While we seem to be doing a whole lot of communicating, we seem to be struggling with connecting. I have no doubt that this is impacting our lives and our business. But how do you have more connection in your life on a daily basis and to what end?
I would like to share three simple things that I do, and I try to do them as much as I can every day.
- I look people in the eye and smile a warm, friendly smile.
- I say a big hello while I’m smiling.
- And I pay as many people as I can a sincere compliment.
To say my life changed as a result of this is certainly not an understatement, but what really changed was the incredible connection that I’ve had with both complete strangers and long-term friends alike.
Try doing these three very simple things yourself, just for one day, and see how you feel at the end of the day. They sound simple, but they actually aren’t because most of us have lost the ability to do these simple little "humanisms" on a daily basis, as we toil about with our busy lives.
A few days back I was on a short flight. Just as the cabin crew were about to close the door an elderly man came running onto the plane. He was out of breath, he clearly didn’t speak much English and he was quite flustered. He took the seat next to me and settled in as we got ready to take off.
Once we were in the air, I opened my bag and pulled out two bananas. I offered the old man a banana and he stopped and looked me in the eye and got all teary. In very broken English he said that he was a very long way from home, he was feeling very alone and unsettled, and afraid, and here a complete stranger was offering him some food. And he suddenly felt that everything would be OK. Which in turn, made me tear up. It was after all just a banana.
The reality of life is that we have become so busy, so preoccupied, so distracted, that most of us don’t even stop to make eye contact with other people, let alone perhaps offer a simple act of kindness. But when we ignore any perceived embarrassment by, for example, walking into an elevator and saying good morning to everyone in there, we have the ability to dramatically and very positively impact peoples lives. The life we impact the most is our own. I was reminded of that by offering an old man a banana.
So why bother doing things like this? What a great question. I know that the more I look people in the eye and smile warmly, the more I say hello to complete strangers, the more I offer a sincere compliment and the more I simply try to make every interaction with another human being meaningful in some small way, the more my life becomes immeasurably happier. This, in turn, has a major impact on everything in my world.