Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘AWESOME

How can you put the ‘awe’ back in ‘awesome’?

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “awesome” as fear mingled with admiration or reverence, a feeling produced by something majestic.

How many times have you used the word “awesome” today? Once? Twice? 77 times?

Do you remember what you were describing when you used the word? No, I didn’t think so, because it’s come down to this: You’re using the word incorrectly, and tonight I hope to show you how to put the “awe” back in “awesome.”

0:32 Recently, I was dining at an outdoor cafe, and the server came up to our table, and asked us if we had dined there before, and I said, “Yes, yes, we have.” And she said, “Awesome.” And I thought, “Really? Awesome or just merely good that we decided to visit your restaurant again?”

The other day, one of my coworkers asked me if I could save that file as a PDF, and I said, “Well, of course,” and he said, “Awesome.” Seriously, can saving anything as a PDF be awesome?

the frequent overuse of the word “awesome” has now replaced words like “great” and “thank you.”

Webster’s dictionary defines the word “awesome” as fear mingled with admiration or reverence, a feeling produced by something majestic.

with that in mind, was your Quiznos sandwich awesome? How about that parking space? Was that awesome? Or that game the other day? Was that awesome? The answer is no, no and no.

A sandwich can be delicious, that parking space can be nearby, and that game can be a blowout, but not everything can be awesome. (Laughter)

when you use the word “awesome” to describe the most mundane of things, you’re taking away the very power of the word. This author says, “Snowy days or finding money in your pants is awesome.” (Laughter) Um, no, it is not, and we need to raise the bar for this poor schmuck. (Laughter)

if you have everything, you value nothing.

It’s a lot like drinking from a firehose like this jackass right here. There’s no dynamic, there’s no highs or lows, if everything is awesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are 10 things that are truly awesome.

Imagine, if you will, having to schlep everything on your back. Wouldn’t this be easier for me if I could roll this home? Yes, so I think I’ll invent the wheel. The wheel, ladies and gentlemen. Is the wheel awesome? Say it with me. Yes, the wheel is awesome!

The Great Pyramids were the tallest man-made structure in the world for 4,000 years. Pharaoh had his slaves move millions of blocks just to this site to erect a big freaking headstone. Were the Great Pyramids awesome? Yes, the pyramids were awesome.

The Grand Canyon. Come on. It’s almost 80 million years old. Is the Grand Canyon awesome? Yes, the Grand Canyon is. (No, Not man-made)

Louis Daguerre invented photography in 1829, and earlier today, when you whipped out your smartphone and you took a shot of your awesome sandwich, and you know who you are — (Laughter) — wasn’t that easier than exposing the image to copper plates coated with iodized silver? I mean, come on. Is photography awesome? Yes, photography is awesome.

D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy, the largest amphibious invasion in world history. Was D-Day awesome? Yes, it was awesome. (Hopefully you won’t add dropping the A-bomb?)

Did you eat food today? Did you eat? Then you can thank the honeybee, that’s the one, because if crops aren’t pollinated, we can’t grow food, and then we’re all going to die. It’s just like that. But it’s not like a flower can just get up and have sex with another flower, although that would be awesome. (Laughter) Bees are awesome. Are you kidding me?

Landing on the moon! Come on! Apollo 11. Are you kidding me? Sixty-six years after the Wright Brothers took off from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Neil Armstrong was 240,000 miles away. That’s like from here to the moon. (Laughter) That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for awesome! You’re damn right, it was. (And robbed us of whatever love dreams we had?)

Woodstock, 1969: Rolling Stone Magazine said this changed the history of rock and roll. Tickets were only 24 dollars back then. You can’t even buy a freaking t-shirt for that now. Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was the most iconic. Was Woodstock awesome? Yes, it was awesome.

Sharks! They’re at the top of the food chain. Sharks have multiple rows of teeth that grow in their jaw and they move forward like a conveyor belt. Some sharks can lose 30,000 teeth in their lifetime. Does awesome inspire fear? Oh, hell yeah, sharks are awesome!

The Internet was born in 1982 and it instantly took over global communication, and later tonight, when all these PowerPoints are uplifted to the Internet so that a guy in Siberia can get drunk and watch this crap, the Internet is awesome.

And finally, some of you can’t wait to come up and tell me how awesome my PowerPoint was. I will save you the time. It was not awesome, but it was true, and I hope it was entertaining, and out of all the audiences I’ve ever had, y’all are the most recent. Thank you and good night.


Patsy Z  shared this link

10 things that are way more awesome than your sandwich:

Comedian Jill Shargaa sounds a hilarious call for us to save the word “awesome” for things that truly inspire awe.|By Jill Shargaa

Can you try finding alternative terms to “Awesome“?

Clean and Repair

Overheard while eavesdropping in a restaurant recently:

“This bacon burger is literally amazing.”

Okay, so it is literally amazing? When it hits your tongue, does it cause extreme surprise and great wonder?

We imagine that when the waiter first placed the food in front of this same patron, he or she omitted the standard “Thank you” in favor of “Awesome.”

As in, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a plate of food so remarkable so as to stir feelings of fear, wonder or awe in its recipient.

A good piece on using the correct word in your writing:…/stop-calling-everything-awesome…

Seven simple rules for better conversation

Word choice may seem harmless, but words have meaning. And our collective tendency for hyperbole — for defining everything as amazing or awesome — is in fact rendering everything kind of lackluster.

For anything to be truly great, our collective celebration of mediocrity must end, which means we should all make a little more effort to clean and repair our diction.

Though this undertaking will be tough, we’re certain it’ll be rewarding.

Be aware of the offenders

The first step towards cleaning up is knowing when you’re overreaching. Being a thoughtful speaker is an exercise in mindfulness. You have to be fully engaged in the moment, and listening and considering before letting mindless fillers or flaccid affirmations tumble from your trap.

Use descriptors in lieu of superlatives

This is where we hear the misused “Awesomes,” “Amazings” and (cringe) “Epics.”

If you need to qualify something, use a more precise word. You’d be correct to use the word “amazing” when describing what it’s like to stand next to a lion or watch the birth of your first child. You’d be wrong to use that word to describe a bacon burger.

Qualify size: “It’s as big as Andre the Giant’s hand.” “It’s prodigious, as far as meat patties go.”

Qualify taste: “The patty is 40 percent ground bacon and 60 percent top sirloin.” “The melted fontina runs down the sides like warm butter.” “It’s smeared with ground mustard seeds.” Even a “Delicious” will do in a pinch.

“Epic,” as pointed out recently by the New Yorker, is a word that should only be used to describe something truly massive or a type of poem.

Mind the Fillers

Fillers are words we use to keep the conversation lubricated. These aren’t half as offensive as hyperbolic descriptors, but if you remove them from your vocab, you’ll sound more articulate.

“Totally.” “Cool.” “Uh-huh.”

The fix: just nod, smile, listen and/or repeat back what someone has said for clarification.

Slang and colloquialisms are fine

Especially if you’re playing around with standard meanings and grammar. Take the phrase “It’s been around a hot minute.” Means something has been around much longer than a minute. Irony is good.

But watch out for hackneyed tech speak

“He’s killing it,” “He’s crushing it, “He’s a wizard,” “He’s a ninja.” We’re not at Hogwarts. Drop these words. Drop them now.

Enhance your vocabulary

By reading writers who use big words, and often. Here’s a list who do it right:

David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest; Brief Interviews With Hideous Men)
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All; Jitterbug Perfume)
Tom Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities; The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas; The Bone Clocks)
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow; The Crying of Lot 49)
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita; Pale Fire)

Doing crossword puzzles is another easy way to fortify and replenish.

Finally, literally stop using literally when you mean figuratively

Just because Merriam-Webster caved a couple years ago to accommodate shitty usage everywhere doesn’t mean you have to.

And remember: “Good” means something is pleasing or of high quality.

There’s nothing wrong with good. In fact, there’s humility in being good, and humility leads to grace.

And grace is a sort of quiet awesomeness.



Does Your Boss Thinks You’re Awesome? Ask him to just say you’re awesome

If your boss thinks you’re awesome, will that make you more awesome?

This question came to us recently, when we were working with the top 3 levels of management in a multinational.

When asked to rate their direct reports on 360 evaluations, some managers consistently rated everyone higher, and others consistently lower, than the average. We wondered if this was a result of bias, and what effect it had on the people who worked for them.

If Your Boss Thinks You’re Awesome, You Will Become More Awesome

To understand this better we looked at a larger set of 360 data to identify 50 of the company’s managers who rated their direct reports significantly more positively than everyone else on a five-point scale (that is, they gave a higher percentage of their subordinates top marks than their colleagues did, skewing the curve to the right, as in Lake Woebegone, where everyone is above average).

We also identified 31 managers who consistently rated their direct reports significantly lower than their colleagues, skewing their curves to the left.

The difference is stark: Only 18.4% of the people working for the “positive-rating” managers, or the easy graders, were judged as merely “competent” (that is, just average) compared with fully 51.4% of those working for the “negative-rating” managers, clearly the harder graders.

While neither group judged even 1% of their workers as truly problematic and in need of significant improvement, almost 14% of those working for the negative-rating managers were judged to need some improvement compared with only 3% of those working for the positive-rating bosses.


It’s hard to parse the meaning of these data.

Are the positive-rating managers indulging in grade inflation?

Do the lower ratings actually represent a more objective and deserved analysis of a subordinate’s performance? (After all, it does follow the standard bell curve.)

Or perhaps the ratings are in some way self-fulfilling, and the leaders who see the best in their people actually make them better, while those who look more critically make their subordinates worse.

We favor that second interpretation, since whether deserved or not, the psychological effect of these ratings was dramatic.

Anyone who joined us in the discussions with the subordinates of these two sets of managers would have instantly seen the impact. The people who’d received more positive ratings felt lifted up and supported. And that vote of confidence made them more optimistic about future improvement.  Conversely, subordinates rated by the consistently tougher managers were confused or discouraged—often both. They felt they were not valued or trusted, and that it was impossible to succeed.

These feelings directly translated into higher or lower levels of engagement: engagement scores for those working under the negative raters averaged in the 47th percentile, whereas scores for those reporting to the positive raters averaged in the 60th percentile.  This difference is statistically significant.

It’s possible that the negative-rating managers simply had more than their share of less-engaged employees, but we believe the far more likely explanation is that everyone’s engagement levels started out roughly the same and that widely different daily interactions, culminating in extremely divergent performance reviews, had a strong impact on engagement levels.

This is a particularly alarming possibility when you consider the seemingly reasonable motives of those who gave consistently lower ratings.

We frequently heard them say something like, “I want my people to get the message that I have high expectations.”  Those who gave high marks to their people also had high expectations, but they were more focused on sending the message that they had confidence in their people. They truly felt that they had selected the best people for those positions, and they expected them to succeed.

And did they SUCCEED?

To see, we looked at the overall leadership ratings the two groups’ 360 evaluations. We were not surprised, by now, to see that the bosses who rated everyone lower on their performance also rated them lower on their leadership abilities, while the bosses who gave the highest marks to their teams in general gave high marks on leadership as well.

The degree of difference was startling, though—with leadership ratings averaging only in the 19th percentile for the low raters and 76% for the high raters.

And the thing is, the peers, subordinates, and other associates also rated the leadership skills of the employees working for the low-rating managers lower than those working for the high raters.

The gap was not nearly as great, as you can see in the chart below, but it was consistent and significant.

ifyourbossthinks v2

The fact that the ratings given by both the low- and high-rating managers were so different from the ratings given by others suggests that both sets of managers are biased (or that managers trying to force rank their staffs are judging them unfairly).

And it also shows that these biases and rankings have become self-fulfilling, influencing subordinates’ behavior to the extent that others ultimately can see it.

If this is so, these tough graders aren’t doing the organization any favors.

There’s an interesting study that is related to this issue called “Predicting non-marital romantic relationship dissolution: A meta-analytic synthesis.”  This was a meta-analysis of 137 studies collected over 33 years with 37,761 participants.

These studies were looking at factors that cause non-married couples to break up or stay together.  The number one factor that kept people together was something they called “positive illusion” – essentially that the person you’re dating thinks you’re awesome.

Is it possible, then, that if a boss thinks you’re awesome you will become more awesome? On a personal level, it’s hard to dismiss.

We’ve spoken with hundreds of leaders whose bosses thought they were awesome, we know the impact is real.

Jack Zenger is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy. He is a co-author of the October 2011 HBR article Making Yourself Indispensable.Connect with Jack at

Joseph Folkman is the president of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy. He is a co-author of the October 2011 HBR article “Making Yourself Indispensable. Connect with Joe at




December 2022

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