Add Smile Power to Your Life
People with a great smile radiate a warmth that draws others to them instantly.
Several years ago I was in a San Diego restaurant with my mother. While I
check, we both noticed an elderly woman waiting to be seated. As we left
the restaurant, Mom asked, "Did you notice that woman with the wonderful
smile?" I most certainly did. Her smile lit up the room. It was a smile
to die for_one that would certainly win instant friends. It was a smile
that you don't often see in a stranger. And maybe Mom and I smiled back, I
don't remember. Mom later commented, "I wish I'd told her what a terrific
smile she had." But neither of us had. We'd both received a gift without
Later, on my long drive home, I stopped at a fast-food restaurant for a quick
A 70ish woman waited by the condiment bar while her husband ordered.
She glanced my way and smiled brightly. It was one of those smiles that
"I love life!"
I wasn't going to let THIS opportunity pass_I was going to say SOMETHING.
As I approached this woman from 30 feet away, her smile melted into a
rather startled look; as if asking, "Did I do something wrong?" I walked
over to her and simply said, "You have a wonderful smile!" Wow, did
her face light up! And she responded with an enthusiastic, "Thank You".
My comment probably made her day, but it also made MY day. We truly
exchanged gifts that afternoon.
SMILES: INSTANT FACELIFTS
Life's lessons have taught me this: a smile is the number one feature that
people attractive. It's a welcome mat. It's what makes folks approachable.
People with a great smiles radiate a warmth that draws others to them
Some people naturally have a great smile. Others_analytical types like
me_must work at it. One way to tell if you're in my category is to
recall picking up your developed photos. As you flipped through the
pictures, you didn't like the way you looked in most of them. But then...you discovered that one great picture of yourself. In it, you look
friendly_you're smiling broadly and your eyes twinkle. Now THAT picture
looks like you!
I hate to say it, but ALL the pictures look like you_even those you
dislike. Unfortunately, those "bad" photos, where your face doesn't look its
best, portray how you often appear. In fact, you might normally look even
worse, since you were TRYING to look good for the camera. Usually you're
not even making that effort, and may appear even less inviting than you do
in "bad" photos. And if you're like me, you assume you're not particularly
photogenic and that your smile needs work. When you've mastered your smile,
you'll consistently look better in photos. Most important, though, you'll
be more attractive and approachable every day.
When you're having a good time, does your face show it? You might be
surprised. Years ago I dropped into a comedy club in Montgomery, Alabama.
I was sitting in the front row, where one is typically fair game to be picked
on by the comedian. But being the non-expressive, serious Norwegian that I am,
I wasn't giving the comic the jovial feedback he needed. I was enjoying
the show, but in a straight-faced manner. About halfway through the show,
the comic interrupted his routine to ask me point-blank, "Are you having a
I responded, "I'm having a great time." His comeback: "Well then, tell your
face!" I was enjoying the program, laughing inside, even studying the
performer's humor and technique. BUT...not giving him any outward
In everyday life the same concept applies. You might be enjoying your job,
but fail to show it. You may want to meet someone, yet not give them a
single, friendly clue. You can even be IN LOVE with somebody, and totally
hide it. Your face should express what you feel when you wish to connect
SMILE AEROBICS FOR EMOTIONAL HEALTH
One way to become better at smiling is increasing your awareness. Take
notice of those you find warm and inviting. Is it their smile? Make an
effort to LOOK for great smiles. Notice the appeal of people who smile
with their EYES, not just their mouth. The whole face gets involved.
Consider these people your models. Study yourself in the mirror. How do
you look in the rest room, when shopping, and while passing a reflective
window? Do you look friendly? Approachable? Do you really LIKE the image
In fact, a mirror is ideal for your smile workout. Practice various smiles
toward capturing that perfect look for the camera. Work on expressing your
smile with your eyes. A tip: cut a paper rectangle that permits you to
see only your eyes in the mirror. Practice smiling just with your eyes.
Get used to the feel of your cheekbones as they lift to brighten your eyes.
When you see how a great smile LOOKS, remember how it FEELS. When you can
finally project your best smile, hold it. Turn away from the mirror. How
does your face feel? What muscles are you using? Make an effort to develop
muscle memory, so you can instantly recreate this smile at will.
THE SMILING REMINDER
Sometimes it's life's little reminders that help us focus on making
self-improvements. I set out to find a "smile" lapel pin as a permanent
token of my smile's importance. After a fruitless one-year search, I
the design and production of smile pins. Now when I encounter a total
stranger with a million-dollar smile (not an everyday occurrence), I share
the compliment, "You have a wonderful smile...thanks for brightening my
day! I'd like you to have my golden smile pin." Then I might add,
"And someday, when YOU see a total stranger with a fantastic smile, you can
pass on the pin to them."
This little reminder has conditioned me to search out life's glowing smiles,
and not to allow them to pass unnoticed. I always carry "golden smile" pins.
And when I spot a show-stopper smile, I always express my appreciation.
Other strategic pluses:
You needn't search for a smile pin to remind you. You can choose another
object, like a clown pin, that will program you to focus on smile power.
Or consider something that nobody else sees, like whimsical underwear. In
fact, you may discover that the sheer strength of just your awareness can
positive life changes.
With practice you can focus on life's smiles; and create your own relaxed,
naturally warm smile. And THEN when you get back a roll of photos, you'll
like almost all of them! That's certainly been my pleasant experience.
And when you encounter customers, strangers, or loved ones, you'll always
be ready to pass on your award-winning smile!
- The pin reminds me never to leave home half-dressed: without my smile.
Even while I'm running routine errands, it keeps me focused on smiles as
life's true blessings.
- By shaping my focus, the pin increases awareness of my public appearance
and attitude. For example, when in a grocery line, I don't want the
checker to glance up and think, "Why in heaven's name is this sourpuss
wearing a smile pin?" It forces me to wear a friendly face all day.
- The pin encourages me to compliment others. When I fail to say a kind
word about someone's beautiful smile, I feel guilty. Now, that's what I call
constructive guilt! We've often been conditioned to feel shame because
we've not lived up to what others expect, but isn't it more positive to
suffer guilt for failing our OWN expectations?
Copyright 2006 by John Kinde
You may republish this article with the following credit line:
"Copyright by John Kinde, who is a humor specialist in the training and speaking business for over 30 years specializing in teambuilding, customer service and stress management. Free Special Reports: Show Me The Funny -- Tips for Adding Humor to Your Presentations and When They Don't Laugh -- What To Do When the Laughter Doesn't Come. Humor Power Tips newsletter, articles and blog are available at www.humorpower.com."