By Benjamin Hawes
June 22, 2017
If you’ve ever passed me on the street and asked me how I’m doing, I’ve probably told you something like “I’m SO good!” or “I’m having the best day ever!”
Without fail, people laugh when I say things like this, and it’s because they are totally taken aback by that level of positivity. I really love shocking people like that, and I can’t say that’s not part of the reason I exaggerate my excitement on life, but there are real reasons why I’ve decided to answer that question in that way.
I once read somewhere that there’s science behind actually becoming happier when you force a smile. I’ve also read articles about feeling more powerful when you open your body language and physically make yourself bigger. So if those things are true, aren’t I more likely to actually have a better day if I just say out loud that I am having a great day?
In college, I got into a cycle that I didn’t think was healthy or productive for my happiness. I noticed that whenever people asked me how I was doing, I would try to “one-up” them and “out-struggle” them. I noticed that when people asked me how I was, I would mention all the negative aspects of my life as if they were impressive. A lot of my conversations went like this:
Friend: How are you, Ben?
Me: I only got 4 hours of sleep last night and I’m so busy.
Friend: Oh I know, I only got 2 hours of sleep because I had 2 essays due at 8am
Me: Omg I have 3 Essays to write in one night AND I just found out that I have an accounting test today at 3 that I haven’t studied for. And between school and work, I only have 3 hours free in the next 2 days. What am I going to do???
I noticed that what this did was create a competitive nature for something that was completely unnecessary. Why would I ever want to prove to someone that I’m having a worse day, especially when I have full control over the things I’m complaining about?
This is super cheesy, but it was always my dream to become an RA in college. When my brother moved into college 3 years ahead of me, we met his RA, and I said I wanted to do that.
In my 2nd year of college, I became an RA. Because I had identified being an RA as a dream of mine, I jokingly decided that this was the point in my life where I was officially “living the dream” and I told people that when they asked me how I was doing.
People would see me and ask me how I’m doing and I started to ironically say, “Just living the dream!” I noticed a shift in these conversations immediately. When I said something that was this positive, people were just shocked and they laughed. A lot. I learned that over time, the more I said things like that, the more I believed it. I one million percent faked it until I made it.
While I was saying it to be funny at first, I’m now a huge believer in this and probably won’t turn back. Now when people ask me how I’m doing, I think of the most positive way to answer, because I really believe it makes me have a better day, and a happier life.
You should try it! When someone asks you how you’re doing, just spit out a “I couldn’t be better!” and just watch that shift happen. I promise that it will!
You can also buy my book on Amazon! In the book, I talk all about my journey from college life in the Bay Area to real-life adulthood in NYC! It’s all about putting in the work in life to get what you want, and over-preparing for all things in life. Click here to check it out!