When I travelled to Europe, waaaaaaay back in 1995, I created and was a part of some amazing moments and memories that I’ve been able to keep over the last two decades. From Amsterdam (a hell of an eye-opener for this sheltered 20 year old at the time) to Paris, from Rome to Zakynthos, I hoarded experiences like I was filling a bomb shelter.
The Europe trip was not only one of the highlights of my travelling life, but also a time that really shaped me and led me down the path I’m on now.
But here’s the thing… I may not remember every single moment of those summer months, but one of the sharpest memories was from a stroll I took along the beach in Antibes, an area just east of Cannes on the French Riviera. Was it the blasts of salty air from the Ligurian Sea? Was it the sense of being on the other side of the world? Was it the centuries of history surrounding this small villa? Nope, nope and nope.
It was the people that made a point of smiling and greeting me when I walked by. A “bon soir” here and a “bonjour” there.
The one thing you can do to effectively connect with people is smile. A truly, sincere bending of your lips in an upward fashion.
Just the other day I was running to get some exercise (7km…almost died) and as I was making that last stretch home, a woman was riding her bike towards me along the road. As she got closer, she did that thing that you just don’t see much of any more. She smiled.
It wasn’t a flirty thing. It wasn’t a “wow, that running thing looks uncomfortable. Let me smile in your direction” thing. It wasn’t a recognition thing.
It was a connection to another person in my community.
Five things Smiling Does for You (healthy reasons courtesy of Dr. Mark Stibich on Longevity.about.com) :
- Makes you more attractive – who doesn’t love a smiling face?
- Changes our mood – by just make this simple action, you can lighten your attitude. Is it a cure-all? No. But it certainly is a step in the right direction.
- Is contagious – you smile, 9 times out of 10, they smile. And that one person? Maybe they had a bad day and just can’t get to smiling yet. Smile at them anyway because it’ll help them get there.
- Makes you feel good – it releases endorphins, natural pain killers and Seratonin. It’s science!
- Makes you look younger – you know all those people that get their skin pulled back over their head to look younger? Skip that. Life the face by smiling more.
The one thing you can do to effectively connect with people is to smile. It not only has a positive impact on you but also on those around you. Isn’t that one of the main reasons we connect with each other?
So where do you do this magic action…
Three Opportunities to Smile
- Passing someone on the street.
- At the cashier counter in a coffee house, supermarket, movie house, etc.
- In a meeting
Can you think of any others? Please share below.