Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.

Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.


First impressions last forever. Even if they are corrected over time, the first impression is genuinely what it is.

Do you have a warm smile? Does your smile make others light up inside? If not, why not? Everyone has this power but the prerequisite smile comes from deep within the heart. If your heart is not smiling when you meet someone, it does not appear on your face, even if you try and force it.  Do you smile when you talk on the phone? Without video on? People can hear a smile in your voice. So how then, are we able to smile in the heart so that the smile on our face and our voice is genuine?

I believe that this starts with mindset. Our ability to find joy in just about anything, facilitates our ability to broadcast that joy in our encounters with others. If we approach the majority of experiences in our lives with gratitude and appreciation, that is a great start towards finding that joy. Our ability to see value in some of the smallest things in life allows us to broadcast that shared value to others around us.

Do people feel joyous for having spent time with you? I can report that in my circumstances, I probably get a B-  grade in this category. There are many times where the time spent together is full of positive experience, shared enthusiasm and all parties walk away feeling brighter and happier for the encounter. 

Simultaneously, there are the remainder of times in which I am less capable of potentially camouflaging the way I feel, which does not live up to today’s aphorism and which gives me cause or reason or to opt to write about it so that I might learn from my own philosophical perspectives. I highly ascribe to the perspective that if you want to learn something, teach it. In the course of this modus operandi, I have been able to coach myself through significant gaps in my personality in order that I might become more evolved and more vibrant as a human being.

Any person whom you might view as being perfect across-the-board, is a person you don’t know very well. The deeper we dig into our own personalities, the more likely we are to find the categories in which we must need to improve. To me, this is the overall merit in taking time for studying aphorisms and giving them the deeper contemplation that I do. I have a burning desire deep within to evolve through any and all of my shortcomings in order that I might find a happier life with each successive day.

Sometimes, I feel so broken as a human being, I wonder why I take the time to write any of this at all. I have no credentials. I have no aspiration to being a person that is known for any kind of teaching of this kind. I probably spend this hour every day explaining these things to myself and then sharing whatever I turn up with whomever chooses to read it.

There is no question that life is confusing. It is fraught with tension, stress, disappointment, sickness, anger and so much more. How in all of this negative energy is someone expected to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, every day?

Part of this magic boils down to the methodologies that one uses to communicate who they are and what they stand for in the course of making impressions on another person. As Maya Angelou so clearly states, “how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.“

Is there anybody in your life that you can think of that starts off every communication with you with whatever is wrong in their world? It can be the most trivial or the most consequential, but whatever it is, it is the first subject of discussion. It’s not that it is not appropriate to talk with people about things that are troubling, but if your overall approach continuously engages with some form of grievance or complaint, other people will start to view you as a negative encounter. 

There was someone in my life who did this quite a bit and eventually when we got together, the first thing out of their mouth was a grievance of nominal magnitude. One day I realized how much that was impacting our friendship, so instead of giving them comfort on whatever it was that they were discussing, I opted to respond, “and what else is wrong?“ So they went on to the next grievance and I responded in identical fashion. By the time this pattern went through three or four subjects,  they looked at me and said why do you keep saying that? And that’s when I gently explained to them that this is the pattern of our friendship. If I communicate with you, you are using me as a therapist or as somebody that you can release the frustrations you are experiencing in life. It was not an easy conversation and in all honesty they didn’t learn the lesson. But at some point, I think it is important to gently remind people who communicate like that that we are not their continuous recipient of troubling information. It creates a distancing in a friendship.

This statement sounds harsh if you apply it to someone who has deep problems and desperately needs to communicate to someone. I am more referring to the person who wants to start off their conversation by complaining about something that one of their friends said or did to them. Some people just do not understand that being a kvetch (Yiddish Word for complainer) is not the way to win friends and influence people.

In the world of business, genuine humility wins the day. It is wonderful to be self-confident, and there are many ways to express that without making the incorrect impression. Every time I ever talk about the work that The Illusion Factory creates, I am first to point out that 90% of that work does not come from me at all, it stems from the brilliant people who work with me and who collaborate to make the magic we create come to fruition. I am also quick to point out that my strength in business stems from being the weakest person on the team. This initially gets a raised eyebrow, but when I explain to them that the statement is genuine and that I am fortunate to surround myself with people who are far more talented than I am, the impression gets made.

Are these statements calculated? Of course they are. But you can be calculated and honest simultaneously. I believe there is true strength in being transparently and boldly genuine about the things that are important in life. In doing this, you might end up alienating a percentage of the people with whom you connect, but if that approach causes them to alienate from you, there is a greater likelihood that you are better off for the alienation.

Choosing to write about and communicate the myriad ideas and topics that I have mused about over time has become one of the greater assets in my life. In part because in doing so, I teach myself whatever it is that I am writing by taking the time to articulate it in whatever manner my mind opts to deliver.

With a single purpose of hoping to be of service to someone who is looking for one of these lessons, I can report that the selfless task of doing this work delivers rewards in many different ways, most of which I will never be aware of. That’s part of the pay it forward mentality. Think long and hard about your personal trademark. What impression is important to you to cast to others as to whom you are, what you stand for and what your beliefs mean to you?

There is tremendous lifelong value in finding these personal resources and leaving an impression with another that is genuine, heartfelt and warm. 

Happy Sunday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!