Cut the Crap & Get Authentically Positive.


By Kris Carter.

Years ago I was stocking shelves in a gourmet grocery store to help finance our wedding. This was no ordinary store. West Point Market in Akron, Ohio is known throughout a 5-state radius for offering a world class shopping experience.

The owner, Russ Vernon, became my blueprint for what I call Authentic Positivity. Russ would glide through the aisles, overseeing operations, happily walking customers over to find whatever they need, and cracking jars open right from the shelf. Everyone deserved a taste of “the magic” we were selling.

Whenever he was asked, “How are you doing, Russ?” His default response was always: “Super-Duper!”

Every day, the cat rocked a bowtie and a blue blazer. He was in his late-sixties at the time. But whenever he blasted a “Super-Duper!” in your direction with his goofy, blazing smile, you knew he meant it.

You knew he lived it.

You knew unquestionably, that within every fiber of Russ’s being, he felt super. Actually he felt more than super. Roughly double that of standard super, or “Super- Duper”.

More importantly, that go-to response set a standard for me and the rest of my jaded, teenage colleagues. This was a guy who had no financial obligation to work harder than the rest of us, yet he did.

I remember thinking at the time, “why shouldn’t he feel great? He was born into a local grocery dynasty.” His Dad had opened the store 70 years earlier.

Only after a few years beyond the bubble of college and part-time work did I start to figure out how things really work.

Russ’s Dad didn’t build West Point Market into the legend it became, nor did Russ’s own work ethic. It was the unshakable mindset, or lens, that Russ cultivated, year in and year out.

A central theme of Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage is that decades of dysfunction-obsessed psychological studies, and much of the self-help industry that blossomed in their wake, had it all wrong: Happiness does not orbit around success.  Meaning, you’re not going to wake up happy once you achieve your version of success.

Instead, all of the landmark studies since found the exact opposite: that success absolutely orbits around happiness.

When shoppers pack Russ’s aisles every holiday season, ogling over the decadent options, and sampling rare delicacies they’ve never dreamed of, their user-experience can typically be summarized as “super” (or one of its many synonyms).

The inspired user experience is a direct outcome of the inspired mindset that created it.

Russ wasn’t just positive for positive’s sake. He had methodically conditioned himself over the years to transcend not only hardships and setbacks, but also the status quo. What likely began as a coping mechanism to get through long days or preserve his father’s legacy, became the ultimate differentiator.

A lens that grandiose, audacious, and unapologetically super-dee-damn-duper can capture, refract, and project back to you incredible things. It can filter everything around it, whether good, bad, or neutral into a sense of possibility and wonder.

My grandfather had a similar lens. Maybe it was all the Depression-Era bootstrapping, or some ingrained idealism of Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation. Pops had an attitude that consistently, quite authentically projected: “I believe in everyone, and everything, all the time“.

In living a life of unwavering optimism Despite All Else, run-of-the-mill positivity deepens and solidifies into Authentic Positivity. Like anything worth committing to over the course of a lifetime (your faith, spouse, artistic expression, or vitality), Authentic Positivity is an ongoing practice.

Of course it will feel silly and contrived at first…

I’ve experimented with my own go-to responses for “How are you doing?”

“Marginally spectacular, thanks.”

“Basically invincible.”

“Fairly unstoppable, and you?”

Over the years, any hesitation or second-guessing has diminished. All we’re left with are the expectations of whatever is about to come out of our mouth, which are built off the last few-thousand interactions.

Make it count. Make it carry the potential to inspire the next generation of those you work with.

Like the fortunate few who crossed the paths of either my Grandfather or Russ Vernon, my hope is to create my own “user experience” for those who cross mine.

In doing this work, (yes, it most definitely is work) you begin to realize how we owe it to one another to shine our most authentic, positive beam as consistently as possible.

How do you respond when people ask how you’re doing?



Kristoffer Carter (or “kc”) is a spiritual catalyst for individuals and culture catalyst for business. Husband, Father of 3, and National Director of Sales Engagement by day, KC also channels his hyper-creativity and rock energy into his blog: This Epic Life. His multi-media manifesto, The Framework is currently available for free on his site. KC’s bass playing has been featured in Bass Player Magazine and on, and his family has graced the cover of Akron Life & Leisure magazine. In acknowledgement to the legendary work culture he helped create, KC’s employer Centro has been named the #1 Best Place to Work in Chicago by Crains Chicago Business for the past 2 years. You can connect with Kristoffer on Facebook and Twitter.




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Rebelle Society

Creatively Maladjusted Virtual Country occupied by the Art of Being Alive.
Rebelle Society is an online hub reporting ideas and acts of creative rebellion and celebrating the Art of Being Alive. It is a virtual country with no borders, except those imposed by the mind, and all you need to circulate freely through its pages is the passport of imagination. As Osho put it, "Creativity is the greatest form of rebellion." Join us? Subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram.
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