I’ve always liked to think of myself as a pretty happy guy. In general I’m well liked, love to laugh and try to be positive whenever possible. I always had a big, bold smile that I shared often and with ease.
Over the last half of my twenties I found I smiled less frequently. Not that I didn’t ever smile as there were occasions where it was inevitable. Problem is I used to smile daily and frequently as a part of everyday life. I’d smile to people as I passed them on the street or sat next to them on the bus. Hell I’d smile to customers I talked too on the phone (even though they couldn’t see me). But as my twenties came to a close I found myself smiling less and furrowing my brow more, at the same people I only a few years ago would have greeted with a friendly smirk.
Maybe it’s because I was less happy then I was in my early twenties. The realizations that everything I’d hoped to achieve by my thirties was well short of my plans. It also didn’t help that I had major dental problems and in turn was ashamed of my smile. Maybe it was because working in a call center for eight years left me bitter at people. For what ever the reasons were, I eventually lost my smile.
It obviously became noticeable as my girlfriend remarked that more frequently I’m negative about people than I am positive and how less I smile daily. Which really lead me to think about why things changed? Have I become so jaded and bitter that I can’t even smile and see the positives in people anymore? It saddened me to think that was a possibility.
So for the past few months I’ve been putting a major effort into smiling more frequently in my everyday experiences with the hope of it improving my impression of others and their opinion of me. I’m noticing (as expected) my efforts are beginning to have an affect on my interactions with people. In fact as I write this my bus driver I smile to everyday, smiled back and spoke to me for the first time and said not to bother showing my pass. When I asked why, she said “it’s the nice people I remember” Never spoke a word to her before only have nodded and smiled each time I board. What’s amazing is it’s that small interaction that has made me memorable and her opinion of me as a nice guy.
It’s interesting to see the power smiling has in your everyday life. I find I’m in better spirits more often, I interact with new and interesting people more frequently now and I leave a longer impression on someone in just one smile than I do with any introduction I can come up with.
So I challenge those reading this to spend a day smiling, do it for yourself or to pay a lil bit of happiness forward to someone else. You’d be surprised at the power that smiling brings.