We had a conference call last week to discuss our plans for the Bigger Small Talk Summit and Suzanne Whang from HGTV's House Hunters was kind enough to grace us with her presence and her great ideas and perspective, which really helped me get some ideas for how we can get this thing off the ground.
One way Suzanne suggested we immediately raise the small talk in our lives is to get beyond our traditional greetings - especially "How Are You" by asking instead, "What's Good?" She pointed out that first of all that will throw people off because they're not expecting it - and secondly it will show you immediately where people are in their own mindsets. If they can't think of anything good to say, that will tell you something right there.
One of our other old standard greetings, besides "How Are You?" is "What's New?"
What's new? NOTHING! I was re-reading one of my favorite philosophers Emerson the other day and I was reminded of the wisdom he displayed in the mid-1800s:
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.That still resonates with me today.
Here's another example from an idea that circled the internet a while back.
- 1000 BC: Here, eat this root.
- AD 1000: That root is heathen. Say this prayer.
- AD 1800: That prayer is pure superstition. Here, take this potion.
- AD 1940: That potion is snake oil. Here, take this pill.
- AD 1980: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
- AD 2000: That antibiotic doesn’t work. Here, eat this root.
How will we stop this endless cycle? JUST STOP! Think something original - or at least original for you. It may not be the first time someone thought of it, but that's where collective wisdom comes from! Find others to talk about your ideas with. But don't just look for people who will agree with you. Come to the conversation with an open mind - bring your own personal POWER (Purpose, Open-Mindedness, Wisdom, Energy, Responsibility) - and see what you can create together.
I've heard it said that man plans and God laughs - so instead of planning what you're going to say, be open to whatever can be created in that open space.
What's Good in the world? EVERYTHING!