One of our Greatest Gifts in Business and in Life
Laughter is surely one of our greatest gifts. What good is a gift that we don’t use? (The fruitcakes at Christmas don’t count. Those are always best left uneaten.) I understand that there are times when your problems and concerns are so overwhelming that it feels disrespectful to laugh, you just don’t want to laugh, or, for whatever reason, you just can’t find it in you. I respect that. We’ve all been there. However, understand this, if at any time you’re feeling you can’t find the laughter, that’s exactly when you need it the most. Just as mourning and grieving are essential in order to heal, so too is our ability to step away from the pain, even if only for a few moments, to seek the joy in other aspects of our lives. Sometimes, however, we get so caught up in an unfortunate circumstance that we don’t realize that, in the long run, our very survival is dependent upon experiencing joy and laughter during and between life’s tough times. The reason some people don’t allow themselves to laugh and enjoy their lives when times are tough is because they feel guilty or they feel they don’t have the right. They say, “How can I find the laughter in my life when I was just diagnosed with cancer?” Well, that’s when you’re supposed to. They say, “How can you expect me to laugh and enjoy my life when the economy is falling apart and I may lose my job at any time?” Well my friend, that’s when you’re supposed to. It is essential that we all understand that there is a difference between laughing at something that is serious and laughing off the fear it represents. I believe that’s the number one reason why we are given the gift of laughter: To laugh in the face of fear and other crippling negative emotions. Mark Twain wrote, “Nothing can stand against the assault of laughter, not even fear.” I absolutely love that quote! When you do allow yourself to laugh in the face of fear, perception changes, negativity shifts and fear is kept at bay. A few weeks after 9/11, I experienced an inward glow when I witnessed America’s collective Humor Being helping us shift our focus away from the pain. Not only was Osama Bin Laden being bombarded by air strikes, but also by punch lines. Late night television hosts like Jay Leno led the attack and helped us all laugh off the fear. Osama goes to a fortune teller to find out how long he has to live. The fortune-teller informs him that he will die on a famous American holiday. “Which one?” Bin Laden asks. “Whatever day you die will be a famous American holiday.” The fortune teller replies. The healing of America began to flourish the day we adjusted our attitudes and made the shift to laugh-off-the-fear. Now that’s power! I want to make this point as clear as I possibly can. Are you ready? When times are tough even severe, at work, at home or around the world, we must at some point find the courage within ourselves to laugh off the fear. Remember, sometimes a couple of seconds of positive energy is all you need before you decide to give up. Laughter simply gives you that couple of seconds.