Scrolling through social media I stopped on a photo of a dad holding his baby son and they were both laughing. I smiled and clicked on the start button of the video. It was a compilation of babies who were laughing at the actions their parents were performing. For four short minutes I smiled, laughed, and was temporarily relieved of the craziness of the world. It made me feel better to laugh.
It’s hard to change the world but I can change my world by looking for humor in life every day. Searching for reasons to smile or laugh in this time of division and disillusionment can be difficult. We need to seek humor as we emerge from the mandated restrictions created by an overreaching government. As human beings we need to look for the funny in things even when times are serious.
Smiles are infectious. Humor is infectious. And given we just went through this infectious CCP Virus, I am reminded of the wonderful poem by Spike Milligan, the British-Irish actor, comedian, writer, musician, poet, and playwright.
He wrote, “Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling, too. I passed around the corner, and someone saw my grin, when he smiled, I realized, I’d passed it on to him. I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth. A single smile, just like mine, could travel round the earth. So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected – Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected!”
Are you smiling now? I am and you should too. Laughter helps you feel good even if its temporally. You use less muscles in your face when you smile than when you frown. Smiling improves your disposition and laughter which releases endorphins that help you relax. Laughter reduces stress and anxiety. My business guru, Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “At the end of humor is the height of listening. People want to hear what’s next.” This is why I often will start a presentation with a funny quip or a self-effacing story. The shared experience of laughter gives people a wonderful sense of common ground. In our divided world, humor brings people together. Laughter heals the broken spirit and helps expose a truth most people would not say out-loud in public, yet a comedian often does.
On my work desk is a round, yellow, smiley face stress ball. It makes me smile. I have photographs of family, and friends on my bookcases with meaningful trinkets and mementos that bring back warm memories and good times that make me smile while I work. I have books on many subjects, yet when I need a pick me up, the books I have on humor and jokes give me a mental respite from a hectic day.
One of our Toastmasters Clubs that I co-founded celebrated our ten-year anniversary of helping people find their voice and leadership skills. The president of the club wanted to commemorate the event with a roast of me as their target of mirth and humor. I consented to being the object of entertainment that day and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was honored to be made light of with folly and laughter. The jokes, presentations, and laughter were all done at my expense, and I enjoyed every moment of it. The adage of, “if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re taking yourself too seriously” rang true. By allowing oneself to hear others talk about you in a humorous way is humbling and endearing. I laughed so hard I cried at the truths that were lovingly thrown my way. I only hope the eulogies at my funeral will be as funny.
The world is filled with complainers, controllers, and cabooses. Don’t let them in to command your day. Don’t dwell in their darkness. Find the light in humor and laughter. My suggestion for getting more laughter in your day, is to study the art of comedians and funny people. Listen to their use of words, their story delivery, and the use of surprise to make others laugh.
As I have said, “Be a student of observation and find the funny in every situation. There will be times when you’re down or may wish to cry, yet a good bit of laughter is a better way to moisten the eye. Look in the mirror, that always makes me laugh. Our maker has a sense of humor; just study the giraffe. Laugh, smile, and find the humor in your day. The wrinkles in my face tell everyone, laughter is here to stay.”
Here are some favorite quotes on laughter.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter” – Mark Twain
“Laughter is an instant vacation” – Milton Berle
“Trouble knocked at the door, but hearing laughter hurried away” – Benjamin Franklin
“Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath” – George Carlin
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face” – Victor Hugo
“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance of any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy” John Cleese