Thank You For Your Smile

Years ago, while I was walking in the mall with a friend, business partner and mentor, I heard him say to a guy passing by, "Thank you for your smile."  And at the immediate moment, the guy was not smiling. But after being thanked for something he wasn't actually giving, he complied, with a smile.

He did not say it in a condescending, arrogant or even sarcastic manner. He was just confident and friendly, and his comment seemed to always result in a smile that was not originally there.

Of course, I asked him about it. And he told me that people don't like to be complimented for something they haven't actually they'll usually earn it by giving the smile, even if it's after the fact.  It was kind of corny, maybe, but really stuck with me. I can't say I've made a practice of doing this since then, nor do I believe he did - I think it was just another teaching moment from him to me. Obviously, an effective one since I'm sharing it 25 years later!

This kind of goes with another lesson he shared with me those years ago - treat people into existence.  In a way, he wanted them to be happy, positive and show it with a smile – so, he thanked them. He treated them as he wanted them to be - toward him, maybe, but I think more toward themselves and therefore toward others.

Tricky, manipulative, controlling?  Could be. But few things we do in relation to others could avoid that categorization.  I believe he was authentic in his comment - he really wanted to influence others in a positive way, and this was one way to do that. Plus, he loved to have fun with people, and this certainly accomplished that as well.

Smiling makes a huge difference. It cuts through negativity and dread and, yet, it's easy to do, and perhaps easy to drive others to do as well.

So, thank you for your smile!