Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.
In the beginning of the Clint Eastwood movie Dirty Harry, Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) goes into a diner for a morning cup of coffee. The waitress discreetly pours a copious amount of sugar into his coffee, and when Callahan returns to complain after taking a drink of it, he discovers a robbery is in progress. He kills the robbers in a shootout. However, a surviving robber grabs the fleeing waitress, holds his gun to her head, and threatens to shoot. Instead of backing off, Harry points his .44 Magnum revolver into the boy’s face and dares him to shoot, saying with clenched teeth and in his characteristic rough grumble, “Go ahead, make my day.”
I’d like to put those three little words to a much different use. Instead of assuming that you happen upon crimes or crises in progress on a daily basis; let’s just assume that you live a more normal life and meet regular people all day long. Many of us tend to settle into routines where we shuffle through the day sometimes barely aware of those around us, many times avoiding eye contact because we want to avoid taking the time to stop and acknowledge someone or perhaps we don’t know what we’d say to them. What do you think would happen to them and to you if you chose to see each person as if they had a little sign on them that read – Make my day.
What if instead of just nodding and mumbling a quick good morning, you stopped and said to that person, “You look great today.” or maybe “What a nice dress, where did you get that?” or “Your hair looks great today, where do you get it done?” Maybe you’re a guy and the other party is too; you might say something like, “Looks like you’ve gotten out on the course? How are you hitting them?” or maybe “Looks like you’ve lost some weight, are you working out?” or maybe “How are the kids doing? Are they in sports this spring?” Why would you do that? Because, people like to be acknowledged and engaged; and, they enjoy getting compliments or talking about themselves and family. If you will accept the challenge to initiate the process of conversation, you’ll be surprised how much joy you can bring when you just make the effort with them to Make my day.
There is a side benefit to making that effort – you’ll feel better, too. It is just too easy to fall into the habit of avoiding people, of not making any effort at conversation, of becoming a virtual hermit in your day-to-day environment. If you assume and believe that they will like talking about themselves and their family, why wouldn’t you find the same joy is given the opportunity to talk about what’s happening in your life. People like to share things; that’s what makes Facebook and Twitter so popular. So, consider the opportunities that taking this approach to life will give you to be a “reality version” of those less personal technology-based versions. This is real life and in it you have the opportunity to post a live comment or utter a Tweet that will Make my day.
Now I know that many of you may be reading this and saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for this kind of stuff. That’s why I avoid people in the first place.” I would say to you that you don’t have time in life not to do these things. This quote by Wally Lamb, author, puts that a different way – “It’s the most breathtakingly ironic things about living: the fact that we are all…alone. Singular. And yet what we seek – what saves us – is our connection to others.” So, maybe this is really the most important thing in your life, or should be; not to be alone, singular, a virtual hermit; but rather to proactively reach out to touch others, engage them. A. A. Milne, English Author (1882-1956), Best Known For His Books About Winnie The Pooh put it this way in Pooh-speak –“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Pooh might have gone on to say Make my day.
So, today challenge yourself to take the initiative, to reach out and touch those that you meet along the way, to engage them and with a kind word or words of encouragement or compliment help start their day off better. You may be surprised at the impact that can have. It’s like the wake of a boat passing by that spreads and spreads across the water. “There are those whose lives affect all others around them. Quietly touching one heart, who in turn, touches another. Reaching out to ends further than they would ever know.” – William Bradfield. That’s the impact that you can have when you make the effort to Make my day.