The 100 Smile Challenge

It was one of those Sundays. Instead of relaxing at home with the family and watching football, I was at my part time job handing out free food samples. However, it was a very slow day. The weather was beautiful, the local football team was playing their first home game, and people were just not in the food shopping mood.

My mind drifted as I stood there in the far corner of the store with much less than the normal amount of vistors I would normally see. First I prayed. Then I visualized reaching some of my goals. However, after a while I could no longer focus. I felt like I needed to do something drastic and make positive impacts at the same time. Then the idea came to my mind. I usually do my best to put a smile on someone’s face with a kind word, or simply smiling at them. However, when things get busy at the store or at at the school I teach at, the smile and positive intentions sometimes disappear. I made the intention that today, since it was much slower, I would make this effort with every single person that came my way. My goal by the end of the day was to get 100 people in my presence to smile.

As I thought about it, I realized that the task was not very difficult. It’s a fact that when you smile at someone else, it is very likely they will smile back. I’ve seen it before at this store. Even if they don’t like what I’m promoting, they will still usually respond positively to the hello and smile they receive from me. The only difficulty today would actually be coming in contact with 100 people.

I began the deliberate smiles and positive greetings. I immediately received positive responses. I couldn’t get everyone to smile back, but even those who didn’t at least acknowledged me and said hello. One benefit I didn’t plan on during this time was that, as I was relaying smiles and positivity to others, I was being affected myself! I began to feel more positive and energetic. Besides putting smiles on the faces of others, I was getting the biggest kick out of this, and the smile grew automatically on my own face. The funny thing is that I was promoting a relatively unpopular product (seltzer water). Regardless, my encounters with the customers felt more natural and at ease, even though many had no interest in sampling the product.

As the day went on, I realized I was going to hit this goal. There were enough people passing by in the 4 hours I was on the floor. And I had 4 more people at home to share this positivity with as well! As it turned out, my final count was 112. As I end my day now I thank God for the idea, and the satisfaction of putting smiles on 112 faces today. It’s not the first time I’ve put a smile on someone’s face. However, it is the first time I set such a drastic goal and actually exceeded it. The reminder from this is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. I teach 150 students a day. Why not make the same deliberate effort to put some extra positive into their day? The same can be done with family members, friends, supermarket cashiers, people passing by, etc.

I would understand if you called me crazy for actually taking the time to tally smiles. I would certainly believe you. Those closest to me would say it’s something typical that I would do. However, I challenge you to do the same. Set a number goal and go out of your way to put a smile on as many faces as you can. It’s not difficult. Simply keep the smile on your own face, let God’s love shine through you, and say hello or something nice. You’ll be amazed at the positive impacts you make, and how good you feel also. Yes, the 100 smile challenge is a bit extreme, but sometimes you need to be that way to stand out and make a positive difference. Please share your results of where and when you try this and accomplish it. I would love to hear about it. Enjoy the blessings : )

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