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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.


1 Middle Girl { 11.29.16 at 9:33 am }

Lol. A bus operator asked me this morning how I was and of course I replied, “fine. How are you?” To which he snickered and said, “I am not telling you.” He thought that clever and apparently, hilarious.

I like the 1-10. So far I am at a 5. Up from 4. Thank you. 🙂

2 Meredith { 11.29.16 at 9:54 am }

Love this! Great morning and excited that my DH and I seem really connected this week. After a visit with our parents or weekend out of town we often fight from the stress or busyness but not this time. 9!
I used to love your posts with the baskets or boxes of baked goods you made for your family and friends. Would enjoy re-reading so I can try to do something similar this month.

3 Delenn { 11.29.16 at 10:11 am }

My husband and I do the scale all the time! Its funny, because I kinda thought he made that scale thing up. 😉

Lately, I think I am bordering a 6-8, depending on if I read the news. December is hard emotionally for me…so, we shall see.

4 Sharon { 11.29.16 at 12:23 pm }

I’d rate today a 7 or 8. I am spending most of my work day doing stuff I dislike, but I’m wearing a lovely, new sweater that is super-soft, I am almost over this head cold that’s lasted over a week, I am headache-free, and my fiscal year end at work is tomorrow. Add these minutiae to the overall good quality of my life (living parents and inlaws in their 70s, husband and children, friends, gainful employment), and things are pretty good.

5 Beth { 11.29.16 at 1:18 pm }

I’m at a solid 7. I’m having a nice, boring (in the best way) day with my toddler. But world news brings me down. A good school pick up/walk home with my kindergartener (no over tired 5 year old drama) will bump me up to an 8.

How is your day, Mel?

6 Chris { 11.29.16 at 2:28 pm }

I’ll stick with fine, thanks 🙂 I see the point, but having spent much of my life being asked to list my pain level on a 1-10 scale I have developed such an aversion to the them that I tend to blow up when asked to use a rating scale.

7 m. { 11.29.16 at 3:47 pm }

I dig it! I saw something like this at a conference a few years ago, but it wasn’t aimed at how someone was feeling, more on goals, outcomes, etc. And it required a chart. And while it sounded brilliant at the time, I did nothing with it, because it was too cumbersome. This is way more immediate, and scalable and well, interesting, because like so many of us, I’m swinging from 2s to 7s to 4s and back to 8s depending on the day, the news, what pops up in my FB feed (grr), my workload, and life. Thank you for sharing! I’m checking out the app now….

8 Mrs. Gamgee { 11.29.16 at 6:14 pm }

Love, love, love this! I’m going to start using it today! 🙂

9 Cyn K { 12.01.16 at 3:04 pm }

You inspired me to sign up for the SuperBetter website when I read one of your posts last month. I just finished a copy of the book that I borrowed from the library. Now I want my own copy to go back and take my time with the quests.
I’d rate my day at a 6. Keep writing about SuperBetter – that will bump me up 1 every time I read a post.

10 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 12.02.16 at 4:20 am }

I like the *idea* of the scale, but I tend to have trouble putting a number with things like how I feel or ranking my preferences, etc. Actually, some days it’s hard for me to even decide if I honestly feel fine or not. Maybe I feel good in one area but am struggling with another – it all seems like one big jumble, and it’s hard for me to distill it down.

11 Click { 12.09.16 at 1:50 pm }

I really like the idea of this. I could see it working really well in my job when I’m speaking to customers.

I’m also the sort of person who is inclined to answer ‘good’ regardless, because that’s kind of how I’ve been trained to think. Right now I’d say I’m about a seven, which is pretty good.

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