OK is not a very high bar

Think about the last time someone asked how you were doing, or when you last asked someone else the same question. What was their response? And what was yours? 

Did they say how things were really going or did they give their standard response? And did you do the same?

When people ask how we are doing, people often do not respond with anything meaningful. And what a waste that is. 

I'm not proposing we get into our full life story and give the people who ask a four hour view of everything that is happening, though we should at least give a good response using some conscious language.

Why not spend some time going deep? Why not ask someone how they are doing and really listen to their response? If we all did this then we would be able to develop stronger relationships, more closely understand what is going on in their lives and perhaps even learn something new or moving about them.

How many times have you simply replied, "OK" in the response to that question? Honestly, OK is not a very high bar. And across the world there are other examples of the cultural norms for responses to such a question.    

Now, cultural differences across the world certainly play out here. A common response from a British person is "not too bad", and this is a good state of affairs. However, someone from another part of the world might not perceive it in the same way. In America, a typical response might be "good" or "great". Many people who make this response wouldn't say that everything is truly in either of these states, but it is a common response anyway.

And in my experience, if we benchmark these two typical national responses, they sit at about the same level of how things are going.

Regardless of where we are and how we respond to this question, let's start to challenge the standard against which we believe we are replying. We shouldn't accept that someone is simply just "OK" or "not too bad" or "good".  Take the time to lean in, listen actively, and have a conversation about it. You never know what you might learn, or who you might help.