“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
~ Abe Lincoln
Happiness is an inside job revealed as a smile.
Human Relations Principle 5: Smile
(“A simple way to make a good first impression.”)
(This is the fifth in a series of articles where I will encapsulate each of Dale Carnegie’s timeless, life-changing principles for dealing with people. (Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People.))*
How a smile triggers happiness and success
People rarely succeed at anything unless they have fun doing it. People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children. That’s why encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment.
You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you. Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. Smile at people and they most likely will smile back. It’s contagious!
Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” That’s why dogs and babies make such a hit. They are so glad to see us that they almost jump out of their skins. So, naturally, we are glad to see them.
An insincere grin? No. That doesn’t fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it. I am talking about a real smile, a heartwarming smile, a smile that comes from within.
Everybody in the world is seeking happiness—and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it. Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
What to do when you’re not feeling happy
Not feeling happy? Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happier. A smile turns a frown upside down. William James said, “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.” Give it a try. What do you have to lose?
Today, brighten someone’s day with a smile and feel your own brighten too.
Much success and fulfillment with mastering human relations,
* The best guide on effective human relations that I have ever encountered is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Prior to writing the book, Carnegie spent 20 years researching the habits of successful people. The book has sold over 30 million copies and is still listed on Amazon’s top 100 best selling books.
Other articles within this series you may enjoy: