after admiring a well-adjusted infant, i grew curious.
“mom,” i asked, “what was i like as a baby?”
besides confirming the wisdom of “don’t fish for compliments,” this conversation drew my attention to the lameness of “fine.”
after a jaunt through the thesaurus, i confirmed that as a “fine” infant, i was…standard, decent, acceptable, sufficient, tolerable, admissible, and up to code.
while my fineness is now a family joke i do not take personally, i’m glad i got my mediocrity out of the way early. coasting along as “fine” is only ok in infancy. luckily, humans hardwired to protect babies’ high, Mickey Mouse foreheads, rolls of fat, and general innocence were in charge and willing to put up with their less-than-stellar disposition.
yet we constantly brand ourselves as fine. i hear it all the time: “how are you?” “i’m fine.”
really? that’s all you deserve?
“fine” sets you up for stasis in no man’s land. place a higher premium on yourself.
call it deluded optimism or desperation, but here’s the truth: you believe lackluster, you receive lackluster.
i always tell people i’m good or doing well. even—sometimes especially—if i don’t believe it in the moment.
just saying, “i’m great” helps, at some level, to make it so. remembering positive parts of life reinforces wellbeing.
plus, reconfirming a lukewarm outlook is dangerous. eventually, your actions follow your thoughts. once that happens, your ho-hum setting becomes the norm. going beyond “fine” is essentially an investment in your future.
think of it like compounding interest. sometimes you just want to spend the money instead, right? but if you stay firm and continue feeding the pool when you’d rather spend it, the stockpile becomes impressive.
likewise, your thoughts, when you keep them uplifting instead of middle-of-the-road, multiply your reserve of positive energy. they become a resource you can tap into as-needed, like when you're faced with a "fine" baby.
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