The Power Of One Small Act
“A smile… might mean all the difference in the world to a complete stranger.”
This morning was a perfect morning for a run. With a big smile on my face I headed out the door. The sun was just making an appearance on the horizon and I could feel the warmth of another sunny summer day as I began my walking warm up.
I’ve been a runner for many years now. I usually run alone and love the solitude of getting out on nature trails and running where I can disappear from the feel of the city for a while. Just the sound of my footsteps, my breath, and the morning birds. It works for me in so many ways. Sometimes my runs take me where no other people are. But often there will be others walking, cycling, or running too. I love to see people embracing an active lifestyle.
It used to be that I would run and keep to myself not really acknowledging others unless they did something first. But that all changed a number of years ago while running with a group of friends on a weekly basis.
“You just never know the difference you can make in someone else’s world with one small act.”
The Power Of The Smile
When I lived in Calgary I began running with a group who quickly became great friends of mine. We trained for marathons, ran to stay fit, and just ran for fun too. The social element of the group nicely balanced my usual solo runs.
I learned something from that group and specifically from one of my running buddies. To smile! Billy had to be one of the nicest and friendliest people there is. Every run, no matter what the size of our group was, Billy would smile and say hi to EVERY person we passed… no matter what.
I noticed him doing it and began to take notice of the people he said hi to. Some smiled and said hi back, some simply smiled, others waved and others yet did not acknowledge him. Didn’t matter to Billy. He did it no matter what.
And if the person was walking a dog, well… then it was time for a dog petting break.
So, over the coming weeks, I began to do the same. I got the same types of responses. Generally, like Billy, most people responded positively.
But something else happened as I said hi, smiled, waved, or nodded to passers by… my energy rose. My attitude shifted more positively. If I started the run feeling off or down I began to feel better. If I was already feeling pretty good I simply felt even better yet.
It was a powerful mindset shift for me.
And so began a new running habit!
Even this morning, all these years later, as I began to pass others out for their morning activity I now automatically smile, wave, say hi or good morning or whatever the moment brings.
I don’t judge their response. I don’t know what’s going on in their world at this moment. All I know is that if I know what that interaction can mean to me then I can only imagine what that random act of kindness and good intention could mean to someone who just might really need a friendly smile right now… even if only for a brief moment.
You just never know the difference you can make in someone else’s world with one small act.
Creating the change you want can be hard if you go it alone!