Today I’d like to enlist you in my personal crusade to eradicate an annoying phrase from the American lexicon. Have you ever suggested an idea to someone only to have them give you the lukewarm response, “That’s not a bad idea.”
“That’s not a bad idea?” What do they mean? That your idea doesn’t exactly stink?
Imagine going to a restaurant with close friends and being served a fine meal. The chef comes out and asks your party, “How was everything tonight?”
Can you imagine yourself telling the chef, “That wasn’t a bad meal…”? Of course you wouldn’t. If you insulted him with such a lackadaisical review he’d smile, go back into the kitchen, spit in your coffee and then sneeze on your dessert.
So why do we respond to good ideas from coworkers, friends, or family with, “That’s not a bad idea”? Why don’t we just say, “Great idea,” “That’s awesome,” or, “”You’re so smart that I can’t understand why you condescend to associate with me.” Okay, maybe the last option is a little over the top. But I’d rather encourage good ideas from people rather than giving them a tepid response like, “That’s not a bad idea.”
If you’re not on board with my personal crusade to eradicate, “That’s not a bad idea” from our culture then at least be consistent. Next time you’re dining out and the chef comes out and asks how the meal was tell him, “That wasn’t a bad meal.” Then look for spittle on the cheesecake.