“Hey John how are ya doin’?” … “Excellent!” … or “great“, or “couldn’t be better”!
This is how I respond to the typical office greeting. If you ask anyone at my work I’m probably one of the happiest, most content, easy going guys around. I’m always doing “excellent!”
Is it true? NO!
Like everyone some days I’m royally pissed at someone, or frustrated at one or another of the seemingly constant parade of obstacles that pop up at work out of nowhere and slow me down or totally block any hope of getting something done. Other days I haul my tired ass in to work exhausted from staying out too late the night before, or just because because I would rather be anywhere than a soul-destroying cubicle farm; yet when asked how things are going… “Excellent!”
Is this phony? Is it fake? Does it make me liar? Sometimes… maybe… not necessarily.
Why do I do it? It’s quite simple on one level; who wants to hear a belly-acher complain? When someone asks “How are ya doin’?” they generally don’t expect an actual review of your day, or want to know whether or not you are happy or sad or angry. It’s a simple greeting. I could respond in some bland way as I used to: “Not bad”, “I’m ok” or I could even respond negatively as I might have years ago before I found the “excellent!” secret to happiness with, “Can’t wait to get outta here”, “Five o’clock can’t come soon enough”, “Nine years to go!” and worse.
Instead, with an “Excellent!” the other person, my co-worker who might be expecting a grumble, or who might be grumbling themself ends up with a dose of good medicine. They seem surprised and it probably shakes them up a little tiny bit. What? There’s someone that happy in the office?! Hmm…. maybe it makes them stop and reevaluate their frame of reference for the day. “Maybe it’s not so bad after all. Maybe I’m excellent too?”
A second benefit is that by saying it, by repeating this concept through a smile and firm statement when asked about my day, it actually affects my mood. It’s like a satsifaction virus that spreads through my soul as I scurry about the office. As the day goes on it gets easier and easier to be pleasant with people and to treat them kindly and respectfully. The result is that I never have an issue approaching someone for a request. There’s never any “baggage” from previous negativity.
It’s like a grease for the machine that keeps my workday moving.
Cynical people make note; if I seem to be listening I while you complain don’t be alarmed by the glazed over look in my eye as I’m probably far away thinking about something that is going to make my day great. Carry on, and I hope your day becomes excellent!