If You're Happy And You Know It


If You’re Happy and You Know It

Nice is free. You all have heard me say this a million times. It really is free. It’s a choice and a decision. I drop my son off at school and run to the grocery store and I try to be as nice to everyone I see as possible. From the person putting out fresh produce, to the deli counter folks, to the worker who rings me up, I do my level best to smile and say good morning and mean it. Why you may ask do I put such effort into being nice? My answer is this.

What’s the alternative? If I really allowed the thoughts of how early it is, or how expensive groceries have become or start running through the mental ‘to do’ lists waiting for me when I get home, it could easily be a very bad and negative morning. Instead, I choose the idea that these things, while all true will be affected directly by how I choose to view them. I choose happy. I choose up. I have a goal when I go out. If I am able to make 1 person smile, then all of my efforts and choices were worth it. And you know what? That genuinely puts me into a better mood for the remainder of the day. Having something and giving it away gives me far more than I gave.

Over the years, I have learned to pay close attention to people when they lose. When my son loses a baseball or soccer game, his demeanor doesn’t change all that much. I have preached the mantra, “act like you’ve done it before” to him since he could throw or kick a ball. Score a goal? Be happy. Enjoy the moment. Feel the pride, but act like you’ve done it before. Smack a home run? As you’re rounding the bases, enjoy it for all it’s worth, but act like you’ve done it before. Strike out with the game on the line? Be positive. Let it hurt but act classy. I always remember Barry Sanders, the Hall of Fame running back for the Detroit Lions. He would make tremendous moves and do things on a football field no one had ever seen to score a touchdown. What did he do? Did he dance, or start pointing at himself or find a camera to start acting like a fool? Nope. He gave the ball back to the officials and went to the bench. Act like you’ve done it before. But when people lose, I always feel that is who they really are. I know I am far from perfect, but I watch when things don’t go their way to see how they act. That is when choosing nice is even more important. Helping folks see that even in the face of loss we can still show grace, kindness, class, and niceness is one of the greatest gifts we can leave society. It costs nothing, but its value is immeasurable.

My friends, there are a great many people who are struggling out there right now. Most struggle in silence and just go about their days. Some don’t know where their next mortgage payment is coming from or how they can afford to put food on the table. Some are just tired of the rat race and are exhausted. While we can donate to worthwhile causes (and we should if we are able) the far easier thing to do is just be nice. If you show someone happiness, you never know how it will impact someone’s day. Smile and mean it. Say good morning and really mean it. Hold a door for someone. It costs nothing. The value it may mean for the person you’re doing it for may be more precious than gold. When I’m having a bad day and someone is nice to me, I always thank them for their kindness and tell them how it lifted me up. I let them know the deposit of kindness they gave me wasn’t wasted. The challenge is this my friends; Find 3 times in a day to be nice for no reason. Start with a smile or holding a door. Offer a kind word or gesture.

One act at a time, we may just change the world. Advocate for more joy by being joyful.

Steve is a Dexter resident. He is the owner, Chief Happiness Officer, smile advocate, and success coach for BetterPlace Consulting. If you need some kindness, reach out to him at steve@betterplacemgmt.com

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