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Experiment: Can one word make a difference?

Lately I’ve been experimenting with one of the world’s most powerful words: Happy.

Here’s how my experiment goes.

Setting: I approach another person. For now just imagine it is the checkout person at Target.

Me: Hi. How are you today? (The setup)

Them: Fine. And you? (Obligatory response)

Me: I’m happy. (Game changer)

They always, always break stride. They look up. They smile, maybe giggle. And then they say:

—    You know? Me too!

—    Nobody has ever said that to me before.

—    That’s cool.

—    Thank you.

It’s guaranteed we both leave the exchange a bit more upbeat. A little bit changed. Yes, happier.

I’m not making my happiness up. Even on my saddest or most discouraging days, I can step into a brief moment of happiness. I’m happy that Target carries my favorite Altoids Arctic Curiously Cool Peppermint mints and I get to go home with them.

Give it a try today—with a clerk, the drive-through person, your boss, your client or a colleague—and let me know what happens.

Any suggestions for another powerful word to experiment with?