SuperBetter: From 1 to 10
I am known for annoying my family by asking them to rank things on a 1 to 10 scale. What do you think of this new stuffing recipe on a scale from 1 to 10? How excited are you for the next Dirk Gently episode on a scale from 1 to 10? How much do you think these shoes are a bad idea? 1 to 10?
So imagine my excitement when Jane McGonigal proposed in her SuperBetter book using that 1 to 10 scale to get people to actually connect rather than give the rote answer of “fine” when asked about their state of being.
How it works: Instead of asking someone, “How are you?” say, “How is your day going on a scale from 1 to 10?” And then when the person gives you the number, ask them the reason as well as what you can do to bump it up one digit.
For instance, I ask, “How is your day going on a scale from 1 to 10?”
And maybe you answer, “Um… a 2. I found a $10 bill in my coat pocket this morning, but, you know, Trump is still president-elect. So maybe not even a 2?”
“What can I do to make it a 3?”
Perhaps there is nothing I can do to bump up life to a 3, but you get the point. Instead of answering with a quick (and usually fake) “fine,” the person is forced to not only think for a moment about the number, but they usually volunteer their reasoning behind giving the number. Since putting this into effect, I’ve only run into a few 10s, which unless something really exciting or relaxing or happy has happened that day doesn’t seem entirely truthful, and have mostly heard a range of interesting answers from 1 to 9.
I’ve also had everyone snicker when I ask what I can do to bump it up a notch, and it makes us both realize in the moment how little we can do to remove someone else’s emotional burden beyond holding it for a few seconds at a time. That moment of recognition isn’t depressing; it’s actually refreshing to simply have the things you’re grappling with acknowledged. Plus every once in a while, I’ve actually been able to jump in and do something for another person that has made a small difference including connecting them with someone who really can help or retweeting a message they want to get out there.
So… how is your day going from 1 to 10? And what can I do to bump it up one digit?
I’m writing about SuperBetter the app as well as SuperBetter the book because… well… I learned about them via a podcast and now I want to talk about everything I’m learning on them. If you want to talk about them, too, join along. If not, skip the posts marked SuperBetter.