Here’s a challenge for you to try for one week, then report back.

Each day, after someone has served you or driven you or checked you in at a hotel or been a cashier at a market or warehouse department store or TSA gate, say the following to the person (unless they seem overly pressured).

  • Hello (say their name), thank you, my name is (your name)
  • I have a question for you…(if they’re look startled reassure them), no, you didn’t do anything wrong)
  • What made you smile today?

And then watch their response and then feel your response when they tell you.

Here’s how a couple guys did the challenge for a week in NYC:

On their Facebook page, they have received 32.5 k views.

If you watch the video you’ll discover that there’s more to this than meets the eye, or shall we say, meets your smile.

Asking someone what made them smile today takes them from feeling cortisoled up and stressed out and give them a burst of oxytocin as they feel bonded to you and your caring. This then causes them to feel a surge of dopamine and pleasure.

And then guess what?

Their oxytocin from bonding with you and dopamine from being grateful to you, causes you to feel oxytocin and dopamine in return.

Want to see more about what’s involved?

Check out my TEDx talk, What Made You Smile Today?

Feel enthused? Feel a little less stressed out?

Then join our movement at: or at #WMYST

BTW… what made YOU smile today?


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.