Photo credit: Wikimedia

There is something that you can do, and it won't cost you a dime. Look a stranger in the eye and smile. It might feel awkward, just go ahead.

Here is a woman that has put it into practice:

 

Today, a young woman and her toddler knocked on my door. The woman stared at me in silence for a second and then smiled and said, “I was just visiting the area and I couldn’t help but look-up your address. Your son carried me out of the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 before he went back inside to save others. I think about you and your family almost every single day.”

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You might have been conditioned by life's circumstances and experiences to think: nobody notices. I won't get a raise for it, certainly not a promotion. Why should I go to the trouble? 

Let me spell out my case. 

1. Smile even when your heart is breaking.  It is not a lie to smile when you don't feel like it. It tells others this truth: you are more important than all my pain. 

2. Smiling at others breaks the cycle of self-centered self-pity. You do not want to be mastered by anything, certainly not your fickle emotions. 

3. People really are important. This let's others know you are glad to see them. 

4. People smile back. It's the echo principle - whatever you yell into the canyon, is what you will hear. The Scriptures says: As a man sows, so shall he reap. 

5. Laughter is a sign of health. Help people be healthy, make them smile.

6. You will start recreating the image of the person you know you want to be. 

7. Honey attracts, vinegar repels.  You have met people like this. Don't be one of those others gladly avoid.  

8. It's never about you.  Ever. Never. I'm smiling right now as I type.  

Still not convinced? Isn't it unfortunate that a dog is considered "man's best friend", and not a person? That is the title you earn if you show excitement just by seeing a person. Fido wags his tail - expressing delight and pleasure - and endures himself to others. You can too by smiling. 

Just try it as an experiment. In my experiment or experience, I have yet to find one person that did not smile back in return. 

Keith Gandy - GermanyKeith Gandy - Germany

Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.

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