On November 9th 2011, I had a really, really good day. So, I made a Facebook status about it.
“Day 1: Happiness is.. those perfect car rides where the radio just plays all the right songs.” I didn’t think much of it. I had no idea what I was about to start.
The next day I posted another…and another…and another. I had been doing this for over 200 days when I started thinking I could do something more. I was reaching a lot of people and everyone was really enthusiastic about the idea but I knew I could do more.
I did a lot of research on nonprofits, random acts of kindness, web design, and happiness. On June 4th 2012, I launched The Smile Project website and social media accounts. It didn’t take me long to recognize that I could have more than Facebook statuses…I could have a Happiness movement.
I began by selling small clay smiling faces for $1 apiece. They came in five different colors and representing five different charities. For example, a green smiley face came to represent the charity Pure Thirst. On the back of each smiley face was a number. The number correlated to a “Day” of Happiness as posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. By visiting the main website, www.the-smile-project.com, people were able to see what specific “happiness statement” their smiley face represents.
Then as life goes, I got swept up in my freshman year of college and The Smile Project took a back seat for a little bit. It wasn’t until November of 2013, that, at the encouragement of a good friend, I began creating and selling inspirational T-shirts with sayings like, “Life is Love” and “Make today the best day of your life.” These were an instant hit.
Through T-shirt sales, I have been able to donate almost $100 to each of the five organizations I represent: To Write Love on Her Arms, Pure Thirst, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Butler County Humane Society, and the American Cancer Society.
More than funds, however, The Smile Project is focused on a Happiness crusade. The mission is to help everyone find a reason to smile and to remind people that happiness can be found in every day as long as we remember to look. Working on this project has taught me a lot about myself. Truth be told, when I began, I was struggling with my own set of issues and personal obstacles. I honestly believe this is what saved me.
The Smile Project forced me to find something good when I wanted to give up. It challenged me to keep going when it seemed like the world was crashing down around me. It humbled me to realize how many truly amazing things I am surrounded by each day that often times we all take for granted. More than that, though, it gave me purpose. I began to believe in myself. I became confident, hopeful, and most importantly, genuinely happy.
I would be lying to say that there haven’t been dozens of times I’ve thought about giving it all up. But the simple fact of the matter is, I can’t. I’ve become so enthralled with this idea of changing the world with a smile, that I have no intentions of slowing down. This upcoming August 4th will mark my 1000th consecutive day of Happiness…and I couldn’t feel more blessed.