“Boy, you are awfully happy today!” As a hostess and cashier at a local diner I hear that comment and many variations of it on a daily basis.
Someone asked me how it is that I am “always smiling”. I hadn’t really thought about it until she asked me – but now it has been weighing on my mind.
Smiling makes me feel better about life. I am in a better mood and I find that the people that I encounter are usually a lot easier to deal with.
I even did an experiment – As a hostess, I am responsible for seating people in rotation in the diner so that each server’s station is balanced. Now, in this particular diner there is a ‘back room’ which tends to be harder to seat, especially when it isn’t very busy because there are not many windows. One day after many futile attempts to encourage patrons to sit ‘in the back’, I was frustrated. Trying to figure out a way to get people to sit back there – I decided to put on my biggest, happiest smile and greet the people when they came in then find something to compliment them on or something nice to say to them as I was walking them back to the ‘back room’ to their table – two out of three parties stayed compared to the one out of four previously! What a difference!
I have been involved in some sort of ‘personal development’ since I was very young. It is something that my parents have always believed in – so I have been very blessed. Smiling is not very hard for me, but I have learned recently from a friend of mine that not everyone was raised this way. So for those people whom smiling doesn’t come easy, I would like to encourage you. I believe that smiling is just a skill that anyone can learn if they are willing.
Recently I have been reading books by Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) and Frank Bettger (How I Raised Myself from Failure To Success in Selling) both authors dedicate an entire chapter in their book to smiling. Now, if both of these highly successful men place such a high value on smiling – then maybe we ought to pay it some more of our attention.
Dale Carnegie states that a smile is “A simple way to make a good first impression.” Isn’t that true? Aren’t we more likely to be drawn to a person that is smiling rather than someone who has a scowl on their face? A smile says “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you” (Carnegie, 1936).
In Chapter 21 of How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, Frank Bettger talks about how he taught himself to smile – he explains the ‘smile workouts’ that he used to do and how he would practice his smile before he went to meet with someone. This shows that anyone can learn to smile if they are willing to put in the work. Bettger says that once he began to smile, he was more welcome everywhere he went. (Bettger, 1947)
As for myself, smiling is just a simple thing that I can do to help brighten peoples’ day. I’ve also noticed that when I am smiling – I have a better day. Things go easier for me, and even if I wasn’t in a good mood to begin with – smiling helps put me in the mindset of being in a better mood – which in turn helps me have a better day. Sometimes I even make a game out of it: How many smiles can I collect today?
What about you, does smiling come naturally to you? Why don’t you take Dale Carnegie’s advice and try it for a week and see what happens?
There is always something to smile about, always. Look hard enough and you will find it!
Bettger, F. (1947). How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Carnegie, D. (1936). How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.