I probably belong to the minority group, which is not afraid of going to the dentist. Today my dentist complimented my teeth and stressed the importance of proper dental care. He said, “If you take care of your teeth, then your smile would remain as beautiful for a long time to come.”
Pearly white teeth might improve the aesthetic appearance of a smile but a smile has a cheer-up effect on the giver and the recipient regardless of how it looks like. Have you ever heard of Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne? He is the guy, who decoded the physical characteristics of a genuine smile, which is also known as the Duchenne Smilie (Wikipedia, 2012). Even if you are not familiar with Duchenne’s work, you probably would be able to discern a true smile from a fake one. Our eyes are not only the windows to our souls but they betray false smiles as well.
Mother Teresa is attributed as saying, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” I totally agree with her. I am a notorious smiler. Regardless of how I am feeling, I always have a smile to share. I believe it is due to my smile that I have had a number of interesting talks with strangers, all over the world. One time a woman told me all about her thanksgiving plans, while we were sitting in a subway in New York. Another time an old lady told me all about her grandchildren, as we were in a lift in Singapore.
When I first moved to Germany, I made a surprising discovery. First people smiled a lot less than I was used to in Singapore. Second I received strange looks when I smiled at strangers. Sometimes I could see them wondering, if they knew me from somewhere. Other times I was sure based on the looks thrown my way, they thought that I was simple- minded. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Therefore I stopped smiling at strangers for a while. But I couldn’t keep that up for long. So I decided to go on the offensive. I not only smiled at strangers, I wished some of them a good day as well. That earned me some surprised good day wishes as well. Cheeky me! My smile is my gift to you but you are free to reject it and no offense take.
A couple of years ago, the management of my former company asked for suggestions on how to improve our sales figures. One of the suggestions I made was later mentioned during a road show for the employees. I suggested that when talking to customers on the phone, the sales person should do it with a smile. I am convinced that one can hear a smile in the voice and that it has a positive effect on the customer. I am still convinced that this is assumption holds true. Would you rather be served a friendly or unfriendly person?
Who said nothing in life is for free? A smile is free and it can work wonders. Go ahead! Surprise someone today but giving them a smile when they least expect it.
Wikipedia. (2012, February 09). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smile