Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The first time I heard people greeting each other in Ireland I was a bit puzzled…

Once you ask an Irish person; “How are you?” the answer is, “not too bad…”

What is that? ‘Not too bad?’ What does it really mean? Those questions popped into my mind. I didn’t know what “not too bad” really meant. And to be honest, still don’t.

In what kind of ‘state’ are you, or is your life that can express and define, “not too bad!”? You are not bad, but you are not good either; and neither too bad… really confusing.

It was clear to me that it couldn't be a positive state, therefore, I never used it when someone greeted me. I preferred using “I’m very well, thank you.”

It is funny thinking about it now; but it was definitely something that bothered me, somehow. Maybe because, despite of not understanding the real meaning behind it, it couldn’t fit into my spontaneous positive nature. :-)

In Brazil, when someone greets you, the question is not really “how are you?” it is literally “Is everything good?” To which, your answer is always; “everything is good”. And, in a more informal environment and/or with friends, the answer will be just “everything”. Which I believe is even more powerful because it really means EVERYTHING!

Few years ago I met a guy; today he is a friend; who when asked the same question, “How are you?” He first would open a huge smile (and he has a beautiful one!) and then answer, “Excellent!”

WOW! Isn’t it wonderful, and powerful? His excellency was contagious, it immediately affected me. I felt I wanted to be excellent too. And decided copying him every time I had the opportunity until it would become a spontaneous answer to a greeting.

I truly believe that we are the ones who design, and define, the greatness of everything around us, and in our life. Through the way we think, and the things we believe. And, this projects and defines the way people see us, and how our lives unfold around us.

Of course, keeping an upstanding state of mind requires first awareness, then, vigilance. It is an endless work and commitment to oneself.

So, “excellent” was a conscious choice for a greeting answer, it was going to be another tool to be used for my self-improvement, as a whole. Until recently, when I came across an answer from another friend that excelled my excellent answer!

I immediately thought to myself, “That is it. It fits me up and down, sideways, and inside out!” It falls into everything I believe, and work for. It is a must to be used, and be grateful for!

Therefore dear friends, from now on, when I’m asked:

"Tulia, how are you?" 

I will proudly answer:

"Excellent and always improving!"



  1. Obrigada, Tulia. It made me think about the Not too bad. There is also the "Oh, not too bad" said in a very cheerful way or even "not too bad at all" which means that you are really well. So although saying excellent or any other form is more positive, I think the way in which you say things (and certainly the smile) does help a lot, the body language so to speak. Sometimes "not too bad" implies (in my reading)when said in a certain way "well, you know I'm actually quite well considering all the bad things that I see around and how difficult life can be" which is quite nice in my view.

    1. Hi Ana, yes, I can see your points, and believe they are also true. But, I rather not use a 'negative form' to express a 'positive matter or situation'.
      Quoting Dr. J. Murphy in his book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind - "Never finish a negative statement, Reverse it immediately and wonders will happen in your life." :-)