Have you encountered someone, in a business situation, with a sour look and wondered what was wrong? Or maybe it was an expression that conveyed disinterest or boredom or irritation or suspicion or fear. What was the impact of that look on you? Did it help you want to continue the engagement or transaction?
That first impression might have “put you off” causing you to be wary. It might even have resulted in you now feeling irritated. You didn’t have a feeling of “liking” or trusting that the person cared or had your best interest in mind.
Zig Ziglar said that some people look like they were weaned on a pickle.
Let’s not be that person.
How can we get off to a good start with one person or a room full?
- Is it by wearing an expensive Brookes Brothers suit?
- Seeing our face in the shine of our shoes?
- Getting the best haircut of our lives?
- Being at our ideal weight?
In Part Two, Chapter 2 of Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” he teaches that a sincere smile, or lack of one, affects how others see and respond to us.
But I Don’t Feel Like It
He admits that sometimes we don’t feel like smiling, so he covers how actions and feelings go together. He says that if we can force ourselves to smile, we can begin to shift our feelings.
He quotes William James:
“Action seems to follow feelings, but really action and feelings 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.”
Carnegie concluded “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’s what we think about that makes us happy. And that affects those around us.
Abe Lincoln is reported to have said that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
I’ll bet you smiled back a little at that orangutan.
Let’s smile more and see what happens.