Have you ever had a day that was just “fine?” Have you also ever had a day that was “good?” Have you ever had a day that was “great?” At first, the differences between these three words can be chalked up to semantics, but for anyone who routinely asks people about their days, the differences are exponential.

For example, a fine day is one that barely scrapes by as acceptable. Throughout the day, there was almost an even split between the negative and positive events. It implies that there was a point in the day that really stunk and you just weren’t lucky enough. Despite it all though, the positives outweighed the negatives, even if it is by the narrowest of margins. When it comes to good days, everything is going as it should.

Maybe there were a couple setbacks that made you upset earlier in the day. By the time you reflect on your day, however, you are able to say that you were pleased with how the day ended.

Great days are the ones you remember a week after they occur.; the ones that have you bubbling with positive energy. They are the days where luck is on your side. While it’s also important to mention the other types of days: worst, horrible, bad, meh, awesome, and perfect, I want to focus on “fine,” “good,” and “great” because of their frequent use and supposedly synonymous meanings.

When dividing your day among these three categories, it’s important to ask yourself these two questions: “What went wrong?” and “what went right?” To the average mind, these questions seem easy to understand but hard to answer. We often search for the memorable events in the day, but most days aren’t going to be filled with crazy events that we would tell our grandchildren about.

In turn, most people find that their days were boring and uninteresting; thus, their day was fine because nothing special happened. This lapse in judgement is the work of hindsight that isn’t fully 20/20. As a result, when people say their day was fine, I am quick to ask why. I rarely hear enough negatives to merit the label of “fine.” I often attribute this to people’s pessimistic outlook and high expectations for every day.

I’ve come to realize that it’s actually the result of people being unwilling to enjoy the smaller things in life and sustain that positivity throughout the day. People’s days are full of positives that they often look over.

For example, maybe you woke up with your alarm. Maybe getting out of bed was an easy task, whether it was because you went to bed hydrated or you got a great night’s sleep. Speaking of which, maybe you had an interesting dream that you’re excited to tell someone about.

Maybe you remembered to charge your phone and laptop and now your devices are fully charged. The shower temperature was perfect, and your hair is looking on point. You haven’t worn your favorite sweatshirt in a while so you’re going with it, and they match your favorite pants as well. Maybe you got your homework done the day before it was due as well, so you’re able to take a brief break between classes to take a nap that just hits the spot.

How about those classes anyways? Oh, the professor let you out 10 minutes earlier and you understood what they were talking about. Maybe it was a class where everything clicked. Maybe it was a class that really had you thinking on your own. Maybe it was a test day and you didn’t know about one question but after looking at your notes afterwards, you got it right. Maybe it was simply a lecture day, but you were able to get through an hour and 15 minutes without a yawn but multiple pages of good notes.

Maybe you decided to clear your head with a workout, and you were feeling great. You got a couple extra reps in, added more weight, or got a couple extra laps in. You got a couple clutch shots or assists in a pickup basketball game. Maybe you had a couple memorable encounters with people across campus, whether it was in class, on the mall, or around campus. The conversation was fulfilling, and the jokes were genuinely funny.

Even just seeing a friend walk down the mall and exclaim greetings for everyone to hear puts a smile on your face. These situations and the many other occurrences that make up a day are what truly define our days. And while this outlook on life may seem overly optimistic, it never hurts to see life for the good things it provides, no matter how minimal they may seem.

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