Lately, I've been thinking and experimenting of the simple yet powerful gesture of smiling in everyday life. I examined this gesture on two fronts; how it effects others and how it affects oneself.
Generally, I'm a pretty happy guy and as such, I smile a lot... well, no.. I smile pretty much all the time. I smile from ear-to-ear with a big toothy grin. I smile until my eyes can't be seen (I guess I smile with my eyes). I smile with my whole body and an open heart. It's pretty much hugging a person without physically hugging a person out of nowhere because that would be pretty creepy.
The precursor to the delivery of a warm smile is the initiation of direct eye contact. So how does this affect others? Through my own extensive experimentation by initiating eye contact and smiling at people from all walks of life; on the street, streetcars, subways, buses, malls - pretty much anywhere and everywhere, people will almost unconsciously respond in kind with a warm smile as well. In terms of meeting new people or strangers, it instantly creates a connection between two people through something so universal, simple yet profound in sparking a connection with someone.
Naturally, however, making direct eye contact with a person is seen as a VERY aggressive gesture. It sends a shot of adrenaline through our bodies and the other person because it's a biologically hardwired response to view direct eye contact as a threat, challenge or act of aggression. But when you follow up immediately direct eye contact with a warm smile, it automatically lowers a person's defenses because there's such a contrast between direct eye contact and a warm smile and instantly makes a person feel "good".
Why it works that way in my opinion is that a warm smile signifies whole-hearted acceptance of a person. When I smile at a person, I picture where the person might be headed to, what's on their mind, what were they thinking before I made eye contact. When it's coupled with the fact that its towards a new person, the effect is amplified in your favour because this sort of "risk-taking behaviour" is generally not practiced by society at large.
The foundation that makes this gesture consistent and powerful is your mindset or belief system when you smile in this fashion is your mindset or belief system. I *love* meeting new people, understanding them and blowing past the usual superficial pleasantries like "what do you do?" or "where you're from?". While most people are trapped in their own selfish thoughts of what's to be done in the future, what happened in the past, what needs to be done today in order to make it through the week. By getting down to the core essence of a person, you break that pattern of stress or insecurities. I like to get to know what drives them through life and by discovering their passions, you can open a whole new world of possibilities in connecting with someone.
During this process, you need to open yourself up as well, because how much the other person will open up is correlated to your level of openness. When you employ that sort of mindset, you will notice a marked improvement in your relations with new people, colleagues and friends in general.
How this affects oneself is simple. If you were try to feel depressed when you're forcing a smile from ear to ear, it's simply not possible. You can trigger the way you feel by how you express yourself physically. Like direct eye contact, you're biologically hardwired this way. When you smile for a set amount of time, you'll literally change how you feel and as such change your mood further adding momentum to your reaching out and connecting with someone.
Here's an exercise that you can try out for yourself. Try to feel depressed when you're smiling and looking up at the ceiling. I'll bet you a pint of beer (or non-alcoholic if you don't drink) that it's VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to feel depressed when you're doing so.
*insert I had my friend Rob Wilkinson message me on Facebook and here's what he had to add about smiling:
"did you know that smiling is Scientifically Proven to make you Happier? Smiling actually creates endorphins which stimulate natural responses that effect mood. That's why it actually helps when you try and get someone who's up to try and smile."
Try this stuff out. It's good for the soul :)
What are thoughts on smiling? Let us know in the comments section!
The Art of Smiling
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
For a while I was mulling on trying to snatch a domain name that were either:
Or some combination thereof. I had logged onto Sedo.com in order to see what the bid process for galvanized.ca would be... and got a response... $6000!!!
Crazy stuff eh? Considering I'm a very tight budget, and trying to stay within $20 a week - it hasn't been the smoothest of rides.
I realized today that a lot of startup web companies names have their domain names mispelled. For instance, flickr.com or "lookr.com" etc. As long as it SOUNDS fine, you're still good to go in terms of marketing, simplicity in a domain name and ease to remember.
So I give you.. GALVANIZD.com! Haha.. cost me about $10.45 after registering via NetFirms.ca, but this will definitely be something fun to learn from and re-embrace the inner computer nerd persona I shed years ago.
I'm definitely gonna have to tap Malcolm, Josh or Garmond in order to get some help in getting this thing up and running.. haa :)