4 ways to make someone's day

If you look back over your life (or even just the last few months) there will be some moments that really stand out. 

They might be highlights - an encounter that means you end up finding the love of your life, a teacher who believed in you, receiving a promotion or even an unexpectedly good night out.

We often let those moments happen by chance. Perhaps we put it down to luck or simply accident. But what if we could actually create those moments for ourselves and others?

The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath looks at the ways you can create positive, memorable moments for yourself and others; moments that jolt, elevate and change those around you. Here are 5 ideas...

1. Give someone a really meaningful compliment

We're not talking about telling a stranger on the tube that you love their coat (though let's be honest, that would probably make their day and if you see a coat you love then go for it!) but letting someone you see every day know that you appreciate them. Perhaps someone at work is really putting in the hours and you think they should be recognised for it. Perhaps you're impressed by a campaign they're working on or their attitude towards customers. Try to make your comment meaningful and specific - don't just say 'Good job on the presentation, Dave' but let them know exactly what you like about it. It will make them smile, it will make you feel good too and it will strengthen your relationship.

2. Give a sense of completion and accomplishment

How much of our lives do we spend jumping from task to task, constantly working through a to-do list that just never gets any shorter? Even if you spend weeks working on something, and finally get it ticked off, chances are it is immediately replaced by another urgent task and you don't get a minute to yourself to feel proud about everything you have accomplished. Take the time to celebrate what you have done. Put a meeting in the diary, get your team together and toast your success. Just taking those twenty minutes can be enough to make people feel like they have achieved something important and that their work means something to the wider group (and it will help them feel motivated for the next project - win, win!).


3. Make a good day even better

Birthdays are already a key memorable event. You might have made plans to go for lunch with some colleagues and then to a party in the evening with your friends and loved ones. But what about the times in between when it might just slip back into being a normal day? How can you add extra highlights to someone's birthday to make sure that all of it stands out as not just 'another' day? You could make sure you beat your colleague into work and tie special birthday balloons to their chair. Or get the rest of your team on board to greet them at a meeting with cake and party poppers.


4. Make a bad day a bit better

Times when we are overwhelmed will stick in our minds as a particular lowlight in any given week or month. Watching a colleague or a friend struggle is difficult and sometimes it feels impossible to know how to help when you can't make the problems go away. But it can be as simple as letting them know you care. Make them a cup of tea. Send them a care parcel of chocolate and bubble bath as a reminder to have a night to themselves for once. An unexpected treat will brighten their day and even if you can't change everything and erase the memories of stress, you can add a ray of sunshine to it.

More about the author

The Power of Moments

Chip Heath (and others)


'Beautifully written, brilliantly researched' Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of GRIT

'The most interesting, immediately actionable book I’ve read in quite a while... If life is a series of moments, the Heath brothers have transformed how I plan to spend mine' Adam Grant, bestselling author of ORIGINALS and OPTION B, with Sheryl Sandberg

In this latest New York Times bestseller by the authors of Switch and Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath explore why certain brief experiences can jolt, elevate and change us - and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our own life and work.

What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later? What if a doctor or nurse knew how to orchestrate moments that would bring more comfort to patients? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children? Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck - but why leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them?

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath explore the stories of people who have created standout moments, from the owners who transformed an utterly mediocre hotel into one of the best-loved properties in Los Angeles by conjuring moments of magic for guests, to the scrappy team that turned around one of the worst elementary schools in the country by embracing an intervention that lasts less than an hour.

Filled with remarkable tales and practical insights, The Power of Moments proves we all have the power to transform ordinary experiences into unforgettable ones.

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