An Inch


In today’s technological age, we often hear about the wide stretches of the Internet. We are used to telescopes making discoveries in distant planets. How often do you hear about the power of an inch?

That’s right just an inch.

I talked with one of my friends yesterday who is staying in another country. Even though it sounded like he was only a few feet away through the phone, the sound was actually traveling thousands of miles. That’s technology and that’s impressive. But I’ve also been impressed lately by the power of an inch.

You are probably saying now “What do you keep talking about the power of an inch, an inch doesn’t have any power.”

I’m talking about the inch that two muscles of each side of your mouth moves when you smile. It takes tens of muscles to frown but only two to smile. This is a power that every person can wield no matter what economic level they are or how much technology they have.

I began to notice the power when going through checkout lines. If I smiled when I got up to the register, it made the cashiers smile even though they had customer after customer to ring up.

Most of the people probably didn’t even consciously notice they were smiling. It was as if my mouth moving a inch on each side made some kind of unconscious knee jerk kind of reflex happen in their brains. Without using hypnosis or offering people money, you could get people to respond.

You never know what one smile can do to a person’s day.

Imagine a homeless person on the street sitting on a corner with dirty clothes on and everybody passing by not wanting to even look at them because they are afraid of what they might beg for.

Now imagine what it would do for that same person if someone looked them straight in the eyes and gave them a big genuine smile and actually spoke to them first and said “Good afternoon, it’s good to see you today.”

Sometimes work beats us down so much that by the time we get home our children may not see a smile the entire evening.

In some marriages, smiles even among spouses have gone the way of the retired practice of opening a car door during dating. As I even thought about it, a smile and knowledge are two of the only things in life that you can give away and have no less for yourself.

As you go through the day, pay attention to how your facial muscles feel when speak to people in passing. Then try to begin with a smile when you speak to people and notice the difference in their response to you.

We traditionally think we are supposed to smile when we are happy. Maybe the reverse is true too; try looking at yourself in the mirror then give yourself the biggest smile. Now notice how the hormonal response of your brain affects the way you feel. When you smile at yourself in the mirror, do you feel happier, the same, or more sad? Now, imagine what others will feel if you can make yourself feel happier.

Just when you may have thought you had nothing or couldn’t afford to give anything, give a smile.

Give them an inch and they will take a smile.

By James Bronner

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