Thursday, June 11, 2009

Aspiring to a smile

I've been thinking about my next destination. My aspirations. I was about to start a blog specifically related to a book I've written, because in a few weeks it will be ready for sale as an ebook. (That'll be Rude Stories for Mrs Palin, when it happens.)

But hang on a minute, mate. What a bore, starting a new blog just to sell something! I know I should be marketing, but (like most writers -- like most small business owners in fact) there's always something I'd rather do. And when your heart's not in it, writing a blog or a book is a bore -- both for the writer and any unfortunate reader who stumbles upon it.

So I stopped. And thought for at least half an hour about this: what message would I rather explore? Every blog is, in a sense, a business blog. And every blog should have a central message. I know these things because I've just written an online course on that very topic.

Then it dawned on me that I do indeed have a "message" that I broadcast every day, almost every hour. It's not expressed in words, but in body language. It's not wise or deliberate or inspiring: it's involuntary.

I'm hopelessly addicted to the smile. I don't smile when my heart is breaking but a smile is my default facial expression. Time and again I don't even know I'm smiling until a complete stranger smiles back. For example, today I walked to town and back, and in one hour, four strangers hit me with big, broad, eye-contact smiles. That's a good score. What a buzz.

To get to the point. I concluded that my smile is my message, and my message is a smile.

I have no moral or philosophical reason for broadcasting my smile. I was just born with the happy gene.

On the other hand, there is heaps of scientific evidence about smiling, and I may explore some of that -- for instance, the physical act of smiling, no matter how artificial, tends to make you happier and even healthier. The beauty of this knowledge is that even people without the happy gene can practise smiling and reap the benefit.

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