I wrote this a few years ago, and this morning on my run I was reminded of the wonders of saying good morning to the people you pass. It’s amazing how a small interaction of just a few words with a stranger can set the stage for your entire day. Let this serve as a reminder that you have the power to influence the course of someone’s day.
Begin every day by saying good morning to every person you pass, the variety of responses will surely bring a positive start to your day. On my runs in the morning I’ve noticed that most people I pass by typically sink their eyes to the ground. I’ve found that this occurs not because they’re trying to avoid eye contact or a greeting exchangement, but because they’re unsure of what to do—whether they should look up, whether that should say anything, whether they’ll even get a response. There’s that constant insecurity of saying the wrong thing, coming off strange or being ignored. I think about these types of encounters a lot on my runs, and I’ve noticed that I do the same thing.
It’s interesting just how scary saying “good morning” to someone can be, and I always find appreciation in those who first greet me with it. Despite how foolishly scary it may be, all it takes is 2 seconds of courage. I’m literally interacting with these other people for slightest fraction of time, yet I’m scared to say good morning. This silly fear has been robbing me of two things: building courage, even if it’s the slightest amount, and more importantly, on the opportunity to possibly brighten another person’s day as well as my own.
Every morning when I run I make it an effort to say smile and say good morning to every person I pass, and the results have been amazing. I’ve found that it has given me more confidence to make eye contact and speak with others, and it makes me a much happier person. Seeing other people light up, smile, and wish me a good morning back is truly rewarding, but the personality engraved in their replies are what I find especially rewarding.
Most often people reply with “good morning” or simply “morning,” but there are always a few that differ from the norm and leave me smiling as I keep on running. When I pass a group of people it’s always great to hear a large synchronized good morning packed with enthusiasm. Even something as simple as “good morning, brother” is enough to create a personal connection worth having.
Some of my favorites are those who reply not with good morning, but with a compliment. Every so often I’ll receive encouragement to keep on going, or claims that I’m running too fast, and the ever recurring claim that 20 years ago they could have kept up with me. My favorites are when I’m approaching someone from behind and they don’t hear me so when I say good morning they jump because I accidentally scared them. They always laugh it off and holler at me for scaring them, and wish me a good morning back.
When you don’t say good morning to people you’re missing out on the opportunity to learn more about that stranger you’re passing. You missing our on the opportunity to build your self confidence and be happier. If you want an easier start, begin with a smile and a wave.