Can One Smile Change the World?

A few years ago I was in NYC for business.  While I was making my way from my hotel to the Empire State Building I noticed something disturbing.  People were head down, briskly walking to their destinations, barely making any eye contact.  As I continued to walk this started to bother me. I began to think, what would happen if I were to smile and make a comment to them?

Validation (Photo credit: splorp)

So I started my little experiment. At first I was trying to make eye contact before I spoke.  That wasn’t working.  People were rushing by me as fast as they could! As you may know there are moments that people start to slow down at each street corner, either waiting for that crazy erratic taxi to drive through the crowds or at a street light. This is where I decided to re-start my experiment!

I began to make eye contact and tell them, “Good Morning” with a smile. I would change it up a bit, by saying, “Hope you have a great day today”!  There were those that actually responded!  At first they looked somewhat startled, “You talkin’ to me?”! Kidding no one said that! Startled that someone was actually speaking to them. Some smiled back, some even said, “Thank you, same to you!”

Maybe only one smile will not change the world, but what if one smile or one kind action created a butterfly effect? I started to notice that as I walked, a feeling of happiness came over me. There was even a hop in my steps. I no longer felt alone in that big city. I continued to do this until I reached my destination.

Of course I am not sure if the same feelings came over those that actually responded to me, or if they continued to do the same as they made their walk that morning. Something inside of me changed that day. I realized that a small gesture could actually affect someone’s day and make it a better one.

In the end we all want to be validated, but what has stopped us from validating others?  Today I was introduced to this video, “Validation”, which has won several Short Film Awards.  Which validates my point!

It proved to me, that although we may not be able to see the results of our actions, we can help change this world one smile at a time! Have a great week, you are Awesome!

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Lisa Ladrido (87 Posts)

Lisa is an R.N. Mom Blogger and the author of Mom Blogger Buzz. She writes about Social Media, Personal Development, Blogging Tips, Travel, Family, Health and Wellness. She and her husband live in the Seattle area. They have 5 sons, 4 grandchildren and 7 furry four legged children!

24 comments for “Can One Smile Change the World?

  1. Kathy Radigan
    February 20, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    Lisa you are so right, sometimes it's the smallest things someone may do that can make a difference in my own day. We never do know what a kind word or even a smile can do for someone else. Thanks for another great post. I love to visit you!! xo

  2. Lisa Ladrido
    February 20, 2012 at 6:31 AM

    Hi my dear! When I saw that video this morning I remembered of that day in NYC! It was fun.

  3. Gerry Wendel
    February 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Originally from that neck of the woods, do realize that there is more of a "rush rush" mentality…people are going, going, going and not always paying attention to what's going on around them. They ARE friendly (and a bit guarded)…just on the move. And see, they were nice back!

    I noticed in California that people move a little slower and they are more likely to say hello to you first. That's what 300+ days of beautiful weather can do to you!

  4. Lisa Ladrido
    February 21, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Hi Gerry,
    I was brought up in NY. The city is always alive. My son lives there now and I hope that once I am better I can go visit him. Yes, the sun will do that to you! Now I live near Seattle, and that sweet sun doesn't appear very often! Thanks for stopping in.

  5. Sarah
    February 21, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I noticed this when I was in college. Often times there were so many friendly smiling faces as I walked to and from classes and people who would say hi that I often had a hard time not responding and exchanging a smile in return. I love that video!

  6. Lisa Ladrido
    February 22, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    That video really touched me. I immediately remembered that day in NY, I have since done it in other locations and the response has always been positive. When I was young I was so shy, hardly gave eye contact to anyone! We grow out of it thankfully, at least most of us do! Thank you Sarah.

  7. Lisa Cash Hanson
    February 22, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    True true. Sad that when you smile people think you're weird but I do it anyway and some really appreciate it :) You just never know what others are going through and a smile could really help their day. As you posted I know it helps mine as well :)

  8. Emily @FamilyNLifeLV
    February 22, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    I totally believe in the power of a smile. I smile at strangers all the time, you never know how big of an impact it could have on their day! Super awesome video!!

  9. Lindsay
    February 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I believe you definitely created a "Butterfly Effect" that day. When people feel just a little bit of a connection with another person, they are affected. They will likely think about that moment several times and just wonder what made you do what you did. You planted a thought and nothing can grow as big as a thought and the ideas it inspires!

  10. Leah
    February 22, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Lisa, you are definitely right about this! One small act of kindness can indeed change the world. Be it a smile, a gesture or whatever. I often find myself wondering how it is that something so simple can get overlooked…but maybe that is a topic for a future blog ;-) Big hugs!!!

  11. Lori
    February 23, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    Glad I found you on the Linky hop…I'm following with GFC and LF. I would love if you stopped by and followed back, so we can stay connected. Lori

  12. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I know why is that? I would rather be considered weird then!! Thanks Lisa!

  13. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Hi Emily! I love the video too! Thanks for visiting!

  14. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    I think it was more of a selfish reason! I was alone in the city and wanted to feel a connection. So I thought I would try it! You are so right Lindsay!

  15. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    I know Leah, I am not sure why some have forgotten to do that. I wish we were all more like children, somewhere in life we have forgotten how to be childlike! Thanks for visiting!

  16. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Hi Lori! I am so behind on the Linky Hop! Hope to get to you soon. I appreciate you taking the time to visit! Lisa

  17. Lisa Cash Hanson
    February 25, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    LOL you're not weird ..reading this made me think of Evan Almighty one of my favorite movies remember A.R.K?

  18. Lisa Ladrido
    February 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I forgot about that movie! I really liked it too, should get it on Netflix to see again! Thanks for the reminder Lisa! (I think I'm weird!!)

  19. mrsmomx6
    February 28, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Ahh yes…I too, have tried the smile experiment. There was this one time, in Vegas,when a man looked at me, farted and called the cops:)

    But I'll smile for you any time :)

  20. Lisa Ladrido
    March 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    You are so bad Sharon! Thanks for bringing some of your special brand of humor to me!

  21. Hannah
    March 22, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    I enjoyed your blog. And the good news about smiling is that you get fewer wrinkles from smiling than frowning ;-)
    Hannah P.S.
    Join the fun, submit a cute photo or funny photo to my website contest. Then encourage your friends to vote and watch the results to see how many viewers vote for your photo. NO entry fee. $2,000 of prizes annually.

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