We need more artists, especially during change. Take for example career change.
Typically a logical, sequential process of gaining money. But the more we follow this linear path, the less our minds are embracing the unknown. The rush for (and of) perfectionism stifles us. It also kills our sense of humor. It pushes people away, even as we push towards it. We isolate ourselves and hide our humanness. Our weaknesses. Our vulnerabilities.
Hey wait—this sounds great!
Until we see our thinking patterns dwindling. After all, we might spill some ill-fitting and unclean ideas on our pretty veneer.
Enter the artist. The right-brain, the non-conformist who breaks us out of our fossilized thinking.
As our minds cling to the security of a certain goal, something sinister happens. We lose a sense of openness, of possibility. Fixed on an image, we allow it to guide our choices—and our feelings about those choices. And, finally, our view of ourself. Our identity.
Enter the artist: Your sense of humor. It’s spiritual element cajoles you to claim and craft your purpose. Think about it: You wouldn’t have been given this disposition, this weird combo of abilities, if it weren’t for SOME purpose, some reason. Something higher than your ego’s saying, “You studied library science, you ’should’ be a librarian. Congratulations!”
Laughter lofts us above limited thinking. Laughter is a process, a protection, a powerful clarifier.
Laugh and you free your mind to think of other avenues where your skills may be useful.
Laugh and you reflect on all you’ve done with this conglomeration of skills and loves.
Laugh and you see ways to serve a larger world than what exists in your mind and your past failures.
We all want to be perfect. It’s a dream goal, everything will go well for us. But when we finally get it, that this goal is actually bad for us—we win.
You want your organization to perform better, your employees to be satisfied and productive. You know there are certain changes that are needed before this can happen. You’ve tried the usual methods to make change happen and you’ve seen these efforts go down in flames. But rather than fling yourself out of the cycle altogether, you just try harder. And fail more. Here are some ideas why your past efforts at change may have bitten the dust.
Bureaucracy vs. create-cracy. A business plan is wise. Following it to the letter, despite outside envinronmnetal factors is deadly. Sure it’s good to have a plan of action, a template to follow. But too often companies get stuck in worship of the model. That chokes off creative channels.
Distrust of authority vs. trust in one’s own voice. Your employees have probably seen company changes crash and burn. Can you blame them for secretly rolling their eyes at your next change venture? Even worse, expecting them to blindly comply only teaches them to conceal and then snuff out their individual voice. Theirs is the voice that may have the clue to solving your next change situation.
Being jaded vs. feeling joyed. Your people may follow along without complaint: Having a job is wise today. But inside, they are jaded. The more they see the pattern of change-failures erupting in their midst, the more their joy is sucked from their lives. The worst part is that their work-styles will reflect their lack of joy. And so will the company’s bottom line.
Taking the company and its goals too seriously vs. admitting mistakes and accepting defeat. A tough recipe, especially since businesses are not supposed to fail—or at least not admit they’ve failed. But your employees know each of your failures; they probably suffered, too. Maybe they even have a clue as to what you could have done better. Perfectionism is at the opposite pendulum swing from laughter. No humor, no more breadcrumbs along your path toward successful change.
What can you do to help your people and your organization to deal with change? Only one thing: Give them back their sense of humor. You do this by taking the following steps:
1. Give them a sense of belonging TO the change that’s occurring. Rather than merely allowing them to be onlookers.
2. Give them a chance to sense change, contribute to it, and yes even reject it. Hear them out, and let them in.
3. Give up the out-dated model of “leader” because your employees, vendors, and staff are savvy. Their individual lives are progressing, but your model of leading them isn’t.
4. Give in to a sense of joy. Allow yourself to know on a visceral level that change is required. Bracing yourself for change invites fear and poor outcomes.
Accept change and trust it. When you let down your guard, you are in fact letting in those resources that are exactly what you need to move through difficult change.
Dr. Trina Hess’ Humor Academy shows you how to LAUGH through difficult change.
Want to know if you’re from Mars or Snickers? Check out today’s guest Ron Berk, Ph.D., and all his humor resources. Add humor, laughter, and fun to break down the fear barriers in education, testing, and even learning statistics! To listen to today’s interview, go here: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/73081
Ronald A Berk, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Biostatistics & Measurement,
Former Assistant Dean for Teaching,
The Johns Hopkins University
Email: NEW email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Phone: 410-940-7118
Websites: www.ronberk.com<http://www.ronberk.com/> www.pptdoctor.net<http://www.pptdoctor.net/>
Q: Sometimes I’ll see someone giving a medical-information presentation and they’ll add a funny slide from time to time. Some kind of medical cartoon, something the people in the audience would get. Or I’ve seen some presenters joke about themselves: “Some people tell me I have an accent…” I think it makes people seem more interesting and human, and their presentation wasn’t all solely information-heavy.
A: Yes! That goes along with being comfortable with your character or style of humor. The more familiar you are with your skill in getting laughs, the better you’ll know how far to push the envelope. When you’re giving a speech anywhere, you can read the audience. In a professional setting, you can get a sense of your co-workers and audience members—how funny they are, or how far to push the humor.
The best way to improve your sensing is by doing these three steps, continually and consciously:
1. Record the things you say that make other people laugh. You may be surprised at all the funny things you say when you weren’t even trying to be funny!
2. Accept your humor style, even if it’s not what you think of as “comedic”. Other people have validated that it works, that you ARE funny!
3. Get comfortable with transitioning seamlessly into and out of humor usage within your presentations. This will keep your laugh lines more organic and less show-biz.
Every time I see William Hurt, I like him more and more. I just watched him yesterday in “The 4th Floor.” The more I watched his stoic character, the more I realized, HE embodies HUMOR.
No, he’s not rolling in the aisles.
No, he’s not cracking jokes.
No, he’s not even smiling.
But what he DOES do is open up a world where HUMOR can thrive. Here’s how:
1. He is un-usual. His character is definitely not what we think of when we think of the status quo “actor.” He’s not one of those Lifetime-movie heavy-sighing, cat-fighting, back-stabbing actor (and those are just the love scenes).
Instead, the silence of his character lets OUR creativity roar. His minute, almost imperceptible facial expressions let US read into the story, let US make up our own minds about him, about his relationship to the other characters, and his level of guilt and suspicion.
2. He makes us wonder. He stands back and lets US figure out “the joke”, or the meaning of the movie. Not only that, but his complete lack of the lady-ga-ga-style over-the-top style that we’ve come to define as “entertainment”—that’s what makes him compelling.
3. He opens space. Like all good humor, he surprises us, catches us off guard, because he isn’t doing anything. He’s not flailing around, he’s not shouting, he doesn’t have a non-content-rich reality show. He doesn’t DO anything!!! And in today’s world of people who do too much, that is fascinating!!! It’s ground-breaking!! It is different. And we notice.
4. He is OK with what is. William Hurt embraces the quality of acceptance—one of the key components that makes humor work. He’s no Brad Pitt. He probably looks like your dentist. He doesn’t wear flashy clothes or talk in an accent. He doesn’t have abs.
You can imagine that this actor you watch on screen is the same one who would be taking out the garbage to the curb on trash day, going to PTA meetings, or balancing his checkbook. He simply makes a seamless transition to his career, which happens to be acting, the way people transition from getting out of bed and into their car to go to their jobs. This comfortable acceptance of himself makes us feel comfortable watching him. He is credible. That makes his characters credible. That makes me more interested in seeing what else he will (or won’t) do.
Is your humor style Hurt-ing anyone? I hope so.
Being yourself is very compelling. And you might even surprise someone…..
How funny is THAT?
Tell us more at www.HumorAcademy.com and then continue the conversation on Facebook!
There’s something N*E*W going on at YourShiningExample.com
My cat’s name is MAESTRO. If someone isn’t a classical music fan, they probably haven’t heard the word. And mostly no one has seen it spelled. But when you say it correctly it sounds kind of like it was derived from “mice.” Get it?
What a clever name. It’s perfect, meaningful. And—at the vet’s office—very very ineffective.
We sit amid the huddled masses trying to calm each other down. The receptionist calls out, “May-ES-tro?” (I never know whether their voice is rising because they’re wondering if we’re here at our appointment, or if they’ve said the name right.)
Usually we don’t answer because neither my cat nor I have ever heard of “May-ES-tro?” We didn’t realize the call was for us. We were only listening for a specific thing, focused on a specific goal. We wanted to hear what we wanted to hear.
And so everything else was muffled.
That’s the way we—me, my cat, and you and everyone—functions on an average day. We’re focused on goals. We’re specific. If something lies outside our range of attention, we may miss it.
UNLESS it’s something HUMOR-induced and capable of whipping us out of our cyclone of daily tasks.
UNLESS it’s something HUMOR-induced that creates a lighter load for the listener.
UNLESS it’s something HUMOR-induced that will remind us or our humanity and bring us back into connection with others rather than with tasks.
What do you hear when someone calls YOUR name today? How funny is that?
This New Year’s Eve I totally missed out. Missed out on all those radio and TV shows reminiscing about the things that happened in 2010.
And you know what? I didn’t miss them at all. In fact, missing out on them made me realize all the reasons why I hate those types of shows. They aren’t very HUMORous at all.
1. These year-in-review shows don’t offer us a forward glance. Instead, they keep us mired in last year’s old news. Events that we have no power over changing. Of course we can change—in our minds—the effect those events may have had on us. But who wants to waste precious energy on doing THAT?
2. Looking backward gives us a very skewed sense of time. Either we realize we’d forgotten about all the tragedies that happened, celebrities who had died, or Golden Globe winners. Or, worse, we think, “Was that THIS year that that happened?” We’re left confused as we try and add, subtract, and multiply minutes and dates. And in the process, we divide our energy that we need to tackle this new year.
3. These shows take us out of the present moment. We can’t connect with anyone in the here-and-now because our minds are reveling, regaling, or retching about what happened to us, for us, without us, or about us in the past year. We’re distracted beyond what a normal person needs to be.
4. We’re cramped from creating new things because our minds are so stuck on reflection on what used-to-be. Oh sure, we can come up with new ideas and images. But when we have one eye on the past, we’re always going to be a not-wholly-authentic masterpiece of our own.
HUMOR not only holds our audience captive, it holds our hand as we traverse uncharted new-year territory. How we handled last year’s events isn’t important. What IS important is how humor can highten our hopes for the upcoming 365 days.
What did YOU choose to not remember about 2010? How funny is THAT?
This week’s Comedy Around the World celebrates New Year’s Eve in Israel. When I was in this intricate, intriguing country, everything was new to me. The street signs written in Hebrew, the foods with a tinge of Middle Eastern cuisine, the personality of the Israelis.
But on that New Year’s Eve, I was reminded of how not so common, common sense is.
In Tel Aviv there was a dance club called Soweto. They played all the best reggae music. All the hip kids were there. And me.
It was nearly midnight. I was excited to bring in the new year in this new country. But a strange thing happened. No one else seemed excited. No one was counting down, ten, nine, eight…
Only I was, and a few Swedish tourists. That was it.
Later I found out that Israel’s New Year falls somewhere in the Fall of the year!
January 1st isn’t the New Year?!
I was shocked and more than a little disappointed.
Funny, isn’t it. How we are convinced that everyone understands our message? This evening marks our opportunity to start our own personal revolution. Our chance to connect, create, and crash through our perfectionistic tendencies that close us off to new experiences. Let’s go!
Funny, isn’t it. How we think that our way will bring people together and make them pleased?
Funny, isn’t it. How in our certainty we close the door to any hope of new discoveries?
What will allow the new year bring YOU? How funny is THAT?
One of the biggest obstacles to humor — and creativity in general — is that time-worn split between the arts and sciences.
Have you ever worn a perfectly tailored suit? Fashion is an art, right? But what about the exact distances the seamstress measured to get the suit to lay exactly right? That’s a science.
And how about the neurosurgeon who is also an award-winning photographer?
Do we really HAVE to be one OR the other? Either, or?
It’s the blending, or rather the ”mashing,” that marks the new dawn of modern creativity. Just like in comedy, there ARE no rules. The only structure is what YOU want to make.
When we let our borders bleed onto other ‘categories’, we wind up with things that are one-of-a-kind and — like humor — memorable.
What can YOU do to make your message, your product, or yourSELF more memorable? How funny is THAT?
Today at the gym I heard a dissonant, screeching sound. No, I didn’t break the weight machine cable. I didn’t even DO anything. It’s something that happened TO me.
Someone with ear buds was — unknowingly or else vengefully — singing out loud and off key. I can’t relate to that. I don’t own ear buds (or as I like to call them, ear wax collectors) because they are painful and gross. If I can’t carry my Sony Walkman around with me, it’s not worth the effort. I’d rather just think up songs in my head and then keep them to myself.
My first thought was to find the manager. My second thought was, “Does this person know she is singing out loud?” And my third action was—to—laugh.
Because whether or not singing was “allowed” in the gym; and whether or not the person was aware of others in the room; she was singing.
What ways do YOU censor yourself?
What ideas and joy are YOU afraid to express?
What’s wrong with YOUR earbuds? Put them on today and have fun. I promise I won’t tell the manager! ;)
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