The travel gods smiled upon me. My bag and I both arrived at the same airport at the same time, traffic to the hotel zoomed along, and the line for hotel check-in was shorter than the TSA’s.
As I made my way to my room, I observed this hotel’s unique (and somewhat goth) décor: elegant, comfortable... and dark. Dark! Dark! Dark! The walls were black, the furniture was black, I even think the water was black—but I couldn’t tell because, well, it was so DARK. (And I’ll let you guess what color the ballroom floor and the staging were...)
The meeting began and halfway through my presentation, I stepped forward to make a dramatic point...and walked right off the front of the stage. (Picture Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff.)
As you might have guessed, the black carpet and the black stage floor merged visually, leaving no hint that there was a drop-off there. The audience gasped, wondering (in the dark) if I was injured; then they held their...
“I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.”
“This isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting.”
“Don’t bother me. I’m livin’ the dream.”
Sarcasm. Gotta love it, don’t ya? Used for comic effect and dry criticism throughout the ages—by us common folks and by the famous.
Oscar Wilde observed: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
Stephen Bishop said: “I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.”
Mark Twain once quipped: “I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
Sarcasm. You hear it nearly every day, from all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations.
[Yeah, we all know—or think we know—exactly what sarcasm is. But for the meticulous among you, here’s the precise definition, according to Webster’s Dictionary: “the use of words...
We’re cruising down the highway on a sunny California afternoon—the sparkling ocean to our left, the picturesque mountains to our right—then as we come around a curve we see motionless cars stretching for miles and miles ahead of us.
“Shoot! Dang!” cried my husband. (Okay, so those weren’t his exact words. Hey, I want to keep this article rated PG-13!)
His knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, his jaw tensed, his muscles stiffened. “Look at this frakkin’ traffic.” (Note: He actually did use the word “frakkin’.”)
The sight of a traffic jam sent him immediately into a stress response. But I reminded him that we had plenty of time to get to our destination, we had plenty of gas, we had food and drink in the car (and neither of us was in need of a bathroom break!). So rather than fume about traffic I pulled out my phone, and played several episodes of a show that we both find hysterical (Cabin Pressure, a BBC...
“To know and not to do is not to know.” Chinese Proverb
John glanced quickly over his shoulder as he was driving me to my speaking venue and asked, “So you’re the speaker? What do you speak about?”
Ah! Did he know that this is a professional speaker’s favorite question?! “My body of work for the last 25 years has been the study of humor’s relationship to profitability and health. This afternoon I’m going to share how to use humor as a competitive business edge,” I explained, delighted to share my passion with him.
I could see John’s smiling eyes in the rearview mirror. “Did you know that humor is really, really good for you?” he asked in all sincerity. (Yes, I knew that!) John then went on to tell me a somewhat fuzzy version of Norman Cousins overcoming his life-threatening illness by watching funny movies. It was fun to hear someone else extol on the benefits of humor—and I was encouraged that the...
My alarm clock didn’t go off. Someone had already used up all the hot water before I could take my shower. We’d run out of coffee (gasp!). And to top it all off… my “fat pants” were feeling a bit snug—aaaaaauuuuggghhhhhh! This was shaping up to be a miserable morning. I heard my phone chime and my heart skipped a beat. Had I gotten my times mixed—was I late for work? I snatched my phone off the table and saw the text:
“I just wanted you remind you how amazing you are and how grateful I am that you’re in my life.”
My eyes teared up and my heart swelled. My sister, a busy physician three time zones away, had taken 30 seconds out of her busy schedule and had changed the course of my entire day.
Studies show that one way of increasing your happiness set-point is to practice being grateful. Studies vary slightly in their findings, but in a nutshell, writing down three things daily will raise your level of happiness more than...
As I began the interview for my podcast, I looked at his boyish grin and into his playful eyes. “My guest today is Chade-Meng Tan, and he’ll be sharing his insights on leading with levity.”
Meng got a puzzled look on his face and said, “Levity? Oh, I thought we’d be talking about levitation. I guess I’ll have to throw out my notes!”
“Uh-oh,” I thought. “This might be a disaster!”
Chade-Meng Tan then tipped back his head and laughed. Perhaps I should mention that Meng is known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow. “Leaders need to establish trust—and humor is one way of establishing trust,” he said.
Recently retired from Google (at age 45), Meng is an award-winning engineer, bestselling author, TED talk presenter (check out his TED talk where he shares his insight: "Compassion Is Fun”), and Co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace, which has been nominated seven times for the Noble Peace Prize....
“Treat your love life like it’s the ultimate romantic comedy; laugh a lot and kiss when the credits roll.”
- Gregory Godek, author 1001 Ways To Be Romantic
Stand-up comic Michael Elizondo sat in the doctor’s exam room waiting to be seen. When the doctor walked in, he was taken aback by her beauty. “Come here often?” he quipped. She laughed. And as they saying goes… they lived happily ever after.
When it comes to what we’re looking for in a mate, sense of humor ranks as a must-have by both sexes. That being said, men and women are looking for slightly different outcomes when it comes to sense of humor in a soul mate.
Women are looking for someone who will make them laugh. Men, on the other hand, are looking for someone to laugh at their jokes. According to numerous studies, guys who can make a woman laugh are seen as more attractive. And guys feel affirmed and appreciated by a woman who laughs at his jokes.
Humor and romance...
Many of you may be too young to recall the story of Norman Cousins. The 60-second version: When diagnosed with a degenerative disease (ankylosing spondylitis) he checked himself into a hotel across the street from his hospital, and with the support of his doctor and his friend, Allen Funt (Host of Candid Camera-are you too young to remember that, too???), he basically laughed himself into remission. He wrote a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness, and a new era-psychoneuroimmunology began.
Scientists began to study the healing power of humor and validate that there really is truth to the saying, "Laughter's the best medicine." Benefits to your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system, your musculoskeletal system, your immune system, your endocrine system, your nervous system, your digestive system-the evidence grows leaps and bounds daily! But here's my suggestion: Don't wait for further proof. Do a little self-experimentation. Incorporate humor into your daily...
Three-and-a-half million people rallied throughout France on January 12, 2015 to show unity and to show support for freedom of expression in the face of fanaticism and terrorism. What triggered the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office? Humor.
Humor?? Yes. Political satire. So are we now going to characterize humor as a weapon? Something to wield and fear? C’mon, we’re more mature than that. (Aren’t we??) (Perhaps we had better warn the editors of Mad Magazine to tread lightly. “What, me worry?”)
Humor, like any form of expression, has a huge range—from the silliness of Teletubbies for toddlers to the “dead seriousness” of sharp political satire. All forms of communication can be used for comfort and connection, and also for influence and intimidation. Yes, humor can be used as a weapon. But it’s not a weapon of mass destruction! It’s a weapon of mass embarrassment.
Satire is one of the more edgy—and often...