May 18, 2012

People Who've Inspired Me: Will Bowen

I've been blogging since 1999.  Of course, we didn't call them blogs back in those days.  They were just regular old websites.

In the thirteen years since I started posting web pages, I've met some pretty interesting people on the internet.

I just saw a great Facebook Post from one of those people which inspired me to start a new series of posts about People Who've Inspired Me.

The first guy I'd like to write about is named Will Bowen.

You may remember seeing Will on the Today Show:

Here's what his website, A Complaint Free World, has to say about him:

In July 2006 Will Bowen offered a simple idea for people to monitor their success at eradicating complaining from their lives. His idea exploded around the world and nearly 6 million purple Complaint Free bracelets have been sent to people in more than 106 countries.

Bowen has been featured on Oprah, NBC's The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, The ABC Evening News, Fox News Channel and in hundreds of TV and radio interviews around the world. Stories about him and the movement he created have been written about in over 200 newspapers, "People" magazine, "O" magazine, "Self" magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

His first book, "A Complaint Free World," published in October, 2007 by Doubleday, is an international bestseller . The book has been published in more 14 foreign countries to date and is an audio book, read by Bowen, published by Random House Audio. His second book, "Complaint Free Relationships" was published December 2009 by Doubleday.

I first heard from Will back in 2003.  I couldn't find the original emails he wrote me, but this was one of the early ones I found from March of 2004.

Hi, Shortarmguy (sorry 'don't recall your real name),
You may not remember me but I've emailed you a few times (sent you some photos and videos you put on your site). 
I build web sites and I'm a minister.  This may surprise you but I can't wait until after giving my Sunday sermon to then come home and check to see your weekly updates.  And, one Christmas, my dad, two brothers and myself spent hours on your site going back through the archives and laughing like mental patients.Will

Link To Original Email

In January, 2007, I received another email from him about a new project he was developing that was starting to generate a lot of excitement:

Hi, Todd.
I've emailed you a couple of times over the years.  I really enjoy your web site.  I'm a minister and find your humor enjoyable (we all have a dark/fun side and I resonate with what you present).  In addition to your web site, I also really enjoy your spirit.  You seem like a really good guy and I like your positive spin on things.
To that end, I wanted to share something with you that you might pass along should you wish to pass along.  Back in July, I encouraged our church members to eradicate complaining, criticizing and gossiping from their lives.  When you complain, you attract more of what you don't want. If you focus on what you want, you'll attract that into your life. 
Our church is small--about 200 a Sunday.  To help them get the lesson, we gave everyone a purple wrist band/bracelet to wear.  Scientists say it takes 21 days to form a new habit so they were invited to go 21 consecutive days without complaining, criticizing or gossiping. They were encouraged to wear the bracelet and and, when they caught themselves complaining (we all do it), then to switch the bracelet to their other wrist and begin again.  It's tough, but people who have made it say that it has change their lives forever.
The Kansas City Star wrote a story about this and it was picked up by 64 papers around the world (including Stars and Stripes!).  We've now sent out nearly 60,000 "Complaint-Free Bracelets" to every state in the US as well as to Australia, South Africa, Germany, Ireland and Belgium and Canada. 
Tomorrow, a reporter from the LA Times is flying in to do a story about The Complaint Free movement for the national edition of their paper.  You can check out our web site: www.AComplaintFreeWorld.orgto get more information.
Share this with your readers if you'd like. 
Thanks, Todd.  You're great.
Love and Blessings,
Will Bowen

Link To Original Email:

Will and I traded emails throughout the period he rose to International Fame.  

Nice Email of the Week
Many of you will remember my email from a couple of weeks ago from Will Bowen and his ministry's mission to create a complaint free world.
Here's an update from Will:
The LA Times article published yesterday.  After it hit, we received nearly 10,000 bracelet requests in less than 24 hours.  I've ordered another 57,000 bracelets which should be here in the next two weeks making our total now over 125,000 purple bracelets to 6 countries in 6 months.  The best part is, a friend asked me how many times a day I, personally, was complaining when I started this.  I said, "I was switching my bracelet about 20 times a day."  He said, "So, you've sent out 125,000 bracelets in 6 months, multiplied by 20 complaints a day....IMAGINE how many complaints you've taken out of the world in that time."
It's a great thought. 
Love and Blessings,
Will Bowen

Link To Original Email

Nice Emails of the Week
Congratulations to my friend, Will Bowen, and his Complaint Free World Movement!  They've now had more than a million requests for their purple bracelets!!  Will has been in contact with Oprah and there's a good chance he'll appear on her show at some point in the future!  It's such a great mission and it makes me so happy that it's getting the attention it deserves!
My personal attempt at a complaint free life is not going so hot.
I do pretty good on the weekends, but for some reason going back to work in the crazy computer business brings out my angry side!
But I'll keep trying...

Link To Original Post:

Will also sent me a copy of the book to shill on my website although I doubt it helped him all that much.  It still felt so cool to think I was part of his movement and watch him as his message rapidly was spread around the world!

I was honored this week to receive my Pre-Release copy of "A Complaint Free World" by my old friend, Will Bowen.

If you look at the number of bracelets in the second letter above, he says his church had given away more than 60,000 bracelets.  Today, his church has given away nearly 10,000,000 bracelets!  See Here.  And they're still going strong!

 On Facebook, I just saw a post from Will.  It inspired me to look up his old emails and live through some memories of having an insider account of what it was like for someone who's experiencing the rush of becoming the leader of a worldwide movement. 

And today, Will looks like he's on top of the world. 

His Facebook post shows somebody who looks to be enjoying life and reaping some of it's finest rewards.  

He certainly deserves it after inspiring so many people in the world to lead better lives.

Including myself.

Thanks, Will!

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