Smile, you’re in public

The good and the bad in the day-to-day

  • Yesterday when walking with a friend downtown, she commented on how few people in this fair city actually make eye contact with one another (which was nothing new to me)
  • And given that today is Halloween, Id imagine that many peoples eyes will wander more than normal because of the protection that a mask gives them!
  • A few months back there was a great article by Steven Schelling in the 29 June 06 edition of the West Ender paper called “Um, we need to talk…” that provided a humorous but also fairly accurate summary of the ‘issue’ that Vancouver currently faces
  • The article was written as if the author was speaking to Vancouver as a person and basically said that it (the city) needs to get over itself and its unsocial ways (mentioning how people from notoriously cold cities like New York, Paris, and Los Angeles have commented on how unfriendly Vancouver is)
  • The author goes on to explicitly suggest that people step out of their comfort zone and make an effort to talk to people around you
  • I recognize that this is a broad generalization and I do meet people in Vancouver who are very friendly and do make an effort to step away from their social clique and welcome others in
  • There are surely places that are in a worse state than Vancouver as well as some that are ‘happier’ (see Bhutan and Gross National Happiness), but would like to think that the world is moving in a positive direction
  • You may have seen the “Free Hugs Campaign” video on YouTube recently which has received largely very positive reviews and its effectively causing people to stop and reflect on the importance of actually being human
  • Now Im not a softie either, but life does flows better when people interact positively (And Im not just talking about tree hugging hippie types); Businesses and corporations and governments and non-profits and corner stores all operate and serve more effectively (hopefully working toward a common good (although that’s another story!)) if people make the effort to actually work together instead of shunning, criticizing, and complaining

Practically speaking

  • Simple two step process
    • Step back and truly appreciate all that you have (especially us Westerners)
    • Take a moment to regularly smile, say hi, help out, compliment, appreciate, encourage, listen, and anything else that might now seem foreign to you in your busy daily life