I don't know about you, but I really like the idea of inspiring others. Okay, so maybe I don't go so far as to don a red rubber nose or big, blue shoes that flop with each step, but inducing grins, lifting spirits, stirring confidence, boosting courage, all of these things energize me and make me feel alive. Bringing people up is so much more fun and rewarding than knocking them down. I often encounter grumps and wonder how they make it through the day. You know the type, people whose brows are pinched, who constantly frown, and who can't find a positive thing to say to anyone about anything. (Enough about the "Negative Nelsons and Nellys" of the world. This post is about making a positive impact, which is something that some people just don't "get" and never will.)
Inspiring others isn't all that difficult. It doesn't cost a lot of money. It doesn't take a great deal of effort. Here are a few simple suggestions on how you can become an inspiration:
Max Eastman said a smile is the universal welcome. He was right. I have found that a smile is a lot like the common cold—infectious (thankfully, a smile doesn't make your nose run). When I offer a smile of greeting, nine people out of ten will smile back. I've heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul. I'd take that a step further and claim that a smile is the light that tells people you're home…you're engaged…you're interested…and, most importantly, they matter. I've also learned that a smile will often confuse an approaching frown. I know I shouldn't take such delight in confounding the grumps out there, but nothing fills me with more joy than forcing a pair of pursed lips to curl up at the corners.
Show a little concern
I can't tell you how many cashiers I have stunned with a mere, "How are you doing today?" Of course, the question is so overused that it often goes unheard. But it's the delivery that matters. Asked in a heartfelt, sincere manner, cashiers (or bank tellers, or department store clerks, or…you get the idea) will stop what they're doing, they'll look me in the eye, they'll smile and answer, and most often they'll ask me how I'm doing in return. For that one moment, we truly connect. Letting people know you genuinely care has an extremely positive effect.
Look for the good
We seem to have no problem telling the server that our chicken is tough, or our potatoes are cold. We're often too quick to complain to the theater attendant that the air temperature isn't just right. Have you ever stopped to think how rarely people hear praise? When someone offers you a compliment, how does it make you feel? Well, think how great it would be to go around sprinkling that good feeling on everyone like it was fairy dust. It isn't difficult to say something nice, and that one compliment you give could be the only one that person hears all day long. Just think! One small show of appreciation could make someone's spirit soar.
There you have it…three easy tips that will set you on your way to being an inspiration in the lives of family, friends, and strangers alike. And once you start putting these suggestions into practice, I'm sure you'll find that YOU are the one who is most changed for the good. Now please don't get me wrong. Even though I've talked of rubber noses, smiles, and compliments, I do know that life isn't always a fun-filled circus. However, developing a habit of thinking of others, being connected and centered, making a conscious effort to notice those around you rather than moving through life on auto-pilot, showing honest caring and kindness toward those you meet, will give you an attitude of gratitude, and scientists are learning that a healthy mental outlook is a powerful contributor toward living a happy life.