Want to Know What’s Better than 2000 Chocolate Bars?

Recently, my daughter and I were out driving and we came upon a very large truck, hauling an even larger trailer that was heading away from the farms near our home.  Both the truck and trailer were seemingly overloaded with bales of hay.  As it was hot outside, we had all of our windows down.  As we came up next to this large load, we saw that the driver also had his windows down.  In that moment, I dared my daughter to lean out the window, smile at the driver, and say, “Hey!”

She laughed at me and, not surprisingly, chose not to say anything.  Yet, we laughed about the experience.  We went home and told the rest of the family.  Now, every time we see a truck loaded with hay, we turn to each other and say “Hey!” and we all smile!

This was such a small and seemingly trivial experience, yet it taught us something so very valuable.  We all really need each other!

It seems to me that everywhere we go, we come across people carrying their own load of hay.  Many are overloaded with stress and pressures.  Some face chronic or debilitating illness and pain.  Still, others wrestle with emotional or relationship challenges which can shake all confidence.  Let’s face it!  We live in a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world.  Life can be truly overwhelming at times.  What can be done?

I am convinced the simple practice of smiling at others and saying “Hey!” is a fundamental part of the answer to help us all better carry the loads we bear in this life.

Consider this:  British researchers found that a single smile carried more stimulation power than 2,000 chocolate bars (and without all the calories!).[i]  Other studies show a good smile is similar in its effect to a good night’s sleep.[ii]  A simple smile packs a pretty powerful punch.  Try it!

Children smile up to 400 times per day.  To be happy, an adult only has to smile 40-50 times a day.  The average person only smiles about 20 times per day.[iii]  We need a boost here!  We can all add another 20-30 smiles a day, can’t we?  Heck, we should be shooting for 400 or more!  Let’s get our smiles on!

There is also incredible power in a simple greeting.  The movie, Jerry McGuire, changed all our language with the iconic line, “You had me at hello.”[iv]  One college professor sat and reviewed the end-of-the-year evaluations.  Interestingly, what stood out most to his students was the fact that he walked around before class started and extended a warm greeting.  Surprisingly, this one simple action influenced his students almost more than anything else that happened in the classroom.[v]

Howard White, Vice President of Nike’s Jordan Brand, said, “I speak to everyone I see no matter where I am.  I have learned that speaking to people creates a pathway into their world and lets them come into mine.[vi]” White added, “I believe every single person deserves to be acknowledged, however small or simple the greeting.[vii]

I personally believe that most people agree with Mr. White’s sentiment.  Yet, we so rarely do it.  Why are we passing each other in the hallways of life, greeting each other with an empty “How are you today?” if we even greet each other at all?  “I like the isolation of sitting here all alone with no one to talk to,” said no one ever!

What if we all made a commitment to change in this one simple regard?  If smiles and greetings contain this kind of power, why not make the small change today?  Let’s all replace cold, awkward silence with a smile and a wave.  Let’s take the time to really listen and acknowledge each other.  It does not take any time at all to give someone a warm hello and a pleasant smile.  Yet, it could make all the difference for all of us.

So, as we all load up and carry our individual loads of hay, let’s resolve to lean over and smile and say “Hey!”  Then, let’s reap the reward of closeness, connection, and love we all feel.  It will be an abundant harvest.

Said Howard White, “The day you speak to someone who has their head held down and when they lift it up and smile, you realize how powerful it is just to open your mouth and say, “Hello.”[viii]

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  • [vi]—a-lesson-from-howard-white-and-his-mother.html
  • [vii]—a-lesson-from-howard-white-and-his-mother.html
  • [viii]—a-lesson-from-howard-white-and-his-mother.html


Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R Jacobs is a brave creator who strives to do mighty things! Jim is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator helping others to live more brave and authentic lives! He is the author of Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating Your Road to Personal Growth. Jim speaks professionally, and coaches others to success and living with integrity. He is a counselor, educator, innovator, father, and friend. Please check out Jim R. Jacobs and Driving Lessons For Life and find Jim on social media! Let's connect and dare mighty things!

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