The Thursday Thesis - 15/09/2016
AKA: The Suzy Effect
“Really...?” The beautiful, elegant redhead blushed as I paid for my second-hand book in the charity shop.
“Yes, utterly!” I smiled, dropping my change into the collection box on the counter. “I’m very fantastic today, and thank you for asking. How fabulous are you?”
She smiled at me, unaccustomed to mud-spattered mountain bikers who grinned, toothily over the till at her.
She giggled and confessed that she was, in fact, “Fabulous, but obviously not as fantastic as you!”
It was, of course, my fault - I'd accidentally spilled some surplus fantasticness over her side of the counter.
And, just in case you’re wondering, fantasticness is the secret and irrepressible love of life - that relentless optimism we generate when we are sure that nobody is watching.
But, the most important thing there is to know about fantasticness is that it’s very hard to keep it under control, and it is dangerously contagious.
Once it leaks out of you, you’ll begin to infect everyone around you with it.
Fabulousity works the same way, but it's a little less fattening.
If I had answered her “How are you, today?” with the commonplace “Alright”, “Not too bad”, or “Ok, I suppose” what would have happened to her mood?
How about if I’d said I was “Struggling on”?
Well, my son - Alex - has a word for how that feels: “Meh!”
It’s a dull, flat-lined "so-what?" kind of a feeling.
Same old, same old.
So, how about being fantastic, instead?
How does that grab you?
How about being fabulous, just for a change?
Say it aloud, and grin like a maniac...
How does that feel?
Pretty cool, huh?
Now add an “intensive modifier” - a word that ratchets-up the force of another word and supercharges your message.
You could use utterly, very, remarkably, staggeringly or – my own personal favourite – scintillatingly, just to get yourself started.
I mean, how good would you feel telling the next person who asked how you were, that you were “utterly fabulous” and then thanking them for asking?
And how would they respond to you?
How would your partner, spouse or child respond to you being “scintillatingly marvellous” when you called home, just to say hello because you were thinking about them?
You’d be able to hear them smiling.
Then ask them how fantastic they are today - what are they going to say and feel?
One of my students – Let’s call her Suzy - always answers the “how are you” question with “Ooh... now that’s a great question, because today I’m exquisitely bijou, but the forecast is for outbreaks of unconditional chirpiness during the afternoon.
Thank you for asking, you're so kind. How fantastic are you today?”
She invariably serves up a free side-order of smiley-face with that answer, and usually finds that she’s talking to someone who feels strangely compelled to describe themselves as “brilliant”, yet who seems bewildered that they should suddenly feel so good.
By the way, bijou means “small and delicately worked... a trinket”. Did you notice how adding “exquisitely” just intensified and deepened that idea.
Now imagine meeting someone who also embodies those qualities.
It’s no wonder that everyone she meets seems to be either brilliant or fantastic. I believe that she leaves an invisible vapour-trail of fantasticness wherever she goes, even if that’s just buying a packet of Polos at the corner shop.
You see, you can't help but respond to The Suzy Effect.
So, I have a teeny-tiny-little, itty-bitty dare for you... really small, and completely free.
It involves you, your most dazzling smile, and a generous portion of fantasticness; all served warm and garnished with a smidgen of fabulousity.
I dare you to give an extravagant, ridiculously over-the-top answer the next time someone asks how you are.
Now, remember that you’ll only be pretending to be fantastic, fabulous, bejewelled or kaleidoscopic (or any number of those things), so it’s not lying or deluding yourself – you’re just pretending and having a little fun.
So, get out there and do the dare, and please let me know how it goes.
I double-dare you!
© Neil Cowmeadow 2016
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