I walked into Borders the other day. There was a security guard inside the store, near the door. I almost passed her with a neutral expression on my face. When I was almost past her, — there must have been some eye contact to prompt this — I smiled. Then, as I was walking away, she greeted me with a simple, “How are you?” I don’t remember my reply, but I do remember that she then greeted the next group that walked through the door. She made no effort to greet me as I walked in, but here she was going out of her way to be friendly to people.
Such is the power of the smile. This wasn’t even a full smile. This was just a smile quickly flashed at the tail end of a walk-by. It turned a bored person into a friendly person. It had a cascade effect, spreading happiness to the next group. When I walked out, I flashed a broad smile and said good-bye to the security guard. I just went in to grab a book and get out. Instead, I became a friendly, sociable person, simply by forcing myself to smile.
Now, imagine if I entered every room with a broad smile. This would certainly be a good habit to cultivate.