I get to spend some of my volunteer time working with a group of young people helping them to prepare for speech competitions. It’s very rewarding work, and I never fail to learn new things myself from the great topics these kids come up with. One of the most recent came from a young lady named Grace.
Grace’s topic was on the anatomy of humor; how it is structured, why it makes us laugh, and the health benefits of it on us. As you might imagine, her speech is peppered with snappy one-liners aimed at helping her audience engage more in her message. One of her best examples of a joke comes from Groucho Marx, and I’ve shared it below.
There is no question that laughter is in fact the best medicine. Research is clear that laughter and having a sense of humor is beneficial to reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing happiness, and making one fun to be around. That being said, humor often gets lost somewhere in translation when it comes to business and even life in general.
You may have met individuals that take themselves too seriously. They’re not easily amused by their own foibles and failures. They’re often stoic, overly focused on the business at hand, and guarded about their own value and work. Often, they feel defined by their job and accomplishments. If those are in jeopardy, they fiercely protect them.
The most respected leaders tend to be people that are the first to laugh at themselves. Rather than take themselves too seriously, they are apt to make a self-deprecating joke. They build relationships through putting people at ease. They also tend to have a broader perspective on life and business.
Life’s too short to take ourselves too seriously. We are all human and we will both succeed and fail. I’ve found that it’s too much work to take one’s self too seriously. It’s most often true that the quickest way to success and significance – and to unleashing your own potential – is to have a sense of humor and laugh early and often.
So a duck walks into a bar….
Quote of the Week:
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
~ Groucho Marx
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