Life is tough. The world is full of all kinds of struggles. Each day presents a new set of challenges for ourselves, and for the people around us. I don’t think there is anything we can do to fix that. It is just part of the fallen world we live in. But I do think there are small things that we can do as we go through our day to make it just a little easier for the people around us. These are, by no means, things that I do perfectly. I break my own rules a lot. These are simply my humble suggestions for small, intentional steps you can take to make the world around you a better place.
Rule #1: Smile relentlessly until people smile back. A smile is a universal token of kindness, able to be understood by all people. Whether its the people you pass on your way to class, the guy who makes your sandwich at Subway, or the homeless people you see walking down the sidewalk, a smile can go a long way. Chances are, most people walking down the street aren’t going to spontaneously smile. But if you smile at someone long enough, its a proven fact that they will eventually smile back. That means you are creating a new smile, therefore adding to the total number of worldwide smiles with little to no effort.
Rule #2: Say people’s names at the beginning and end of conversations. And if you don’t know their name, ask them! Saying someone’s name, whether they are a close friend or a one time acquaintance, has a much more meaningful impact than a thoughtless “See ya dude!” or “Hey man!”It is often said that one of our greatest desires is to be known and loved. By adding peoples names into a conversation, you are helping them to feel both. It is one small way for you to speak life into the people around you.
Rule #3: Don’t text and walk. Seriously, it makes you look like a zombie walking around campus or through downtown. I know its tempting as you feel your pocket buzzing and the texts come rolling in (because you are just so popular and busy after all). But really, how many of those texts can’t wait until you find a place to sit down or you get where you are going to? And if it is really that important, than it probably deserves a more thoughtful response than the one you type out while walking between classes. Not only do you look less like a zombie when you don’t text and walk, but you are also then opened up to opportunities to enact rules number 1 and 2! It’s hard to smile at people and say their names when your eyes are glued to that little screen in your hands.
Each of these rules takes some thought and effort. There are going to be some days when you just really don’t feel like smiling at anyone. Or when it doesn’t seem like you have even thirty seconds to sit down and answer that text. It is on these days that I would especially encourage you to incorporate these rules. Not only can these rules make the world a better place for people around you, they can also give you a sense of control, tranquility, and energy in the midst of a chaotic day. Furthermore, for believers, these are tangible ways for us to exhibit the joy of the Lord in our daily lives. If we have been given an incredible gift of grace and mercy, should we not strive to make this evident in the way we live our lives?
What kinds of rules would you add to this list?