Why is it when you’re asked “how are you today ?” you just say ‘fine thanks’. Truth is, you yearn inside wanting to say forbidding things like.. “I feel like crap” or “I just want to curl up and die” more often than not… it’s simply “bugger off!!” This started me thinking…. How am I really today? Sad, happy, hurt, angry.. or simply going through the daily motions. Sadly for most of us, it’s the latter. Even sadder is that when we are asked how we are, we just say ‘good thanks’ Most of us brush it off with a bit of grumpy rhetoric! Truth is, most of us are far from good.. So, it started me thinking.. What would happen if we changed the way we responded to people? I decided to give it a go! To be honest, it was hard going! I’m pretty much a ‘keep it to my self type of guy.. If I’m not feeling on top of things and someone bounces up to me and asks “How’s it going?” I’ll smile and say “great” There might be a hundred and one reasons why I respond in this way. The simple plain fact is, I just can’t be bothered engaging with this bright eyed bubbly over the top individual, who for all I know may just have won the lottery!
So, after some careful self analysis and evaluation, (I’ve already been told I’m a grumpy old fart!) I decided to change the way I reacted to people that asked “how are you today?” Before I even ventured out, I get a phone call from a telemarketer.. “Hi it’s Mark here how are you this morning?” My golden opportunity to put my new found positiveness into action.. “Oh hi Mark, thanks for calling and asking how I am… Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not feeling all that great this morning, was awake all night worrying about my Guinea Pigs!” Silence… then a compassionate ‘are they OK?’ “No not really” I reply, “Studmuffin and Snickerdoodle got out during the night and I think they were bullied by Jack Hammer and Goliath” he gasped “ooooh!!” (this guys good, right in there with me!!) Then I opened the flood-gates and poured out a few soft sob’s.. “I’m very upset, I hope the poor wee darlings are going to be all right” (sob). At this point, Mark was displaying all the right emotions with his responses.. He had pretty much forgotten the reason for his call and was assuaging me about the imaginary Guinea Pigs and their plight.. “Look” he said, “I don’t know too much about Guinea Pigs, but I’m sure it’s just a territorial thing and you sound like a lovely gentleman that cares very much about your animals, so I’m sure everything will be fine” “Thank you so much” I said, trying to sound sincere.. He chimed in with “I’m glad I was here to listen.. Look, go and make a cuppa and just relax! Is there someone you can call?” “Yes,” I said. “Good, now make sure you have a nice cuppa then call your friend” he said with sincerity. “I’ll let you go, but please don’t worry…it’s going to be fine!!”
After Mark hung up, I stopped and processed what had just happened… By simply changing the way I responded, Mark forgot about his job and became a caring benevolent person, concerned about my Guinea Pigs and more so, my well being. My response could have been very different… and curt! Time to venture into the city. Next person was the train guard. “How are ya mate, where ya going?’ “To the city buddy, and how are you this beautiful morning?” That clinched it!! Off he went, he didn’t want to be here, despite his 100k plus salary… He wanted to be with his daughter…. she was having treatment for breast cancer.. He was sad that he couldn’t be with her, but he knew that by being at work, he was contributing to the cost of her treatment… She was just 32.. I immediately offered him my best wishes for a successful outcome.. He thanked me and went about is duties with just a hint of a smile.. I felt good! All of a sudden it was dawning on me… I had to be the one to make the changes… I had to shift my focus from a negative one to a positive one and I was learning by taking a chance on a stranger.. All of a sudden, I began to feel good….really good! It made me smile inside and I began to get it..
You see, everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into our lives just by mere coincidence…. So, trust your instincts… Do the unexpected.. Find the others!! When someone asks you “How are you today?’ Remember…..“If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people”