Paper is typically made from either wood pulp or cotton rag. Wood pulp contains lignin, which is the substance found in a tree’s cells that gives them their rigidity. Over time, this lignin breaks down in wood pulp paper and becomes acidic. A paper that is acidic will discolor and deteriorate to varying degrees within decades. Wood pulp paper is also more brittle and tears easily due to the nature of the fibers it contains. It is very cheap to produce. Newspapers, copier paper, notebook paper, books, posters, most photographs, and cheap artwork are often made with wood pulp paper.
Cotton paper, or “cotton rag”, or just “rag”, is a more durable and stronger paper than wood. It is named as such because it is literally made from recycled cotton rags. It is stronger and is much more resistant to discoloration due to its neutral chemistry. Documents made of cotton rag are expected to last for at least a century. However, it is much more expensive to produce due to it’s production process. Currency, historically important documents, and fine art photographs are often made with cotton rag paper.
As a self-employed artist, much of my job is playing the part of a salesperson, but if you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t tend to be outgoing and am more of a serious thinker than a socializer. This type of attitude usually doesn’t do well in a sales environment when you want to have a big positive impression on as many people as possible. To do that requires a happy, outgoing, and social presence.
I recently finished a book written by sales legend Frank Bettger in 1947, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling“. He found that while we typically let our emotions determine our outward appearance and actions, it is also possible to turn the tables and affect a change to our emotional state by forcing our actions and appearance. He practiced smiling, authentically, for twenty minutes each morning and he said it changed is whole attitude for the day, and furthermore, it changed the attitude of those around him.
That sounded like a win-win to me so I tried it this past weekend. While I was driving to my art show Saturday, I smiled all the way there. By the time I got there, I was positive, enthusiastic, and ready to meet people! During the show, I continued this smile to some extent, if I could get away with it without looking strange. I found that if you are smiling and catch a glance from someone, even the most serious looking folks will change their countenance to reflect yours. I tried it again Sunday, and it was the same result. If that wasn’t enough of a payoff, I sold more photographs at that show than I ever have. I don’t know if I will fully credit the smiling exercise for that, but it I’m certain, without a doubt, that it had a significant impact.
Try it. Now. For the next 10 minutes, create a genuine smile. See how it changes your attitude. I’d love to hear your results.