They say to always smile. It’s supposed to make things in your life better. Well, I’ve seen more than enough of life to know that it isn’t so all the time. Still, a smile is so important, if not to people you give it to, then to yourself. Did you know your smile could launch a thousand ships?
A famous song in the 1970s tells how a face could launch a thousand ships, and I guess it’s a face with a smile. I cannot imagine how a scowling face could do that. Sink a thousand ships perhaps, but not launch. When I was a kid I could not understand how smiling could do me good so I often looked sad. I thought smiling was stupid. Then in high school, I realized how my smile lit up the faces of girls in the campus.
Believe me, I was some kind of a celebrity in school those days. A lot of girls had a crush on me, though I wasn’t really good-looking. Often, I looked bad with my worn out school uniform and tattered rubber shoes. But I think it was all because my smile shew my dimples. Our first year class adviser, Mrs. Cortez, was also so fond of me while she was pregnant that she always watched me with delight. So she seated me in front and made me class president. See what difference smiling can give.
But something terrible happened in college that made my smile scary. People got scared the more I smiled, so I stopped doing it. I was back to square one, looking sad most times. But the irony was that, the sad face seemed to be masking my growing love for good jokes and funny anecdotes. I started taking so much interest in how people looked funny in their silly habits, idiosyncrasies and ideas. I mean, I’d been like that as a kid but it got worse in college. I kept it all a secret, though, except to my close friends. Outwardly, I seemed sad but my close friends knew better. They knew what went on in my mind and when I shared my secret funny thoughts, their stomachs ached as they laughed.
After college, I had various jobs, all of which were managerial in nature, although I never finished college. How it all happened? Well, my best explanation is that it was all God’s miracle. Anyway, I discovered that I became naturally likable to most people when I smiled. I don’t know what happened but my smile transformed so that it again launched a thousand ships. One slight smile and people liked me a lot.
There was this guy who was the topnotch in PR in the entire Philippines at the time. He was known to be strict and had high standards. After a few days of training, he chose me over a younger and a really handsome guy who was a graduate of a prestigious university and had remarkable work experience. Later, the boss told me why he picked me. “Everybody in the office likes you because you seem to be a nice guy. You’d be a rich guy someday in PR.”
It must have been my smile, because the younger and really handsome guy was also nice. In fact, I thought he smiled better.
What was so special about my smile?
What’s in a Smile?
It was not an artificial or made-over smile. It was a natural smile. I smiled with a good feeling and that was it. I didn’t try to make it better than it was. And it launched a thousand ships, whatever company I worked for. Well, others said it was my kind, humble and gentle personality, and probably all these worked out a natural ship-launching smile on my face. But what I know is that it started when I started smiling because I liked people.
But it all changed again when I entered the threshold of mid-life. I became wiser and more experienced in the streets. I learned the different types of smiles and when to use them. My smile is not scary but it somewhat evokes respect. I suspect that it’s a mix of things—the look of hard and deep experiences wrought in my eyes plus my expertise in what smiles are appropriate for the moment. Then combine that with my military-cut white hair. See what I mean? Does that still launch a thousand ships? Oh yes, it does. Name what ship—cruise, military, cargo, oil tanker or expedition—my smile can launch it.
Whatever the effect on people, a smile is important. Smiling is worth it—never mind how it looks. Just make sure it’s simple and all-natural like an all-natural tea prepared simply and served bottomless. But there are different types of tea for specific uses. Understand that the same is true with smiles.
Oh, you’ll learn about it as you mature.