Friday, April 6, 2012

Smile: Pass It On


Smile: Pass it On – I saw this message attached to a picture of the Mona Lisa on a bus stop this week. It’s a  New York City public service campaign that’s on billboards, busses and papers. I’d like to think it isn’t needed.  But you never know.

So I stood off to the side and watched to see if anyone took note of it directly – none seemed to. And then I thought I’d test out whether they either needed or heeded the reminder: I started smiling at the people I passed. Well, first I had to catch their attention, and then I smiled. Don’t you know that more people smiled back than not. Not a very scientific survey, but it was encouraging.

I’d like to think that in this densely populated city, a smile has the power to make that density a positive thing. On the streets, in subways, on busses, going through doorways, up and down stairways and escalators, walking across busy streets, sitting in the park, sitting in restaurants, hanging out with others, walking the dogs – there’s not a place here (or anywhere) that a simple smile doesn’t have the power to make wherever you are or whatever you’re doing better.

But wait – isn’t that obvious? I mean, do they really need a public service announcement or campaign to remind people to smile?  Well, in a perfect world I suppose not, but then what’s the harm. We often tell those we love that we love them – does that imply they forgot? No. We remind our children to look both ways – does that mean they don’t remember? No. We listen to repeated news stories and weather forecasts – does that mean we didn’t hear them the first time? No. So it seems normal to remind people to Smile – does that mean they don’t or won’t? Well, no.

Because in life, we need to continually reinforce the things we want repeated – just like we learned in Psych 101 class. So we often repeat the things we want others to remember or focus on, and in this world where everything is repeated repeatedly, this is one of the better ones to repeat and reinforce. What’s the harm?  Nothing!  So wherever you are, take time today to Smile, and Pass It On.  It can’t hurt. And it just might help!

My message this week is about being responsible for making people and things better:
Arte Nathan“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.”   -Mother Teresa

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (1910 – 1997), more commonly known as Mother Teresa, was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950.

It seems we always take for granted those we know and care about the most. Think about the people around you – you probably give the most work (or grief) to those you like and trust, and the people who really don’t perform all that well probably get the least attention from you.  And the ones that are always on time, who always do a little extra, who care the most and try the hardest, probably get everything to do because people know they can be trusted. But what if everyone took the time to explain these thoughts to those who are not the best; what if we made the effort to coach them and mentor them; what if a few extra minutes a day could transform those who are not the best performers into better performers. Do you think that would help? Wouldn’t you want someone to do that with you? Think about it. And then trust those around you to handle and do good things today.  Pass it on!

Stay well!

An added note: this week’s picture is of the iconic figure in the sign of the Blue Angel Motel in downtown Las Vegas. The smiling angel, along with the sign and motel, are slated to be demolished soon. Hopefully she will be rescued and relocated to the Neon Museum where all the famous old signs go when they’re retired.

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