Here's another article I wrote for Isla Magazine! It's a fun yet potentially revolutionary approach to conversations:
I’ve noticed that we all seem to have a tendency to talk about everything that’s going wrong when someone asks the question “How are you?” It has become an automatic response to list every problem in detail. What would happen if we start asking a different question?
I was reminded of something my teacher at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal, used to say all the time. He would always ask, “What’s new and good?” Can you imagine how fun and even revolutionary that would be if we all started asking each other that question? When you ask a question like that, your mind gets stimulated in a completely new way. Your previous train of thought is broken and now it’s going in a new direction. You’re caught off guard, you might laugh, and you’ll actually start to recall things that are new and good.
It’s so much more enjoyable to celebrate what’s going well rather than complain about what’s going wrong. Of course, there are times when you need a compassionate listener to help you sort through something difficult you might be experiencing. But it is my belief that there really is no benefit in complaining on a consistent basis.
I took an online class on the law of attraction a couple of years ago. We were all paired up with a buddy and one of our assignments was to call each other and ask, “What was the most fun you had in the last 24 hours?” At first, it felt kind of unnatural. Don’t you want to hear about everything that’s wrong with my life? It almost felt rude to not check in and ask about her problems. After a while, it started to become a fun game, and it’s something we still do to this day!
You can even expand the conversation and ask questions about fun plans, imaginary trips, and long-term dreams. When we were children, imagining was easy and natural. Let’s reactivate our imaginations and start to play again.
This week, play with this idea of asking different questions when you see someone. See how it feels to ask questions like:
What’s new and good with you?
You look amazing! What have you been doing differently these days?
So tell me, what fun plans do you have coming up?
What was your favorite part of the movie you saw?
Or try other questions that feel good to you. Ask questions that will elicit joyful answers. By doing this, you’re setting the tone of the conversation, and you’re increasing the potential for everyone to benefit. I believe that what you put your attention on becomes more prominent in your life. Experiment and see what happens when you start putting more emphasis on what’s going well.
Let’s start a new trend of celebrating all the fun moments, instead of listing our complaints, and I’m sure we will see a beautiful transformation take place all around us.