Don't Sweat the Future

10. Spread Happiness

I was by myself, in a restaurant, enjoying some quiet, when I began observing two employees, a waiter and a waitress. The implications of what I witnessed were, to me, so powerful that I felt compelled to share it with you.

The man was about my age, late thirties, early forties, something like that. He was abrupt, impatient and had a frown on his face. You could tell he would rather be anywhere but there. I was aware that his sour attitude could have been nothing more than a bad mood, but it seemed much more significant than that. He seemed to have a chip on his shoulder.

The effect he had on his customers was dramatic. It seemed that everyone could feel it. You could see it in their body language and facial expressions. There were frowns and quick decisions. The atmosphere was dark and heavy. You could just feel it. Yuck!

The waitress, on the other hand, was just the opposite. She was friendly, patient, relaxed, and had a beautiful smile. You could tell by watching that, even though she was "working," there was nowhere she would rather have been for that period of time.

It seemed that everyone she approached felt at ease. Her customers were joking with her and amongst themselves. Every person she served was smiling. The atmosphere was light and happy.

Feelings are contagious—happy, sad, anxious, angry, whatever. And obviously, no one is going to bat a thousand, or even close to it. Further, I'm not suggesting you "fake it" when you're not feeling happy.

Yet there is something very powerful about the intent to spread happiness. It goes a long way toward promoting peace, goodwill, and a more positive future for all of us.

Imagine how many people you come into contact with in any given day. Now, multiply that number by the thousands of days you will (hopefully) be alive! The numbers are staggering—and so is your potential to promote a more positive future. So, starting today, begin to spread happiness to everyone you meet. You'll be a lot happier, and so will everyone else!

© 2000 Richard Carlson, Ph.D.