Once upon a time I attended a training program. It was a long, intense, almost harrowing program which daily delivered a heavy sack of challenges to add to the growing pile at my feet. One day, in mid-struggle to keep my head above the proverbial waters, the executive in charge of the program walked into our class and after saying hello, asked how we were all doing. 'Fine' we answered in a bored monotone. No one could have predicted what happened next. Our friendly neighborhood exec proceeded to give us a thorough dressing down hinged on the postulation that we were mindless, societal, robots. 'How could over 20 people have the same feelings/thoughts at the same time?' She raged. We were unoriginal, unthinking, dishonest and lazy to boot. Why would any right thinking employer entrust his/her business into the hands of such morons?!! Hmm? So this one is called-
How y'all doing?
I heard something interesting few days ago. I was listening to a speaker, Chris Hodges, who said that a survey was taken which revealed that in America the most common answer to the question 'how are you doing?' is I'm tired'. (Now I don't know about you guys but an unthinking 'fine' is looking good to me right about now.) As a digression, isn't it fascinating how Americans take surveys on everything? It might seem useless on the face of it, but think of it this way- it's a morale indicator. If morale is low, who cares about the country not to talk of fighting for it? Who will fight in the army? How can they lift peoples spirits? Enter new bills, promises and accolades. Scoff not black man! They're not just wasting their time. Let's do some research!
Back to our topic. Why are people tired in 'the land of opportunity'! What is exhausting you?!!! Strange that people who supposedly have more to complain about say 'fine' while people on the other side of the coin say they're tired. Tired of the ease maybe? It's tempting to go snide and say, 'come to Lagos, you'll find something to be tired about', but Mr. Hodges put my sarcastic retorts to rest. Why are people tired? Because many of them are burned out. How do you burn out? 'Burn out comes from doing work that doesn't matter.'
Now I'm not going to list activities that I think don't matter, I leave you astute readers to do all that judging yourselves ;) but if you think about it, people that seem to have an inextinguishable passion for life are fueled by the belief that whatever it is they are doing matters. In fact, they usually believe it can change the world. Note that you don't have to agree with them, the conviction on their inside is enough to make them spring out of bed each day. Take football for instance. To some it's mindless entertainment and maybe even a ground for divorce (ha!) but for FIFA, it's an agent of global change. Go figure. Let's bring it closer to home, or rather, to work. 2 people can be doing the exact same job in say, a telecoms company for instance. One may just be trying to pay his bills while the other believes that he is an integral part of a machinery that will change the way humanity communicates forever. Guess whose response to your greeting will be the chirpier?
Can we ask ourselves 'why' a little more often?
'Why am I eating this? Why am I on a diet? Why am I exercising? Why do I work here? Why should I go there? Why am I in this relationship?' The answers could be life changing. You might realize that your activities are doing a lot of good or a lot of damage. Or they might simply be useless. Or perhaps you are over indulging. It certainly worked for me! Helped cut down my TV watching and general gallivanting quite a bit actually. In return, I tried to inject my life with zeal producing activities.
Tip: random acts of kindness give a lasting high. Extend your humanity for the sake of others. Give to an orphanage. Go on a cancer march. Feed the hungry. Pay the fees of an unfortunate relative. Guys, doing good is intoxicating. I have heard of people who earn money solely for the purpose of giving it away. Sometimes the end justifies the means. True your job might win the grand prize for daylight sucking, but if the proceeds give the opportunity to do something meaningful, it should make a difference in your outlook won't it? Hmm? Okay! Enough preaching!
Shortly after we received the 'washing'* of our lives, we (my classmates and I) agonized over what to say whenever Cruella de exec asked the simple 'how are you' question. Do I launch into a boring narrative of my day? Do I answer, 'angry', 'frustrated', 'hungry', 'lovesick'... and more importantly, do you really care? I save those detailed answers for people who can't get rid of me. (sorry friends and fam!) For the most part, I have evaluated my life and have decided 'fine/good' is a suitable answer. Even when things don't go as planned, I will not tire of life; there's still a lot to do and I've got what it takes to do it. So I'm doing very well, thanks for asking!
*Washing: Nigerian slang indicating a torrent of insults.