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The Smile Experiment

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

The amount of woe in my life has reached gargantuan proportions.



I haven’t been in the best of moods lately. It really hasn’t been my fault.    

It’s been cold. The weather has been shithouse. The cat next door goes on long sojourns around the neighbourhood, which leads our neighbours to call out “Bri-an!” at the top of their lungs at varying points of the evening. Remember “Henry!” from the Whiskers ad? This is our life:


Work is boring. The career that seemed so promising has the start of the year has been buried under screeds of paperwork. The coffee machine has broken, so instant coffee is now on the menu daily, breeding concern for our collective livers, kidneys and general state of well-being. There is talk of doing some sort of team-building activity, possibly involving trust falls and/or themed costumes, for our office Christmas party. Misery and the sinister clonking sound of decorative Christmas bells fills the air.

The waistline which was “semi-fine” prior to the start of winter has now been downgraded to “too many Pringles.” The search for the perfect corner couch is progressing in inverse proportion to the amount of bids on corner couch auctions on Trademe.    

The news is crap. Ebola. Isis. Ebola AND Isis. Labour* 


And actually the woe in my life is not really woe. After bemoaning my tragic existence for most of the day today, I came across this; conveniently displayed on the Self-Help website known as Facebook: 

“Take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.”    

This may not have been exactly the definition of a revelation or epiphany, but it hit home for me. 

Did I ever go and help locate Brian, or at least encourage Brian to spend more time with his possibly suffocating but clearly loving family? Did I ever suggest a barbeque might be more team build-y than team building (and more delicious)? Why did I think that watching Orange is the New Black On Demand (seasons 1-2) while simultaneously eating my weight in Pringles and icecream would maintain my pre-winter waistline? The new is also positive – take or

So today, I decided to go and impact the world positively. I walked down to the dairy to buy Pringles in order to further the progress of the OITNB marathon. This may or may not have been a good call given the lovely sunny Auckland day, but hey, clearly I'm a work in progress.  

The point is, I walked down, and I decided to smile at everyone I met. A big, bright, “isn’t today great!” kind of smile. And I said (wait for it) “Good Morning!”

I got two mums with pushchairs, a few exercisers, a guy on a bike (admittedly I only said “Good!” to him because bike vs. walking person), an older couple out enjoying the sun, and the guy at the dairy. 

Everyone smiled back! In Auckland! The guy on the bike did a head movement which may have been a smile, so I’m going to take it.

I took some responsibilty for the energy I was putting out, which in turn positively impacted other people.

I'm taking it as a win.

And I'm giving myself a break on the Pringles.


*Not really on the same scale but in the same general vicinity of Other Depressing/Irritating News.

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