The best known work on Classical Conditioning was done by Ivan Pavlov. He was experimenting with his dogs studying digestion and how his dogs would drool when they were being served meat. Pavlov then noticed his dogs began to salivate in the presence of the technician who normally fed them, rather than by the presence of the actual food. The technician was now the stimulus who had become associated with the meat so they drooled just by looking at him. Pavlov then used a bell to create a new source of stimulus so that every time he rang the bell, the dogs began to salivate.
So how does this relate to human behavior? Well it turns out we are not much different than our lovable furry friends when it comes to behavior. We also subconsciously learn to associate certain people (stimulus) with our positive moods and emotions. A person can literally become the bell that makes other people happy without realizing it.
Treat strangers like a friend and they will treat you like a friend.
Our current moods or emotions are highly linked to the type of memories that are on our mind right now. If we think about happy memories our moods rises and if we think of sad memories our mood plummets. We can choose and decide what mood we want to be in by simply changing the thoughts in our heads. How awesome is this? If we can have this reaction with ourselves, this means we can also do this for others. By improving the mood of those around us we become the bell that makes these people happy.
People are not creatures of logic, but creatures of emotions, bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity. If you can accurately invoke anything that was present at the time of a positive memory, people will unconsciously slip into the same mood they were in during that memory. This is possible because people’s moods and memories are highly linked. Since we tend to gravitate towards the people and things associated with what makes us feel good, our mere presence will inspire positive feelings in others. This conditioning will become subconscious and automatic.
A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.
So how can we do this? Sincere compliments are a great way to start. If you don’t know them well, ask them what makes them happy or how their day is going. You can tell the mood they are in by the way they answer these question and then you can change your behavior to cheer them up. Likable people make the people around them feel good and energized so a great way to start is by giving them a sincere compliment. There are generally three types of compliments people respond the best to: Looks, Work and Likes.
1. Compliment their looks. Although this is the most shallow of all compliments, it still works wonders on most of us. I mean we can all use a compliment or two once in a while. The important thing is to not just say “you look pretty today” but instead make the compliment more specific about their outfit, their hair, or makeup. If you want to move your bell up to position number one quickly try complimenting them on something they feel most self conscious about. This will make it more meaningful by showing you know them well and care since it’s the area they need the most help with.
2. Compliment something they worked hard at. A more deep and sincere compliment is to acknowledge something they worked hard at. Because they know how much time and effort they put into it, your compliment will be greatly appreciated since it shows you care. Let’s be real, we are all a little vain and love to have our hard work noticed and respected. This will have your bell ringing all over the place!
3. Compliment their favorite thing or hobby. It’s a known fact that we all like those who like the same things we do. Try compliment their favorite sports team on how good they played this weekend, how gorgeous their cat looked on the photo they posted yesterday or how awesome their favorite Netflix show was last night. We are more drawn to and like people who are similar to us. Since we already like ourselves, we will like those who are similar to us as well.
Please note this is in no way to sound or be fake in your niceness with others. I truly believe that by enriching the life of others, you enrich your own. By lifting others up, you actually help lift yourself up as well. We all need someone to help cheer us up or get us out of a sad moment once in a while. Remember just thinking about happy memories will immediately make us have happy emotions and improve our mood. There is nothing we need more than nourishment for our self-esteem and a little bit of an ego-boost sometimes. I have learned that showing sincere appreciation to others can actually change a person’s life!
People in general enjoy being happy so by cheering people up they will naturally want to be around the cause of their happiness. In this case, you. They will start to associate their “happy” moods with you and subconsciously be drawn to you more. So stay in a good mood, put on a happy face, praise others and offer sincere compliments. These are some of the best ways you can become “The Bell” that makes people around you smile without realizing it.