Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Contagion and choice

What a difference it made in my whole day! It's what we call the ripple effect.

I was in the grocery check-out line and in my usual hurry (I inherited my father's nature, and he operated at two speeds: run fast or rest!). However, the woman at the check-out counter, while efficient, wasn't about to opt just for speed. Clearly, she was also into relationships. I usually am, too—though I confess that sometimes in a business transaction, I'm more focused on getting in and getting out.

"I just love your earrings," said the cashier. I reached up to feel my earrings, forgetting which ones I had on that day. "Thank you," I said, adding, "I just love the color purple." (Since I had on purple jeans and a purple top, that might have been an unnecessary comment!)

"Oh, I love purple, too," said the cashier. "It's my absolute favorite color." And we had a brief one- or two-minute conversation as she finished up my transaction.

I left the store with a smile on my face. That little exchange made the difference in my day. I was jazzed by that brief connection we had made. I smiled because it's the kind of thing we women so often do. I've had men tell me, in fact, that they just don't understand how we women can walk up to complete strangers and comment on their clothing or how good they look in something. I don't know how we can. I just know it happens. Often. And I know I love that we can do that.

So I left the store in a good frame of mind, and I was more open and friendly to others I met as I ran the rest of my errands. In other words, I was putting good energy out into the world around me. It's contagious, isn't it? And it's a choice. We can be positive and be open to others, ready with a smile or a friendly comment. Or we can focus totally on the work at hand and ignore the people around us, looking unapproachable or perhaps even sullen. So what choice will you make today?

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