An inspiring substitute teacher named Mr. Slaughter taught me an unforgettable lesson: whatever you desire in life, give it away. In extension, the best route to happiness is giving happiness away. I’ve been thinking on this subject for some time, and I found that Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People defines several principles for mastery.
Delight and happiness go hand in hand. Excel at giving away happiness by understanding what delights people. Discover what delights you and pass it on to everyone you meet. Follow the Golden Rule: treat others the way you wish to be treated.
Answer this question: what simple things can I do to delight myself, my friends, my family and my community?
Delighting yourself is important first and foremost. Start by appreciating the simple things and practice gratitude exercises. Every night spend at least 5 minutes thinking about things you take for granted. Bring Thanksgiving ritual into your daily routine by remembering what you are thankful for.
Create a mindset of abundance. Our world presents never-ending opportunities (and problems to solve). Don’t be afraid to share knowledge and ideas, knowing your mind will create much more.
Most of all, delight you by being yourself and bringing smiles to everyone around you. Give yourself some credit, there are things you excel at. As Les Brown says, “You have GREATNESS in you!“. Others may have more knowledge or more experience in certain ways, but no one possess your unique set of experiences.
Delighting Everyone, Even Strangers
Treating strangers like friends makes the world a better place. Simon Sinekexplains from a neuro-chemical perspective: oxytocin is the motherly love chemical in our brains. When a stranger drops a stack of papers on the sidewalk, and you stop to help them, you both get a dose of oxytocin. Even better, everyone who observes the scene also feels great, because of oxytocin.
Simple actions are simply effective. Smile and wave, or hold open a door for a fellow human. Hold the elevator even if you’re in a hurry. Let the poor soul know their backpack is hanging open.
Remember someone’s name and use it when you greet them with a smile. This is so simple but not everyone does it! Smiling is a sure-fired way to trigger someone to smile. I suppose airport security checkpoint staff are trained to smile at you and test your emotional reaction.
Pay special attention to under-appreciated people like receptionists, admins, janitors, etc. Learn their names, too!
Be a contrarian gift-giver. Give gifts at random times. Receiving a gift unexpectedly is a delightful surprise. We have been trained to expect gifts on birthdays and holidays, but not the rest of the year. On birthdays and holidays, show that you remember. Give gifts during the rest of the year, and be remembered.
Simple things make big differences. Remember birthdays and use a calendar to help. Remember details about families, pets, vacations etcetera. Take interest in the lives of others, and openly share your own.
Remember and connect.
Reconnect by calling your friends up once in awhile. Relationships require maintenance, and regular contact keeps them healthy. Face to face contact is best, so use video calling when you can.