At dinner recently, a friend told a story about a job interview he had where the potential employer chastised him about the use of the word “just” and what a useless word it can be. When asked during the interview what he was doing currently, our friend had replied, “Just selling shoes.” His response prompted a lecture by the interviewer, and the retelling of that story has caused me to start paying attention to how this word is used in everyday conversation.
Upon reflection, I was surprised at how much my own use of the word tends to minimize my achievements. For instance, when asked by my longer-distance running friends how much I ran on a particular day, I have been guilty of saying, “Oh, it was just 3 miles today.” I surmise that this was my subconscious way of really saying, “I ‘only’ ran 3 miles which I know is like a cake walk for you and I really should have ran more but that’s all I felt like doing.” Or when asked about my latest triathlon among Ironman friends, I recall saying, “I did great!” Quickly followed by, “But it was just a half iron distance.” In other words, “I know I shouldn’t be too proud because you have done twice the distance I have.”
Why do we sell ourselves short? Why not celebrate our accomplishments instead? We should never underestimate the power of “just” getting off the couch and doing something good for our bodies. We aren’t “just exercising” or “just eating clean” – we are creating a strong shell that houses our spirit and soul for a longer, more fulfilling life. After all, it’s not “just” any ordinary day – we have much to accomplish.