We all have a pet phrase we hate. “It is what it is”, “moving forward”, “at the end of the day”, “just sayin’”. Then there are the ones that have crept into workplaces. “Think outside the box”, “let’s circle back”, “drill down”, “take it offline”, “low hanging fruit”.
Mine has always been “what’s going on?”. As a greeting it lacks any thoughtfulness or effort. It lacks clarity. It just puts the recipient on the backfoot. Whenever a guy (90% of the time, it’s a guy) asks, “what’s going on?” I find myself trying to answer in a way that expands on the information the person currently has. But it’s generally impossible.
I once had a co-worker who would hit me with it every single morning as he walked past with a newspaper under his arm. It would be 8am and he’d say, “hey, what’s going on?”. I’d think to myself, “I don’t know, it’s 8am and my day hasn’t started yet. Check in with me after lunch and I might have something for you”.
I’d also think, “if you’re looking more broadly, there’s a f*cking newspaper under your arm. It can tell you what’s happening locally, nationally and internationally. News, sport, weather. There’s even made-up stuff like horoscopes”. But I’d never say it out loud. I’d just mumble politely.
Then there are the people who like to waltz up and hit me with “what’s going on?” when it’s abundantly clear, exactly what’s going on. I’m in an airport? Waiting for a plane. Dentist waiting room? Waiting for the dentist. In a café? Getting coffee. There’s nothing about these scenes that are remarkable or uncertain enough for someone to have to ask, “what’s going on?”.
If I was in a café dressed up in a sexy Halloween nurse costume playing Chinese chequers against a llama and singing sea shanties, then I’d understand it if I got hit with “what’s going on?”. And I’d happily answer because I’d have some interesting material to work with.
You’re probably wondering what the point of this blog is. You’re probably wondering, dare I say it, “what’s going on?”. Let me tell you.
Each of us is a walking contradiction.
Yesterday, Sunday morning, I was walking to the beach with my kids when I passed a woman dressed in athletic tights and a sports bra. Her skin was glistening like she’d just finished a hard work out, and she was standing still, letting the breeze cool her down.
She was also smoking a cigarette.
For the one and only time in my life it finally appeared right before my eyes. The moment to ask, “what’s going on?”. The scene made no sense. How could anyone get up on a Sunday morning, work so hard to do themselves so much good and then do themselves literally so much bad?* Why put the effort in to do the first thing, then undo it with the second thing? But it was none of my business and I wasn’t going to become the “what’s going on?” guy.
As the day wore on it started to dawn on me that we’re all just like her. We are full of contradictions. We sabotage ourselves.
We are kind to ourselves and then we talk more negatively to ourselves than anyone else ever could. We eat well during the week and then turn into Homer Simpson on the weekend. We get a few good night’s sleep, then binge watch Netflix like it’s getting shutdown the next day. We lose 3kg, then put 4 back on. We promise ourselves we’ll slow down, then fill our calendars up. We buy books we never read and exercise bikes we’ll never throw a leg over. We tell ourselves things we know aren’t true and somehow believe them.
Your very own personalised truth bomb.
I realised then, that “what’s going on” is actually a big part of why HeadUp has been created. It’s here to quietly, gently, clinically gather up our information and tell us the truth. It’s here to present us with our data in a way that builds trust and personal accountability.
After all, being human is pretty hard for most of us. It seems like we don’t know what’s really happening, or, when we feel like we do, we’re often just fooling ourselves. HeadUp helps people understand what’s going on – and then provides them with the tools and motivation to put things right.
The next time someone asks me “what’s going on?”, I’m going to open the HeadUp app and tell them all about how my recent effort to improve my Intense Exercise Minutes has had a pronounced effect on my Vo2 Max. Maybe that’s not what they were asking, but at least I have real answers now.
So, “what’s going on?” Download HeadUp today and find out.
*Like, literally. Yes literally. Statistically the leading cause of preventable death for her is smoking. Just ahead of being overweight or obese, which she seemed to be outrunning.