeah, maybe we’ll get to zero complaints, we’ll see what happens at least we’re at one for now.


Leah Gervais: Definitely with our wedding I want to get to zero complaints, which is only going to get harder as the sooner that everything ramps up.


Adam Pascarella: I do have to say last night was the Battle of Winter Throne, Game of Thrones episode. I may have already used up my complaint today.


Leah Gervais: Is your complaint that no one died?


Adam Pascarella: Maybe, maybe. You’ve got to be strategic about your complaints. Don’t forget about that.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, some days we don’t have complaints. I will say it’s not like we’re like, what was your one complaint today? It’s not, you know, some sometimes we don’t complain at all. Yeah. So yeah, it’s been great.


Adam Pascarella: Yeah, it’s been good.


Leah Gervais: Okay, well thanks for doing this.


Adam Pascarella: Thanks for the invite. I appreciate it.


Leah Gervais: It’s a lot of fun. All right, well, thank you guys so much for tuning in as always, and thanks for being here with us live. If you listen to this replay, then I hope you subscribe to my podcast and I do these live every Monday at 10:00 AM usually just me, but maybe you’ll have to come on a bit more, it’s been great. We hope you have a great week. Here is your biggest vision. We’ll talk to you guys later.

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