Haarlem resident Robbert Zoon’s ‘Green Heart Experiment’ shows fantastic yet simple way to connect with people and bring a smile to make a stranger’s day.
The Green Heart Connect Experiment
Since 2003 Robbert Zoon has been working in the field of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and conscious lifestyle. He helps companies to promote their meaningful products and create positive impact. If you think you recognise him, it might be from an article we published about his full-time house-sitting experiences in Haarlem. Robbert is the creator of online community platform WeCareWeConnect. Robbert’s latest initiative is to ride around his hometown wearing a big, green heart around his neck, greeting strangers with a cheery “Hello!”
The Power of saying “Hello”
Perhaps the simplest way to make your world a better place is to say “Hello” more often. Behavioural research has demonstrated that little things make a big difference when it comes to social interaction. Data indicates, for example, that smiling is contagious. That employees who smile more tend to have customers who are more satisfied. And even that holding a pen in your teeth so that the ends of your lips curl upward—forcing your mouth into a smile you aren’t even aware of—leads you to find a joke funnier and just enjoy what you’re doing a little bit more.
According to Psychology Today, saying hello has similar effects. However, all too often we don’t do it. As we walk in the street, most of us have a lot going on— bombarded with stimuli, around us and in our minds. You’re thinking about one of a hundred different things. So is everyone else, and it makes us appear aloof and distant even if we are actually open and friendly people.
So this week, make sure to say hello more often. Say it to the casual acquaintance, the former teacher, the co-worker at lunch, and the guy who sits on the step at the bus station. In those few minutes before your class or meeting starts, don’t use the time to scan social media; instead, be analogue-social and make the minimal effort required to introduce yourself to the person next to you.
Happiness isn’t a prerequisite for smiling; sometimes smiling is what makes you happier. By the same token, remind yourself to say hello and you actually contribute to a friendlier and more inclusive climate.
Join the #heartexperiment
You want to join the heart experiment? Yes you can! On our social media you'll find inspiration for like-hearted people. So join us, let's care and connect!