Tim’s pick for a great TED Talk – Ron Gut­man – The hid­den power of smil­ing – TED 2011

There are many, many talks on TED.com that present power­ful ideas worth spread­ing. But some­times, it’s the most sim­ple, pos­sibly most power­ful and, per­haps, most obvi­ous that we for­get.

Ron Gut­man is the organ­iser of TEDx­Sil­ic­on­Val­ley, and his 2011 present­a­tion, The hid­den power of smil­ing, is just one of these. (He’s also released a short TED ebook on the same topic, and you can also view the Prezi he used for his talk.)

So, why is smil­ing so power­ful?

Ron presents some com­pel­ling evid­ence: first, you’ll live longer (and prob­ably have a hap­pier, health­ier, even wealth­ier life); as babies – indeed, before birth – we smile, and smil­ing is one of the great ways that babies com­mu­nic­ate; and smil­ing stim­u­lates our brain’s reward mech­an­ism in a way that even chocol­ate can’t match – without the cal­or­ies. Smil­ing, which leads to a giggle,
then laughter until one’s whole body is caught up in the mirth is about the second most pleas­ur­able phys­ical and men­tal sen­sa­tion I can think of… and longer last­ing!

Smil­ing can defuse a tense situ­ation, espe­cially where there is a lan­guage bar­rier, as Ron sub­sequently describes in his book. And, for those of you work­ing in a ser­vice activ­ity where tip­ping is pre­val­ent, you’ll find that smil­ing is the best way to max­im­ise your income.

Def­in­itely try this one at home, at school, at work – any­where: grin, and you’ll find everything more bear­able!

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