Personal Growth

I’m Doing Great, Thanks!

August 23, 2012

As I walked into a retail store recently to perform a mystery shopping job, I was greeted, “Hi, how are you?” The greeting seemed kind but robotic. I responded with a smile and a brief, “Fine, thanks.”

photo by Jer Kunz

“Oh rats!” I thought. “I didn’t mean to say that!”

A bit ago I determined within myself to say, “I’m great” in response to the “How are you” question. I have found it surprisingly hard.  It wasn’t that I didn’t feel great, I did. It was said more out of habit and the fact if I said I was great, I would be standing out from all the “I’m fine” people.

I find people look at me different when I say, “I’m great.” Either they light up and say, “That’s great!” Or they look at you with a blank stare and squinty eyes, skeptical of the word “great”.

We say things like “Have a great day,” or “You are so great” all the time. When it comes to describing how we are or feel, however, most people hardly ever say they are great.

I find most people think either they need to win a million dollars, or be on vacation in the Bahamas to describe themselves as great. The two hardly ever happen, so why not just decide to be great without them?

I actually wonder why we all don’t describe ourselves as great all the time. I understand we all have annoyances, heartaches, and disappointments. They do come. But, isn’t it great just to be alive? I mean, think of the alternative.

And if it’s not great to be alive, might I humbly suggest that you make some changes to point your life in the direction of greatness. That’s what we are doing and would love to have you join us! (You can do by subscribing to the site and “liking” us on Facebook!)

I find that when I say “I am great,” I do actually feel great. When I say “I’m OK,” I feel only, “OK.” When I say “I’m alright” or “I’m fine,” or “I’m hanging in there,” I feel exactly what each word states. Hmm, isn’t that interesting?

It is truly amazing how a small thing such as changing your response can bring about change in how we actually feel. It truly is the small things we consistently change now that will lead to big changes in the future.

Why not try “I’m great” on for size?

Question: Have you ever experimented with your response to the “How are you” question? Leave a reply in the comment section of this post.


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  • Reply Joe Lalonde August 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I’ve experimented with it but in the opposite way. If I was having a really crappy day, I’ve been known to let people know it. You get the same type of response you do if you tell them that you’re doing great. They look at you like you’re crazy for breaking the norm. 

    • Reply Claudia Good August 23, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Oh wow Joe… crazy! I’ve never tried that, but I guess it would get crazy reactions because most people just say it as a habit not because they want to know. 

      Haha, what gave you that idea?

      • Reply Joe Lalonde August 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

         Exactly Claudia. This was done at our church during handshaking. Where it’s ask how it’s going, shake hands, move on. To break the norm broke the thought pattern people had.

        I think I just felt like breaking the norm for awhile so I answered differently. It created some fun, I’ll tell you that!

    • Reply Michael Mendoza August 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Joe, really?!  I’m sorry to hear that.  Maybe you need some new friends.  I’m fairly transparent with my life with my friends and family.  Depending on the situation I’ve been known to share that I’m kind of down and what I’m dealing with.  Many times my friends or family engage me in conversation about it, pray for me, or at least try to sympathize.  

      • Reply Joe Lalonde August 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

         Yeah, really. But it’s okay. I normally did that during our handshaking time at church where it’s just expected that “I’m okay, you’re okay.” If I did it with people I really knew, I think they’d be down with it. Just not in a general setting.

  • Reply Ann Musico August 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Most times when people, especially someone in a store, says “how are you” they are not really expecting an honest response.  And I find the question and most times the answers are definitely just “habit”.  I have been trying to respond differently – great is one I do like and so is blessed.  Talk about getting some weird looks lol!  And your insight about how saying you feel great makes you actually feel great is really true.  So it’s definitely worth the effort to answer those queries with a thoughtful, honest response rather than just a mechanical “fine, thanks.”

    • Reply Claudia Good August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Oh I like “blessed” as well Ann! I know Dave Ramsey always says “Better than I deserve” 😉

      • Reply Ann Musico August 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

         Claudia I love that – “Better than I deserve” – that’s true every day!  I will definitely use that!

      • Reply Michael Mendoza August 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm

        Claudia, I like using blessed too.  It implies while life’s curve balls might be challenging you are trucking through it and God is on your side.  I believe the simple word is more encompassing than “fine.”  

  • Reply Michael Wright August 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Zig Ziglar always has some zingers for this question. One he uses is “Super Great, but I’m getting Better!”.  Can’t you imagine the response?  One of the past themes we’ve used at church is the concept of the “Fine Family”.  At small groups, when we go around as ask “how are things?” – often you get “Fine”.   The response is “Oh, so you’re part of the Fine Family, ‘eh?”….and generally more stuff comes out after that.  

    I agree with Ann’s comments.  It’s just a social norm to say “fine”.  I honestly believe most people do not even care to hear how we are really doing (if it’s negative), so why not throw out “Great” or “Blessed!”.  It’ll be a reminder to us that we really are blessed and might pick them up as well.

    • Reply Claudia Good August 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Haha, boy, I love Zig for that very reason! Blessings to you Michael!

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