“How are you?”  “How are you doing?”

We are asked these questions all the time, so much so that we don’t actually stop and think about the answer.

“I’m okay.”

When you were a young boy or girl, did you want to be “okay” when you grew up?  All of life was ahead of you, and it was going to be wonderful. There were adventures to be had, things to learn, and love to be discovered.  Somewhere along the line we learned to settle down and act responsible. Great was no longer an option, “fine” was about as good as it got. Everyone else was fine, so that must be normal.

I propose to you that “okay” or “fine” is no better than “absolutely shitty”.  If you are not able to answer “great!” and truly mean it, you have a problem.  Life is way too short to not be taking every step you can towards great. Taking the steps toward happiness, the steps toward peace, and the steps to living instead of just existing.  But we put off taking the steps because the stresses of daily life are blocking us at every turn.

Mounting stacks of bills

Trouble with our relationships

That evil thing called work

Raising our children

Taking care of our parents

Our health

We can’t possibly take steps toward great if we struggle just to be okay.

Eliminate all that is not essential from your daily grind. Sell stuff you don’t need and get ahead of the bills. As hard as it may seem, eliminate toxic or doomed relationships. If you hate your job, find one you can live with even if it means doing without things you thought were vital to your life (like cable TV or daily soy lattes).  Love your children and parents, and tell them that you will no longer be settling for a marginal life.  Take care of your mind and body like they are the only ones you will ever have.

I realize it sounds simple, but in reality can be immensely difficult. Taking the first little steps on the path to great will give you momentum, and momentum will give you bigger steps. Those steps will become easier and easier over time. Suddenly you find yourself answering with a huge smile and saying “I’m great!”smiley face

Take whatever steps you can. You don’t have forever.

About Brian McCarrel

I am the late, great middle class working stiff that is the framework of society. Notice I didn't say foundation, that would indicate my ego was over sized. I (like many of you) am a victim of my own desire to be what those around us think we should be. But more on that later ... And excuse the grammar, I'm NOT a professional.
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6 Responses to Great

  1. Another good one Brian🙂

    I always say I’m excellent! I’ve found that on those “just ok” days saying I’m excellent makes me feel more… excellent.

    But if I’m having a bad day I say that too. For me it’s better to be honest than try to pretend I’m happy when I’m not. If you’re pretending you have nothing frame of reference on which to improve your life. But if you’re honest. Well that you can do something about!

    • Brian McCarrel says:

      if I’m having a rough time of it I find it easier to say “great” or “outstanding” and force myself to smile, which tends to elevate my mood. I figure if I keep saying throughout the day eventually I’ll convince myself!

  2. tracysueoliver says:

    I experimented today, by asking those I work with, “How are you?” I asked one of my coworkers how he was, as he didn’t look like he felt well. When I prodded him beyond the natural response of, “fine”, I could tell there was more. Turned out both of his arms were numb and he didn’t feel well. I knew right away that was a warning flag for a heart attack. He left work to go to the hospital. I have not heard how he is and I pray and hope he is ok.The point is, if we are genuine in our intention, and we sincerely pay attention to the person we are directing our question to and the answer that comes back to us, rather than just blankly hearing the answer, we then have the opportunity to acknowledge another and make a difference. It just might be the difference of a lifetime.

    • Brian McCarrel says:

      It is so important to actually listen to yourself and others. One of the things all of us must do is be honest with ourselves; hence the message of the post in understanding that “fine” shouldn’t be acceptable. Your listening and understanding may have saved someone’s life.

  3. Berit Lindh says:

    Hi Brian!
    I always read your posts, and this one is exactly what I needed to hear today. I have been working on simplifying my life for quite some time now, and still from time to time I’m not sure if I may be out of my mind, since people around me are buying bigger houses, newer cars, the latest iPhone and so on. Your post helped me remember the feeling I have inside, that I want to continue this walk towards a simple life. I’m still not sure what my goal is – and that’s OK – as long as I know I’m headed in the right direction. Thanks!

    • Brian McCarrel says:

      I’m so glad you found some comfort in the post. Watching your friends and co-workers show off “stuff” can be frustrating, especially to an aspiring minimalist. Every day I have to remind myself I am on the right path for ME, and know in my heart what I am doing is going to pay off. That makes me feel “great”!

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