Simple words; serious power

Gus saying hello to Watson

Every day when Gus and I are out walking, I play a little game with myself.   When we come upon any other person, whether they are walking towards us, or we simply pass them on our route, I smile and say “good morning!”  The game is to see how big a change I can bring about in that person, using only these two simple words.  You would be amazed.

Some people aren’t that exciting; they are already smiling and they begin to say “good morning” at almost the same time as I do.  I’m  always happy to get their greeting, and I give myself points for those ones, but not very many.  My favourite players in the game are the ones that present a bigger challenge.  You know, those people who walk with their heads down; trying to avoid the gaze of anyone coming their way.  Or those people who seem to be looking right through you as they approach.  You know that if you don’t say anything, they will just storm on by as if you aren’t even on the sidewalk.  These people are the ones that turn it into a real game for me.  I usually turn on my brightest smile and say my friendliest “good morning!”  in those cases.  I try to see how many points I can get.

Occasionally, one of these people won’t return my greeting at all, and they will just keep marching on by without acknowledging me or Gus.  There are no points for that.   Usually, however, I get at least a “good morning” in reply.  I grant myself small points if I get simple “hello” or “good morning” back; more points if I get a greeting and a smile, and the biggest points of all if I get an even bigger greeting than the one I gave.  The greatest bonus points are saved for those people who actually stop for a minute as they say hello, and we end up having a little chat.  Gus loves these ones the most, because these people usually pat him and give him a personal hello as well. He will smile and wag his greeting right on back.

Do you think I’m crazy?  I don’t.  It is a powerful feeling to see the transformation you can bring about in another person’s whole demeanour, as their face changes from a serious scowl or a blank stare to a warm and friendly smile  – all because of two simple words.  Give it a try today and you’ll see what I mean.