The domino effect of changing your mood

Your attitude can have a ripple effect on others, and truly can change another person’s day.

The Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
As a life coach, I’ve always been intrigued by a person’s ability to change the mood of the people around you – your family members, friends, colleagues and yes, even strangers. Anyone who works in an open-plan office will have witnessed the impact an irritated colleague can have on all those in the vicinity, and, of course, the same holds true for those who are positive and upbeat. Your attitude can have a ripple effect on others, and truly can change another person’s day.
I experienced this firsthand earlier this week, while paying for a few groceries at a supermarket – a regular, somewhat mundane experience for most. The cashier was an effervescent woman in her late fifties, with short, gray curly hair and an enthusiastic smile that was both genuine and contagious. She greeted each person in the line with a warm “good morning” in Hebrew, and then chatted away as she checked each item through the electronic cash register scanner. She told me how many packets she thought I’d need and then wished me a wonderful day and week, “Yom tov ve’shavua tov!”
A seemingly innocuous encounter left me smiling as I walked home from the supermarket. I pondered how a brief and positive chat with a stranger had the ability to immediately improve my mood, and wondered if others she’d chatted to that morning had felt the same.
One of the reasons this short banter kept playing in my mind was because it came on the back of some less than favorable feedback I’d heard from friends who’d been visiting the country during the holidays. They’d loved their vacation, thought the country was beautiful and were planning to come back, but they had commented about some of the personal interactions they’d experienced. Most of the examples were instances in the service industry, in which some waiters and shop assistants had been less than enthusiastic about going out of their way for their clients. One interaction that stood out had nothing to do with the service industry. A family told us how they’d asked a young woman for directions while looking for a certain restaurant near the popular Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. The woman responded, “Don’t you have Waze?” When the family answered that they did have the App on their cellphones, she shrugged and said, “Well, then why don’t you use it?”
This is obviously just one example, and it certainly wasn’t enough to ruin anyone’s visit, but it did make me think about the way tourists are welcomed by people in the service industry and certain civilians. The concept of “the customer is always right” doesn’t seem to apply as much here, as in other parts of the world. In fact, if the customer is wrong, they may well be told as much! One might argue there’s a certain brutal honesty that some might find endearing, but what would it have cost the young woman in Jerusalem to help the family find their way?
The cashier at the nearby supermarket who took the time to chat to each customer for just a few minutes made a positive impact in such a short space of time. It’s a great lesson for anyone in the service industry, anyone dealing with a tourist and any person who wants to have a domino effect on those around them, including relatives, friends, colleagues and strangers!
The writer is a news anchor at i24NEWS