Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What I Learned From My 4-Month Old Daughter: “Just Smile”

This post is my entry into Robert Hruzek’s monthly “What I Learned From..” group writing project. If you haven’t seen or participated in this, check it out here.

I think if my 4-month old could talk right now, she would say “Daddy, it’s time for you to just smile and brighten someone’s day!” I’ll tell you what: she is going to be a firm believer in this smiling concept. That’s all she does. Granted, she may start to get fussy when she’s hungry or sick, but most every other waking moment is spent smiling! It doesn’t matter what kind of day I have had at work; when I get home to that huge smile, it instantly brightens up my day!!

Shouldn’t this be our goal? To brighten others’ days? Maybe it’s our employees, our bosses, our coworkers, our friends, our family. Shouldn’t we strive to put on a smile and really brighten up the day for somebody else? I know, babies are cuter and have really cute smiles. But, is there really a glaring difference? Don’t you just start to feel better (even if only a little bit) when you get a real, authentic smile from someone else? It doesn’t matter if they’re 4 months, 10 years, 40 years, or 80 years old! Smiles are contagious, and they provide an uplifting feeling of goodness!

So, here’s my challenge: It’s time for us to start smiling more! It’s time for us to be that beacon of light for others! Where do you start? How about this:

1) Start by smiling! I’m talking real and authentic smiling. I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so this may take some of us quite a while!

2) Change your attitude! We need authentic smiles and we need them to come naturally. This can only be accomplished by a real and conscious effort to change our attitudes.

3) Fake it (if you have to)! I know this seems to contradict my previous point on authentic smiles, but let’s think about it. Everyone will have those days when things aren’t going right. To avoid our self pity, it’s these days where we may need to fake it. Who knows, maybe faking it for a while will serve as a self fulfilling prophecy, and the true authentic smile will begin to shine!

So, that’s what I’ve learned from my 4-month old: Real, authentic smiles will brighten others’ days! I know this concept isn’t “new” by any means, but it’s definitely a concept that needs to be reiterated! Who knows, maybe this is one way we all can begin to “Change the World!”

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Bob said...

Sometimes the most profound lessons can be learned from something right under our nose!

Great post - thanks for joining us this month!

Eric Peterson said...

I love learning lessons from my kids!!

Thanks for the opportunity to join the group writing project. I'll look forward to it every month!

Don Frederiksen said...


Very nice thought. I love the notion of smiling. One of my favorite Tom Peters quotes is, "It begets it," for example, "smiles begets smiles. If you are smiling you will get smiles back.

Don Frederiksen

Eric Peterson said...

I love that quote! I think more people need to be introduced to it. Smiling is a great way to lead quietly, don't you think :)

Thank you for the comment. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

@Eric - Right on the money. I particularly like the comment of leading quietly.

@Don - Kind of funny how just the notion of smiling makes you wanna smile.

Eric Peterson said...

Thanks Bob! I know this touches home with've got kids!

I have to give the credit for the"lead quietly" comment to Don. He has a blog called "Lead Quietly" that I've been reading. He posts great stuff! Check it out.

Joanna said...

Hi Eric

This post most definitely made me smile, thank you :-)

I try to smile at everyone I meet in the area I live round here (in Edinburgh) and I love the reactions that I get, especially from the old people. They sometimes look like it's the first acknowledgement they've had in weeks.

I also try to get people to smile when they write - it makes a difference. We can tell the difference :-)


Eric Peterson said...

Thank you Joanna! Your comment definitely made me smile :)

Just imagine what the world could be like, if everyone made a conscious effort to smile more!

Thank you for the writing tip as well. I will definitely keep that in mind as I continue to write.

Thank you for taking the time to look at this post!

Timothy Johnson said...

Great post, Eric... kids make the best professors... you'll learn more from her than you'll ever learn from me.

Eric Peterson said...

Tim - I don't know....I've learned quite a bit from you. However, I am confident I will be writing more "toddler and infant taught lessons." Like you said, they can be very good professors!