Have you ever met someone that was always smiling? Not the cheesy, fake smile, but a genuine and warm smile that made you feel like they noticed you and that you are important.
In my college, there was a notoriously hard Organic Chemistry professor…the type of instructor that you heard stories about from upper-classmen. He didn’t believe in curves, and he wasn’t afraid to fail a whole class. As you can imagine, his reputation preceded him.
When it was time to sign up for Organic Chemistry, I realized, much to my dismay, that his class time was the only one that was going to work in my schedule. I tried to rearrange all my classes, but in order to graduate on time, this was the section I would have to take.
On the first day of class I was positively filled with dread and fear. This professor could make or break me and my future professional career. While I had never met him, I imagined him to be a sullen grumpy type with a brooding personality. It was much to my surprise that, when he came in to the lab, he wore a huge smile across his face. In fact, it was a smile that didn’t leave his face the whole semester. Was the class difficult? Of course it was! In fact, it was the hardest I took in college. However, his smile every day proved his love of the subject and made me want to work hard to impress him.
I can’t say that I got an A in that class, but I did learn more than Organic Chemistry. I learned that a smile can change my outlook of a semester and push me to work harder than I had ever thought. In fact, this mean old professor turned out to be more than that—he turned out to be a mentor, friend and confidant. And thanks to his smile, he’s still someone I still look up to today.
What’s a smile mean?
A bright smile is something we’re drawn to. But did you know that it’s an indicator for more than just happiness? Studies have shown that, by measuring smiles, experts can predict wellbeing in marriages and a person’s ability to perform well on standardized tests as well as general happiness. Another study that looked at the smiles of baseball players on their cards was able to predict their lifespan. Players with wider smiles lived on average seven years longer. A smile is much more than just a facial expression—it’s a window into your wellbeing.
One of our favorite facts about smiling is that children smile more than 400 times per day. It has been said that children laughing is one of the sweetest sounds, and that might be because it has been proven to be contagious.
Have you ever tried to frown when you’re looking at someone smiling? It is nearly impossible. The muscles in our face actually prevent us from doing it. Looking at someone smiling is literally more powerful than our own voluntary muscle movements.
Smiling has been proven to significantly improve your life and the lives of those around you. Smiling makes you appear more trustworthy and genuine and causes those around you to smile, too. This is important for both your professional and personal life. A good smile can help you land new jobs or find the “perfect someone.” It can help lead you to a life with greater happiness overall.
While I wish I could remember all the formulas and tidbits of knowledge from that Organic Chemistry class, as the years pass the small details have gotten pretty fuzzy. However, one thing that I will always remember is the drive and passion of my professor, all from behind that motivating set of teeth. He drove me to be the person I am today by learning how to do work hard, persevere, and do it all with a smile.
Also published on Medium.