In a brief ode to my father, two of my biggest takeaways from my childhood upbringing was, a smile can change the world and never burn a bridge.
My father would take me with him on his hospital rounds and we would pop in and out of the patient rooms conducting our business. My dad would practice his unique style of clinical and laughter oriented medicine while I would stand gazing in part encouragement and part second-hand embarrassment. My dad believes that its the laughter and the smile that really makes the patient better, the medicine is secondary.
As an offshoot of his practices, I take his wisdom and apply it in my every day interactions with people in my life. Let me highlight a bit of my Monday:
1. Believe in others: I was on the welcome committee for my company SinglePlatform today and there's this one new hire who came in today that I made a point to personally greet. I had met him when he was interviewing for the position and got this hunch that he was going to do great things. I told him, I guarantee you get the job, I know you're going to be great at it. Knowing nothing about this fellow, I put unjustified faith in him that he would succeed. When I saw him today, he reminded me of it and I could sense that a part of that reminder was an acknowledgement and commitment to not let me down. I'm excited to see how he progresses through training and onto the sales floor.
2. Smile it won't kill you: We've become so accustomed to getting on the subway and reading our books, walking on the sidewalk and staring at our phones, sitting in the cab and ignoring the driver and it makes you wonder, has the casual interaction flown by the way side? (That sentence is oddly structured like Carry Bradshaw's Sex in the city intros...) In a recent attempt at interaction reconstruction I've tried to match wandering eyes and shed a smile when appropriate. I'm not referring to flirting with strangers but what I'm suggesting is that if you catch someone looking up or glancing around, smile (or smirk) - it connects synapses and ties us all together. We are, after all, just 10 million people trying to make one city work for us.
3. Spice up their day: I ordered a make-your-own pasta at Flavors which usually suggests you pick your sauce, you pick your wheat source and you pick your accouterments. NOT TODAY! Today, I pick my conversation too! Once I started the order, the guy without hesitation started collecting the ingredients and hustling through his motions. He'd probably done this 100 times today and maybe 800 times over the last week and 30,000 over the last month and who wants to keep counting. I was tired of uninterrupted silence between customer and server so I started asking some thought provoking questions to this seemingly Hispanic flavors worker. "Did your boss make you work through the holidays or did you get some quality family time in?" He was receptive to the question, asked me the same and thanked me for bringing it up. "You get to watch football on Thursday or did the women in your life nag you to do yard work?" I got a chuckle and a smile as if to say, "you know me too well." SCORE! "You ever get tired of cranking through pasta orders?" A modest roll of the eyes, an approving nod and then another smile before this guy handed me my order. We had a pleasant goodbye and a salutary "have a good one my friend" before he was off to the next interaction. Anyone could have played that hand and it made both of our days that much better and exciting.
Personal Aside: We know happiness is internal and we know many of the ingredients to getting there: sleep, exercise, building relationships, etc. but one thing I want to work on is spiritual strength. A friend of mine is really turning me onto meditation and it's something I want to explore and learn more about? Some close friends think I that can be moody, maybe we can change that with some "centering."