A great opportunity presents itself every day, to every one of us, but we hardly ever notice it. 

It happens to us at home, at work, at church, at social functions both big and small, with strangers, friends and family, but we automatically dismiss it without giving it a second thought.

It creates dozens of chances to promote goodwill and create positive impressions, but instead it goes by the wayside. 

What I’m talking about is the daily greeting and response exchange.  We are greeted by four underestimated, undervalued, but generous words that form the question, “How are you doing?” 

How many times a day are you asked this question?  How many times have you answered with a disinterested, but polite, “Doing fine” or “Not bad” or “I’m good” response?

For me, I simply got tired of the wasted breath.  No sooner than when a person asks the question or when you ask it of someone, the reply is a predictable social norm that’s passive and insincere. 

Moreover, it’s a paradigm trap that we mindlessly assimilate, which for me, conformity only stifles the creative juices, numbs the spirit and dismisses the blessings of life. 

As a person who aspires to make every moment of every day fulfilling and full of purpose, I wanted to get more out of the exchanges that begin with these four words.    

Therefore, I decided to change my response with a self-affirmation that invites others to experience and contribute, while opening up doors to engage the world around us. 

So now when I’m asked, “How are you doing?” my reply is “I’m doing better than good!”

Two things happen with this response.

First, it’s a repetitive self-affirmation reminding me that life is good and I’m persevering to make it better.  This is consistent with a positive outlook toward life.  Therefore, striving to be “doing better than good”, you’re prompting a process of achieving your daily best, which is a life long journey.

Second, the response causes just about everyone to snap out of the robotic social norm of greet and counter-greet that stimulates the spirit to interact.  This is evidenced with an immediate smile and a nod of acknowledgment that better than good is not simply a clever response, but a thoughtful response inviting one spirit to connect with another in a hostile world full of noise, distractions and anxieties.

To date, people ranging from clients, colleagues, friends to strangers have asked me if I minded if they used my response.  Of course use it!

Their reactions are what has cued me to write this blog to spread the word and pay it forward. 

People are social animals.  We are interconnected beyond what the daily grind would have us believe.  Therefore, “Doing Better Than Good” transcends social, economic and political barriers, allowing us to better connect and pass on positive impressions to a variety of people. 

Try it out yourself!

You will see how it makes a bad, average, or good day so much better for you and those around you.


Follow Me on Twitter and share you experiences:  @patrickjslevin

Hashtag:  #BetterThanGood

NOTE:  This blog recognizes that the great Zig Zigler authored a book titled, Doing Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can't Wait to Live.  Author has never read it, so if there is any overlap of concepts, then I fully credit Zigler and welcome any cites that will affirm the premise of this blog of optimizing interactions with others during our daily travels.  


Patrick Slevin is founder and CEO of SL7 Consulting.  A Tallahassee based, global public relations and stakeholder optimization practice that serves clients seeking to educate stakeholders on the benefits of change in a status quo world spanning corporate, public affairs, issues management, crisis, zoning & development, political, and workforce communications.

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