Many people I know are in grave serious jobs. Having fun? Out of question!!!! Having fun is counter-productive, isn’t it?
A friend of mine told me this story over dinner, and we had a hearty laugh over it. Tell me if the situation sounds familiar to you.
One morning he walks into the office and meets a guy in the office elevator. They don’t know each other, but by common courtesy my friend smiles and wishes him ‘Good morning’ as he is walking into the elevator.
The guy is too busy with his cell phone and does not even bother to look up at him. A passive nod, and a sharp “Hmm” – that’s all he gets.
Too bad the weight of the entire world was on his shoulders!!
Well as it happens my friend was Mr. S. Royce, and that Company was one of the many Companies which he owned. Everyone in the office worked for him. It came as a shock to this self-involved guy who later discovered they have had a surprise visit from the Owner of the corporation – The same gentleman who wished him on his way in.
Why are we forgetting that we need to be Having fun????!!!
What’s a lot of professional success when there is no smile on your face? I come across too many people from around the world who think that they are in a profession which is “too serious to be having fun!” or “Have forgotten how to have fun and succumbed to pressures of life.” or they are “Too busy to be having fun”.
Today I wish to break that thought once and for all !!
If you want to win, you need to be having fun!!
A sense of humour
Among the several things which only the human mind can conceive, is laughter. This unique ability cannot be replicated by a machine.
Computer programs were actually designed to create jokes, by mathematically simulating ‘Incongruity Resolution’, an essential feature of the brain which makes humour funny to us. They fell far short of expectation.
Among the thousands that they produced, the only one which became a bit famous was:
What kind of murderer has fibre? A cereal killer.
It’s a basic Pun. Others were far below this standard.
Now, I have been extremely fortunate to be knowing some of the greatest achievers of all times – Successful musicians, technocrats, Internationally acclaimed Doctors, Owners of Billion dollar Shipping Pools, and CEOs of Engineering Institutes. They were not all born with a silver spoon. They often started small and by their efforts rose to the pinnacle of success.
One thing is in common. They all know how to laugh!!!
No, they did not pick up this talent after they became successful, they always knew it!! One person I know used to sell newspapers for a living and presently owns one of the largest firms in the city now with an annual turnover of over a million. I knew him then, and I know him now. He has been smiling all along.
In fact, I had such a lot of things to say about this that I ended up writing an E-book called Fun Paradigm. In this book which is studded with hilarious jokes, I discuss the process which make things funny to us and how resolution of conflicts in the brain create humour, how Spontaneous humour can lead to creating a beautifully attractive personality, how we can actually develop a sense of humour, the differences between men and women when it comes to having fun and about the famous experiment to find the best joke in the world. Download this book here and let me know if you liked it.
I was busy today, frankly a bit bogged down with several emails when a friend of mine sent me this:
I did not laugh out loud, but it took my mind off work for a second, made me smile. That one second turned things around. I was stuck somewhere having a temporary mind-block. When I kept the phone down and returned, I was fresh again. I finished the rest of my job in no time!!!
Look at those computers spread out in the office. They are inanimate. They are machines. They work every day without thinking that there is a life beyond that. They cannot have fun.
We can!! And we should !!
For those who think that laughter reduces productivity, I am sorry, laughing is not counter-productive at all.
I do a pretty serious job with very serious responsibilities.
And I find every day how laughter and occasional well-timed humour can make people extremely productive and help in building a healthy and clean work environment. Humour, which is clean, makes you a child for a while. They are like Mini-breaks from the monotony of your job and of life. You need it, your employees need it, your boss needs it!!
Among the numerous benefits of laughter, here are a few:
- Laughter helps decrease blood pressure, improves immune system
- People who laugh more have a higher threshold for pain
- Laughter reduces emotional stress, which is like a No-Brainer!!
- Those who laugh frequently have a better reflex.
Professional benefits of having fun:
- Timely humour in the workplace makes a better environment. People look forward to coming to work and enjoy their jobs.
- At times, a leader has to be harsh and use Anger in a productive way. If you use occasional laughter in your workplace, in such situations when you push people you will get a far better audience in your employees. They will confront you less, and listen to you more.
- Use a subtle joke while you delegate jobs. Watch how that eases off the tension of the job from your subordinate. Go on, try it next time!!
- A leader who can cope up with tough situations with humour and ease of mind, while maintaining his firm grasp on authority, is seen to be confident by his followers and in general gets their trust. Abraham Lincoln used to do this a lot, as I have explained in my E-book. Anger in such grim situations has the exact opposite effect, unless used very briefly.
- An occasional laughter can ease off the tension between the ranks and between colleagues.
- When you laugh, the brain releases serotonin, which relaxes you. As the level of serotonin increases, you are able to take better and more flexible decisions. People who can laugh, can adapt to changing circumstances and are hence better managers.
- Appropriate humour can ease of serious professional situations and this human touch can make you extremely successful. If you are presenting a concept before a serious boardroom, open with a humour and you will instantly grab everyone’s attention.3. Personal Benefits: (They are all interlinked)
- Reduced Stress, causing healthier relationships and the ability to have easier conflict resolution. That’s just to name a few.
There are several more benefits which I skipped, but I have tried to integrate them in my e-Book : Fun Paradigm – the Psychology of Laughter. I am sure I have skipped many in that list too, given that the benefits are innumerable!!
In the next part of this series I will address few of the most common thoughts because of which people have stopped laughing in life and in the workplace.
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