Despite what you may think from the smile on my face, I wasn’t always the happiest kid. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy. But from a very young age I was always serious and focused, especially when compared to my peers. Over the years I’ve remained focused on my goals, rational in my thinking and serious in my ways. However, as I’ve grown up I’ve also become much happier and much more positive. This post is about that shift in my life, why I think everyone should adopt the same attitude and how easy that change can be.
If you’ve been following me as I write and create content you already know I’m big on quotes. While there are hundreds of quotes that I love, there is one that speaks to me more than the rest. It’s so incredibly powerful that I’d consider it my motto at this point in my life.
Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today
The remainder of this post will consist of three short discussions surrounding these powerful and touching words.
Live Life With Enthusiasm – It’s Contagious
I was recently going to a church service out in Lancaster, PA with my girlfriend and our friend. It was, by all objective measures, a ‘miserable’ morning. It had gone from eighty and sunny the day before to forty and raining. The car ride to church was fairly quiet and I was in a daze. However, as we pulled into the church parking lot, something (someone) caught my eye. There was a man in a neon yellow trench coat standing in the pouring rain directing traffic.
The man’s bright reflective trench coat caught my eye, but what stood out to me was the huge smile on his face and the incredible enthusiasm, energy and passion with which he was directing traffic – it was almost comical. Immediately everyone in the car had a smile on their face and the mood changed in an instant. This man’s enthusiasm and energy permeated through the hard, cold exterior of the car and touched us all – his enthusiasm was contagious and it changed the tone of the day. Something as mundane as directing traffic in the rain can change someone’s day if you do it right.
The lesson here is that no task is too small, no job is too menial to do with enthusiasm and passion. Do everything in life, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant with passion and enthusiasm and that positive energy will rub off on those around you – enthusiasm is contagious.
Side note: sometimes you have to have some fun with even the most basic tasks and jobs.
Make Someone’s Day And It Might Just Make Yours
This one is pretty simple and speaks for itself – it feels great to make some else happy. Here are four quotes to drive it home:
“If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
– Will Smith
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
– John Holmes
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
– Booker T. Washington
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. Send a nice email. Hold a door. Flash a smile. Give a genuine compliment. Tell a joke. Or simply just do something nice. Every interaction, no matter how small or how brief, is an opportunity to have a positive impact on someone else’s life (as well as your own).
You Might Just Save A Life
I’ve always had an innate drive to help others and spread happiness. However, the true magnitude of the message I was trying to live by didn’t hit me until I heard a story that changed my life.
The story goes something like this –
There was a man who lived a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. One day he walked those few miles to the bridge, jumped and committed suicide. As the police investigated the man’s death in the following days they came across a note that the man had left on his nightstand.
The note read: “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”
Nobody smiled at this man and as a result he felt more isolated, alone and helpless than ever before – feelings that ultimately pushed him past the breaking point to take his own life.
We all know someone who is or who has struggled with depression and maybe even contemplated, attempted or committed suicide. Never underestimate the power of a smile – it can truly change and even save a life.
Before I end this post, I want to touch on my personal path thus far in life because it has been heavily influenced by the theme of this post.
One of the main reasons I chose the profession of physical therapy is because it would provide me with a tremendous opportunity to touch the lives of others each and every day. While we may not all be able to articulate it, we all know deep down that injury and pain go far beyond the physical. We’ve all been there and we all know how vulnerable we are when we don’t feel 100% – we don’t feel like ourselves.
As a future physical therapist, not only will I have the chance to help people physically, but I will repeatedly have the opportunity to help people mentally and emotionally as they battle out of the vulnerable depths that can accompany physical injury and pain.
Despite choosing physical therapy as a career, I (and you) don’t need to be a physical therapist to spread joy and help others. In fact, while I will be spending my career as a physical therapist, that doesn’t and won’t define me.
What defines me is my genuine drive and desire to make a true and positive impact on the people in my life and that’s the contagious attitude that I want to spread.
One of my goals is to move through life just radiating positive energy hoping it’ll reach out and impact those around me. I want to walk a through life and improve the life of every single person who crosses my path. I want to be a beacon of light in someone’s darkness and I want to use my struggles to light a path to show others that with hard work and the right attitude it (anything) can be done. I hope that this post inspired you (even just a little) to go out and do something nice for someone today and all your days going forward.
It only feels right to end this post with the quote that hangs above my bedroom door – the quote that fires me up every morning and the sentiment that I live my life by.
“Be the reason someone smiles today” – unknown
You never know what someone else is going through. Whether it’s a stranger just passing on the street, or a good friend, something as simple as a smile can change a day and even save a life. So I challenge you do wake up each day and make a conscious effort to go out and make someone’s day – it might just make yours too!
I can’t contain myself – so here’s a bonus quote (last one, I promise).
“One day you will just be a memory to all you have met. Try to be a good one” – unknown
Thanks for reading!
Joe Rinaldi, SPT