December 16, 2008



A few years ago, I wrote about how smiling and nodding or waving at strangers while running was a fun way to start the day and that once in a while, someone actually smiled back.  My not-so-revolutionary discovery was that people are generally in their own cocoons and not particularly receptive to a friendly gesture, but that when they are, they're completely receptive and quite friendly in return.

In the last couple of days, I've rediscovered that principle with a twist.  As I get myself used to a new routine of train commuting and working out in a big New York Sports Club gym, I'm seeing people in cocoons all over the place again.  And I've started being more friendly and smiley — on the walk to the village train station, on the train platform, on the train, on the treadmill.  Same reaction as before.  Most people ignore, an occasional one is incredibly friendly in return.

But what I'm now noticing is that I don't care what the reaction is.  It actually makes ME happier to be friendly.  I'm not sure what that says about me, probably nothing more than that I'm projecting on others, but you can bet I'm going to do more of that in the future.  It's much better to start and end a long day with a smile than a frown or a blank stare!

3 responses to “Projection”

  1. Evelyn says:

    It's so much nicer to live in a world where people smile at each other, that I started deliberately smiling more at people a while ago. It makes such a great difference in my day.

  2. radarmel says:

    I've always done this. it's something I remember my dad use to tell me… no matter how bad you feel, you spend 10 minutes just waving at everyone you see, it will completely change your attitude. It really works… probably because for a moment you let go and just be silly

  3. Tyler Fonda says:

    Living in NYC as a transplanted midwesterner this has always been my operating mode. My wife laughs at my insistence, but in a selfish way it makes me feel better. I think in these times the more you can project happiness the better, because we could all use a little extra sunshine.