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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