“Not Bad”; Why Say Something You’re Not..?

A 5-year-old Callan in thought

One day when my son Callan (who was about 5 years old at the time) I were out I ran into someone I’d known back when I’d owned a bar and was in the music scene. We say hi, shake hands and chat superficially, which included my asking; “How have you been?” They answered; “Not bad,” We chatted for about half a minute before I introduced Callan. Callan thrust out his hand and shook it firmly (like he’d been taught) and confidently said; “Hello,” Callan was then asked; “And how are you young man?”, to which Callan replied; “I’m not a car.”

From an early age I’d taught Callan to pay attention, learn to articulate, ask better questions, to listen to what people are actually saying. Needless to say he took me quite literally in this example! It reminds me of when kids need to go to the bathroom and we tell them to “Hold on,” they take that quite literally too. So it shouldn’t have been any surprise to hear Callan’s explanation as to why he just told a stranger that he wasn’t a car.

In a very Yoda-like voice (maybe he’d seen Star Wars recently?)  Callan explained; “Why say something that you’re not?” The person we’d run into chuckled nervously, shook my hands again, and left. It was only later that day that I fully understood exactly what Callan was getting at. Callan saw that most people (in their superficial social exchanges) told each other what they were not – instead of saying what they were. He considered this some kind of lying, likening it to “It wasn’t me [who drew on the wall…etc]”. By saying “I’m not bad” raised questions to Callan as we talked such as; Are people normally bad however right now they’re not?  Has the word “good” become such a non-descriptive word that people avoid using it? Are people not wanting to be honest in a social exchange in order to be polite? It is more honest to say “not bad” than it is to say “good” – if you’re really not feeling great?

Lots are great thoughts came up between us – and we played with it a little. I’d heard of a NZ business that banned the word “good” from being used – and had worked as a mortgage broker in a business that took that on board. Anytime someone used the word “good”, it was 10 press ups – not matter whether you were in a meeting or on the phone. The purchase? To have us pay more attention to what we’re saying, and good doesn’t really say much. So Callan and I took on the challenge (excluding the press ups!). He learnt to roll words off his tongue such as “great, excellent, awesome, fantastic, brilliant…” – much more descriptive and arouses more emotion than good. I don’t remember just when we stopped playing that game.

I think that children are as much teachers to adults as adults are to children – as long as we take the time to stop and listen to them. These little people are filled with such simple wisdom!

Advertisements

About Bridget Dunn

A real estate professional since 2012, Bridget is known for integrity, diplomacy and sincerity in all her dealings. She has first and foremost strived to be someone in whom her clients and colleagues can put their trust and faith. Treating clients like family is both a guiding principal and way of life for Bridget. She is dedicated to listening intently to her clients needs and providing the best possible advice, from how to get the best sales result for their home, to matching individuals and families with the properties that best suit their needs.
This entry was posted in Emotions, Psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Not Bad”; Why Say Something You’re Not..?

  1. SDL says:

    Thanks very much, I appreciate your feedback!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s