The other day, my family and I had to take an unexpected trip at the last-minute. In all the rush, none of us had time to search out hotels like we normally do. We found the closest one that seemed decent and reserved rooms for a few nights. It wasn’t until we were on the road that my wife started reading reviews about our upcoming hotel. Things quickly turned interesting.
Some of the reviews complained about everything from the beds being too hard to the food being just plain bad. But nearly all of them spoke of the terrible attitudes of the staff and how they did not smile at all. I quickly thought we were about to sleep at the hotel that was birthed by Ebenezer Scrooge himself! But, I had a plan.
Since 99% (yes, that is a percentage made up on the spot) of the reviews we read pointed to the unfriendliness of the staff, I became determined to see if I could make them all smile. This was the perfect opportunity to test my theory that smiles are contagious and most people cannot resist smiling back.
When we arrived, I quickly jumped out with my “game face” on and ready for battle. Not knowing what I was up against, I went in with the best attitude I could have and a goal of 100% return on my smiles. Below is a list of all staff members I encountered during my stay and the result of my interaction with them.
- Parking Attendant 1 – Smile, Greeting
- Parking Attendant 2 – Smile
- Desk Attendant 1 – Smile, Greeting
- Desk Attendant 2 – Smile, Friendly conversation
- Desk Attendant on Phone – Grumpy
- Security Guard 1 – Smile, Greeting, Opened door
- Security Guard 2 – Smile, Greeting, Opened door
- Security Guard 3 – Smile, Greeting, Opened door
- Security Guard 4 – Smile, Greeting, Opened door
- Maid 1 – Smile
- Maid 2 – Smile, Greeting
- Maid 3 – Smile
- Hostess – Smile, Greeting
- Waitress – Smile, Greeting, Friendly conversation
- Cook – Smile, Greeting, Friendly conversation
- Maintenance Man – Smile
By the time we left, I had a 94% return on my smiles. Every single staff member there at least smiled back while most greeted me kindly. There was not one time that I encountered a sour staff member in person. The exception was the interaction with a desk attendant that I spoke to by phone. Interestingly, she was the only one that also could not see me smile.
Does this mean the reviews were wrong or that I was just lucky to be there at a time that everyone was kind? NOT AT ALL. What this does mean is that people generally respond kindly to a kind person.
The lesson here tells you that there is power in your smiles. Your smile truly can determine your day. If you are sour, then your day will be sour. If you are joyful, then your day will be joyful. You have the power to change your situation and it starts with your own attitude first.
You see, I could have easily gone into that hotel thinking bad and negative thoughts like, “These people are rude and my stay is going to be terrible.” But, I didn’t and because of that, my stay was nice and pleasant. Was it the best hotel? No. But it was nothing like all the reviews we read prior to our arrival.
Understand that YOU have the opportunity each day to make your situation better. YOU can choose to step out with bitterness in your heart or joy on your lips. It is your call.
If you are not smiling enough, then you may be having an abundance of sour or grumpy days. If so, I challenge you to try smiling today and see if it changes anything. I think you will be surprised at the results.
Once you really understand the power of your smile, it is like a whole new world is reviled to you. Not only does it make you feel better, but all of a sudden other people seem nicer too. So try it today and maybe even for the next several days. You will find that it is actually an enJOYable way to live!
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