Besides being on everyone’s physical camera this morning (because you used the #NP_Camera so we can crowdsource photos), here’s a blog about hypothetical cameras:

I’ve been trying to say hi to more people lately. Not in the “I’m going to text my friend ‘hey’ because I’m bored and want to explore more about their life” way. More in the “I’m out walking in public and I want to brighten someone’s day” way. Why? When someone smiles at you and says good morning (or just a simple hi), does it not make you smile back? Does it not make you feel more comfortable in your neighborhood/city?

This archaic idea of smiling at someone and saying hi, maybe even waving, is disappearing at an alarming rate in today’s cities. Smiling (and its sister, laughing) is sometimes THE BEST medicine. Have you ever just been walking and thinking and thinking and walking and then you smile because you think about something that makes you laugh? Call me crazy (and I’m sure sometimes I seem crazy) but it truly does make life feel much better. What was the thing that made me laugh, you ask? Just a happy memory of my dog (Lunchbox as many of you know her) doing her best imitation of a springbok pronking.

How to get more happy moments: #JustShowUp to November Project DC (or one of the other 32 and counting cities)

How to spread that happiness: try smiling at and saying hi to someone. When they smile back and you’ve made that connection, you’ll feel better, brighter, happier. Does it matter that you might not see them EVER AGAIN? No. The brevity of the moment is still worth the effort. If we only committed to things that were going to last, we’d never eat chocolate, dive into pools, or (as kids) run around naked while our parents chase us.

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Why am I saying all this?

When you go out into the world, you represent yourself, your family name, your very own identity. If your surname was tattooed across your chest for all to see (or floating above your head like I imagine the future to be), would you put negativity out into the world for people to see? Would you be short with a stranger for cutting you off or bumping into you? How would you cooperate with someone trying to enforce rules? Spreading negativity would result in damaging your reputation, your standing in society.

And yet, in our anonymity, we seem to care less about how we treat complete strangers. We don’t say hi all the time. We don’t smile at everyone. Many times we are quick to judge and anger. We’ve all been there, including myself. No one is perfect. But the good news is we have complete control over our actions and the collective we (November Project) have decided to spread positivity. Smile. Say hi. Hug strangers. Tell jokes. Make our city a better place. Help others. Change lives.

Here’s the catch.

This doesn’t just pertain to MWF mornings. When you put on that #GrassrootsGear you put on our family name. When you wear it on a run, to the grocery store, traveling from state to state, home to work, you represent us. Strive to make every interaction you have a positive one. Even when you’re not wearing your NP gear, positive interaction ranges from simple smiles and hellos to full on conversations and recruitments to workouts and events. And when that person’s cousin’s dog’s mom’s owner’s uncle hears about November Project, they hear nothing but positive things. Because no one wants to spread negativity (except maybe Krampus).

It’s not easy. Confidence is a hard thing to come by for most of us. If you need tips on approaching/recruiting people, I wrote a PART 1 and PART 2 a few months ago. Keep coming to NP. Build that confidence. Build that love for your city and the people around you. And most of all, continue to change your city, make it a better, happier place. Not just for you and your network. But for EVERYONE.

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Smile. You’re on Everyone’s Camera (DCA)
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