Once upon a time I had a job.  And just about at the year mark, I got a poor review.  Not because of my work, which was actually quite good, but because of my attitude.  I was, it seemed, always miserable and always complaining.  Too much work. Not enough time.  Whatever I could complain about, I did.  In fact, the complaining was so automatic that I wasn’t even conscious of it.  But I really wanted to keep the job and I was determined to change.

So I made a conscious effort to smile.   Sometimes even with gritted teeth, but always smiling.  When people asked me how I was, I always responded “Great” or “Terrific” no matter what I was feeling.  Not a single complaint left my lips.  And slowly, over time, things changed at the job.  The job got better.  It became less stressful.  People wanted to be around me and spend time with me.  After a while I got happy.   I didn’t need to put on that smile anymore.  Happy came naturally.

Smiling is contagious.  When you smile, other people do too.  And people naturally gravitate to happy people.  Smiling is a critical part of successful selling and networking.  Anytime you come in touch with people, particularly if you are trying to influence them, make sure you smile. Smiling even makes a difference on the phone.  People don’t have to see you to sense when you are smiling.  When you smile on the phone, you generally get a better response.

The brain is not very smart and it takes its cues from the body.  The act of raising those muscles in the corners of our mouths releases happy endorphins in our brain. So it isn’t happy that makes you smile. It’s smiling that makes you happy.   Even that fake smile I walked around with for a while at that job released endorphins.  That’s why I got happy.  It had nothing to do with the job.  That didn’t change.  I did. All it took was a smile.

Smile.  Watch your world change too.

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