This idea presented itself to me during a conversation I had with my socially frustrated friend. He told me that it was hard for him to interact with people in a public, social setting. To which, I responded with the following mindset:
SmileWaveTalk… I keep it as one word because the three must work together to be successful. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you, allow me to clarify. SmileWaveTalk is a way of thinking directed at extracting as much value as possible from all the small social interactions we, as humans, encounter on a daily basis.
So, imagine, you are going about your day as normal. Running an errand before work, you stop to get some coffee. There are a few other anxious coffee fiends in front of you, a couple sitting at a table beside you, and a man having a cigarette outside. After you order your non-fat, moderately hot, no-room, classic sweetener, skinny latte, you move to the area to wait for it to get off the assembly line.
At this point, I know many of you may reach for your cellphone to answer that email you forgot about from the night before, or text a friend you are going to see after work, right? If this is true of you, ask yourself why that is your first instinct? Why is it that the idea of standing alone waiting for your coffee becomes as awkward as going stag to your senior prom? The most common answer to these questions, is that we would rather avoid an awkward social situation completely, than risk having it.
To refute, doesn’t it always seem less awkward when there is someone to talk to? A simple, “Hello.” or “How’s it going?” can extinguish even the most fervent “awk-fire.” Hence the formulation of the SWT Mindset.
This mindset is very simple on paper. But, it is EVEN MORE simple to practice in real life. The concept is that you make an agreement with yourself to SMILE, WAVE, and/or TALK to anyone who makes eye-contact with you in public (aside from the creeps and crazies of course). You don’t need to hunt around the room for eyes everywhere you go, but rather, to make the promise to yourself to do so until it is reflex.
Why should you do this? The benefits can be astounding. I have seen people put this mindset into action and experience a higher level of happiness within hours of its application. Yes, hours. And all it takes is a simple smile on your face, a friendly gesture, and a “Hello.” The reaction you will receive is what makes SWT work. Every wave you have returned, casual conversation started, and person you make smile will only further contribute to your own happiness. Compound 5-10 of these in a day, and it is almost impossible NOT to be influenced into happiness. You are quite literally forcing yourself to smile.
Now, understandably there are many people that already do this by instinct. And to them this may seem trivial. But, to the person who fears walking past someone on the sidewalk, or waiting in line at Starbucks, it can do wonders. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So dig away!
THE TAKE AWAY: Adopt the SmileWaveTalk Mindset. Practice until it is reflex, and proceed to lead a happier daily life.