Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
“Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.” - George Eliot
“Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give.” - Lawrence G. Lovasik
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” - Mother Teresa
Hundreds of the most influential people throughout history understood the power of a simple smile. A smile is something that costs nothing, yet is priceless. It cannot be bought or sold, only given away. The more smiles you give away, the more you get in return. A smile is a key element to both our happiness and success in life.
Smiling has enormous benefits for both the giver and receiver of the smile. Here are just some of those benefits:
- A smile makes others feel good. When you smile at someone, it has an immediate uplifting effect on that person. People like to be with people who make them feel good. The smile is most often returned which makes the giver feel good as well.
- A smile leads to happiness just as happiness leads to a smile. All of our lives we associate smiling with good feelings of happiness and laughter. This association works to our advantage when we want a quick way to become happy. Put on a big fake smile then look in the mirror. Within seconds, the fake smile will turn genuine.
- A smile is an invitation. A smile, along with good eye contact, is a universal invitation. It tells the person receiving the smile that the giver is friendly and approachable. This is seen frequently in both personal and professional situations.
- A smile is comforting. A gentle smile can ease just about any tense situation. It is especially comforting when given by one in a position of power to another, as in a doctor/patient, teacher/student, boss/employee, or parent/child situation.
- A smile leaves favorable impressions. First impressions are said to be made within three seconds. These first impressions are mostly based on feelings and emotions. A smile, or lack thereof, is one of the most influential characteristics on another’s emotions. Smile, and leave others with a favorable impression of you.
- A smile makes you look happy, confident, and self-assured. It is the confident sales person who makes the sales. It is the confident student that gets the good grades. It is the confident single that gets the dates. Confidence is a large part of success, and smiling is a way of showing your confidence to others without saying a word.
Is one expected to smile all the time? Of course not. Besides not being natural, there are times when it is appropriate to have a more serious or somber expression, like at a funeral. Here are just a few times when a conscious effort to smile should be made.
- When you meet someone
- When you enter a room
- When you make a motion that attracts attention
- When you are making a sales presentation
- When you are recording your outgoing voice mail message
How does one smile? Is it as simple as using one’s facial muscles to lift up the ends of one’s mouth? For a fake smile, it is that simple. A genuine smile does, however, take a little more effort. A genuine smile begins in the heart with a warm feeling, proceeds to the eyes that then force the ends of the mouth upward into a smile. Smiling is habitual; the more you do it, the more you can’t help doing it.
A smile is more contagious than the common cold, and as the giver, it is a whole lot more beneficial to both you and those you come “in contact” with. It is the trademark of many famous actors and said to be the “secret of success” for many individuals. Use smiles to bring yourself and those around you more joy, happiness, and success.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)