Giving a smile and your heart in what you do makes the world of difference

If you go to The Curve in Damansara Perdana during weekends, you may hear soothing sounds of the piano as you walked towards the centre of the mall. And then, you may see a gentleman playing the piano live:


His name is Gary. What is special about him is the cheerful disposition and the ready smile that he has on his face.  It has been a few years and each time I walk past him, I’ve always noticed that he always has a smile I never saw him played with a sour face.  So one day, I decided to request his permission to take his picture- and with a smile, he willingly allow.

You can often see a difference if someone is working because ‘it’s just a job’ and someone who do it with genuine love- to entertain the visitors with soothing melodies. This is very different from malls that put in piped music all the time- to have the piano being played life, especially by someone who is obviously passionate about the job, adds a whole new experience to visitors. The energy that comes from playing any musical instrument live and from the heart totally differs  from just putting in a CD on paino tunes.


About 5 minutes before I approached Gary to take his picture, I was one floor higher- and as I looked down and saw him playing, a father actually guided his shy daughter to stand next to Gary. And not only he played the piano, he turned to the little girl with a kind, loving smile and played as though dedicating the piece to her.  You can see happy faces on both the father and daughter- and I am sure he really made their day.

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I was just going to take the escalator down when I passed near the indoor playground- and saw an ugly scene unfold in front of me at the playground:


(Note: This picture was taken after the scene- I just took it to show you where the playground is)

Two parents were yelling at one another. There was a huge commotion- probably their kids were playing together and one had hurt the other. I heard one father yelling and scolding the other man while the wife of the scolded man shouted “he’s just a kid!”.

And a scared looking mother (not related to the arguing adults) quickly carried her child away from the place.

I cannot help but sense that all the yelling, taking little things personally and causing a scene reflects on some internal frustration inside both parties. So they tend to take it out and release that whole load of negative energy by making a big deal out of nothing- you see this type of people- they causes a scene at the post office, in banks, on the road (road bullies)  and when fighting for parking lots.  Some people may think they look great shouting or berating others- but to onlookers, they would usually feel disgusted at those who cause a scene and ruin the peaceful environment of the day.

Deep down inside, the person may hate himself, hate his job and his life’s circumstances. Instead of doing something about it, the anger is bottled up inside- and little incidents would trigger the explosion. Scolding and yelling at others will never make us feel better- in fact, it usually makes us feel more rotten about ourselves.

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But keeping the anger inside is also unhealthy as unexpressed anger will find itself being expressed years later in the form of illness like high blood cancer and cancer (research is now showing that a lot of people who are very angry inside and who is not able to express their anger end up developing cancer).

For the sake of our happiness and health, we must find a way out to deal with our frustration, anger, grief, discontentment. It is our only chance to lead a meaningful life on this earth because life’s not about working in a job you hate so that you can pay the bills.

Regardless of the job you do, always do it as a labor of love. Honestly, people can always sensed that ‘personal touch’ and you can easily make someone’s day.

It differs from trying to go the extra mile and expecting something in return, ie recognition, promotions, respect and admiration. If we put in effort in our jobs hoping for our bosses or colleagues to recognize what a great person we are, we would likely be angry or upset when we do not receive the response that we hope. Or we may receive the respond, and continue to push ourselves harder and harder to gain even more approval and recognition.

By doing that, we are heading for burnout. Because we would constantly do that will feel drained, unhappy and stressed up. And eventually, we may end up blaming the boss, the colleagues, customers for their lack of appreciation or that the job seemed to literally suck the life out of us.  But if we were to examine properly, we are at least partially to be blame- the wrong working attitude…even seemingly self-sacrificing ones will do us more harm than good.

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Instead, learn to do our jobs straight from the heart. It’s actually easier and requires less or little effort- and people can instinctively sense your sincerity and will tend to be more relaxed and positive around you. A waiter who seemed to smile effortlessly the whole day and do not feel tired or drained will not feel drained out at the end of the day.

To be able to have a smile and kind gestures naturally means that you must also have the same positive feelings about yourself.  Only if you are kind to yourself that you can truly kind to others and only if you love yourself, you can find it in your heart to love and enjoy your job regardless of what you do.

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  • Paul Guo

    It’s definitely a very good article, telling us the correct attitude towards job, life. For me, personally, what you have said spoke right to my heart. Nowadays, in this fast-moving world, people tend to be easily irritated and care about nobody but themselves. There is one line in your article that I couldn’t agree with more: “Regardless of the job you do, always do it as a labor of love.” Believe it or not, if you show a passion in your daily job and let the colleagus around you sense that passion, you both make your own day and their day. So smile a lot instead of shouting, complaining, etc.. during work. I, myself, have also been through that kind of period during which I always complained, berated others at work. But now, I have adjusted myself, regarding job as a part of life and enjoying it. So, peace of mind, passion for life and job, care for others are what I need most.

    • Yin Teing

      Hi Paul, you are right- most often people are just irritate about themselves but somehow they could not see clearly and it is ‘transferred’ to another person. How we are have a profound effect of those around us. Glad to know that you’ve now adopted this outlook.

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