Why My Lunch Will Never Be Better Than Great
I first wrote this short piece as a joke, but then realized that I was so guilty of overusing powerful words that it wasn’t a joke at all.
Yesterday when I went to my favorite restaurant, I ordered my favorite meal, and had the highest expectations of what it was going to be. It wasn’t life changing. It wasn’t unbelievable, and it wasn’t incredible.
It was great.
It did what my meal was supposed to do. I was full and didn’t have to eat for another 5 hours at least!
Sounds like a typical lunch right? That time of the day where we need to be full again, so we stuff our face until we don’t have that feeling anymore. Where is the problem?
Well, I didn’t say my lunch was great. What I said was that my lunch was phenomenal. I may have even said that it was ‘amazing’ or ‘outstanding’.
Eric. Its lunch. Relax. Holy.
Because what happened next is that I checked my social feed to see that a friend who had been trying to get pregnant for two years finally did.
After that, I got an invitation to a wedding of two friends who had been dating for years and finally decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. The rest of their lives.
To find that? Incredible. So happy for them.
Then I found out that I had been scouted for a second TEDx – one much bigger than before. Again, no audition. Straight to the stage.
I find that unbelievable.
But lunch. Come on.
When our server comes by and asks how our meal is, I will now say that it is great, thank them, and be satisfied knowing that I used a word that still bought me room to describe something potentially much bigger and important than a kale salad that I forgot about 20 minutes later.
Too often I hear myself and the people around me tell me how incredible things are. I hear that the coffee they are drinking is the best coffee in the world and that last night was the best time EVER.
But was it?
Not for a second would I suggest that the night (or coffee) wasn’t great, but what happens when the truly amazing things happen? How can I understand the difference between a good coffee and the feeling of something that will actually have significant positive impact on our lives if we use the same words to describe them?
And when we apply this to the work we are doing and we tell people things are as good as they could be, are we hiding what is really happening? Are we fearful of being vulnerable and exposed? Talking from experience I’ve found it easy for people to avoid questioning things when I tell them things are amazing, right? What can they possibly ask? Why? Well, I’d reply that things are moving along, that they are busy (another hated buzz word of mine), and that everything is just great.
Are they though?
Is the conversation really of any substance if that is the case?
Do you really get to know what is going on in my life? Do I know what is going on in yours?
Probably not, because there isn’t anything wrong. That can’t be.
So when I wake up tomorrow and am asked how my day is going so far, I’ll probably tell you that its great.
Things are going really well, thanks for asking.
That I’m happy having not ran into the corner of the coffee table and bruised my thigh (yet).
That life and work are going just fine.
But unless things are incredible, amazing, the absolute BEST, phenomenal or unbelievable, just know that my vocabulary isn’t big enough to use those words on something that doesn’t quite warrant them.
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