“How are you doing?” “How’s it going?” “What’s happening?” “What’s shaking?” “What’s cracking?” “How’s it hanging?” “Ça va?” “¿Cómo estás?”
Pick the question above of your choice, and I’ll bet you hear that question dozens of times a day, if not hundreds. 9 out of 10 times, it’s a courtesy greeting; the person asking isn’t really expecting an answer from you. That’s why you’ll fire back “Good”, “Great”, “Fine”, “Okay”, “Not bad”, “Not too shabby”, “Pretty good”, “Not much”, “Same shit, different day”, etc. Just as the courtesy greeting doesn’t have any depth behind it, your answer 9 out of 10 times has no teeth to it either.
On the occasions when both parties ACTUALLY CARE about asking the question and answering the question, that’s where the rubber hits the road. I know that my answer is usually flippant, but as I sit down this evening to write this post, I feel like expounding a bit more on this subject – “How are you doing, Jason?”
Half-Full, or Half-Empty?
In a discussion today at work, when my opinion and color commentary was asked for, I offered the glass-half-empty viewpoint and the glass-half-full viewpoint. Both views could be wildly wrong; both views could be equally accurate. It really depended on the perspective that one chose. Ultimately, I was non-committal in this discussion because I felt that there was not enough information to be committal.
But when I think about me, just me… Today, right now, my glass is definitely half-full.
It’s All About Balance
When work is dominating my world, I have a tough time maintaining a sense of optimism. It doesn’t really matter if things are going well at work, or if I’m struggling. If work is the center of my universe, there are too many things to do, too many unresolved questions, too many demands… If it were always rosy, they wouldn’t have to pay you, right?
When work has to share my attention and my energy with something (good) that’s happening outside of work, it’s so much easier to maintain a sense of calm about work. I have that going on right now, and it feels good to have my mind on positive things, things that make me happy.
But how about when things aren’t going so good outside of work, or, as has generally been the case for me, there’s nothing going on outside of work?
For the record, I am not an alcoholic. Before anyone asks.
Nevertheless, I completely understand why the so-called “Serenity Prayer” is a core part of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
I’ve tacked this up in my office, and when frustrations hit for whatever reason, I read the words, then close my eyes and take a deep breath, let it out slowly. It’s usually enough for me to get my focus back and power on with whatever it is I’m doing.
I can’t solve every problem. I can’t win every battle. Many days, I’m not even invited to the fight! But, as I told a friend today, I can keep my head down, do what I think is right and in the company’s best interests, and live with the consequences. If it works out for the best, terrific. If it doesn’t… so be it.