Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on November 20, 2007

Today: The immeasurable wonders your smile could bring.

People often pass each other like zombies. With a blank expression and a stiff body, they stare off into the distance as they go by one another in silence never acknowledging the existence of the other person.

If you would like an easy way to make a wonderful difference in this world, smile and greet people with a “hello” or a “good morning.” The results may amaze you.

In Vancouver last summer, when I walked in popular places such as Stanley Park, I passed many people, some just two or three feet away from me. With a big smile, I’d make eye contact and say “Good morning” to them with my voice ringing in happiness.

Often the response changed from a distant stare, to a smile and a reply of “Good morning to you,” and sometimes more. They might say, “Isn’t this a beautiful day,” or “How are you” or simply give me a warm smile back.

For you see most of us don’t want to live in a cold world. We want people to care about us, to be interested in us and to like us. We feel we are important, not invisible and by this simple greeting, you offer a friendly acknowledgement. You reinforce our self-esteem.

Oh, there will be the occasional person who will still stare off into space and walk stiffly by you in silence after you’ve greeted them. You have no window into their troubles but what you do know is that you don’t want their cold response to affect your positive attitude, for you have an endless well of opportunity to greet the many others who welcome it.

What I’ve just described to you got put to the acid test when Anne and I went through security at the Vancouver airport, as we prepared to fly home. The x-ray machine line was long and as Anne stepped-up they ran out of baskets for people to place their things onto the conveyer belt.

I was off to one side removing my shoes as I watched and listened to Anne and a female security guard speak. It was this guard’s job to be sure small items are put in a basket. “Would you please hand me a basket to place my things,” Anne said. “You’re all out of them.”

With a snarl, the woman looked at her and didn’t say a word. She just stood there staring harshly at Anne for it was not her job to get baskets, it was someone else’s. Finally she took three steps and got a basket and tossed it in front of Anne, who softly said, “Thank you,” and put her things in and placed it on the conveyer belt.

Watching this scene, I understood the problem. This security guard and the other guards get no respect. Many passengers treat them as an irritating inconvenience doing a job they may think a robot could do. Nor was there a supervisor to offer them encouragement as they did this endless repetitive job. And my guess is their employer treats them as easily replaceable.

So when I stepped-up, I gave this security guard a big smile, as I looked her in the eyes and said, “Good morning. How are you?” At first, she was startled, and then a warm smile came over her face and the tension left her body, as she replied, “I’m just fine. How are you?” She gently handed me a basket, as she ignored the rest of the line.

For she was receiving the respect and the warmth she had been craving.

If you think this approach of greeting people with a big smile and sincere warmth is effective only in Vancouver, I can assure you it has been as successful from Shanghai to Singapore, from Los Angeles to Sydney, and thru the harsh environs of New York and the formal settings of London.

Even in Tokyo where Japanese culture discourages initial eye contact, a smile and a gently bowed head can be equally as well received.

And what you receive may be the nicest part of all, for when you make others smile and feel good about themselves, it will uplift you as well.

Success Tip of the Week: In the words of Mother Teresa, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

In the next KazanToday: An easy way to make a fresh start in life.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!