Sunday, May 29, 2011


One of the most distinctive features of the human race is our ability to LAUGH. Invariably a good laugh as often as possible is recommended as the best therapy for a long, stress free and wholesome life. The essence of laughter lies in its uninhibited spontaneity and its accessibility to all, no matter what the circumstance or time. Laughter is usually reserved for comic happenings, a sharing of a joke or a wit and is the best stress buster if judiciously indulged in. It lightens the mind, frees the heart of anxieties perhaps momentarily and creates a bond between those around even if they are strangers. More than anything else, the strength of a good laugh lies in its positivity, its dynamism and its ability to help people share in the happiness of the moment by   the Loud Appreciation Usually Given Heartily.

Can one leverage the power of laughter? The answer to this question holds the key to the success of many people.  All of us spontaneously laugh when we see a comedy movie, read a good joke or enjoy the funny antics of a clown or some clownish behavior. However successful people leverage the power of laughter to enhance our self esteem, leadership skills and popularity. You too can enhance your popularity rating, improve your interpersonal skills and accelerate the pace of your growth and success by paying attention to the following 3 mantras related to your ability to LAUGH.

Learn to laugh at yourself. There will invariably be times when you become the butt of jokes unwittingly perhaps. One’s ability to laugh at one’s self determines how others view your maturity, your ability to take criticism and your temperament. Those who have perfected the art of laughing at themselves, occasionally use this art to poke fun at themselves and thereby endear themselves to the public at large. Gandhiji for example has drawn attention to his rather shabby handwriting and his ungainly features especially his ears and thereby making himself endearing to his audience. It was Pope John XIII who refereeing to his impoverished family background stated that there are 3 ways to poverty; farming, gambling and womanizing and then he went on to add with a chuckle, my father chose the most boring method of the three.

Ensure sarcasm as a means to evoke laugher is avoided. Sarcasm is actually making fun of others and thereby evoking laughter. The trouble with sarcasm is that its intent is suspect, the target is usually someone who cannot hit back and while there could a roar of laughter, there would be at least one individual who would be seething with rage for being picked upon. Sarcasm as a means to evoke a good laugh is fraught with the danger of others becoming wary of the sharp wit, the hurt to the individual outweighing the peals of laughter and an unspoken heaviness in the atmosphere despite them laughter.

Share, spread and sprinkle laughter wherever you go. There is a popular misconception that most of us are not naturally gifted to contributing to a good laugh. The simplest thing that one can do is heartily laugh at what one finds funny. If possible even compliment the person evoking the laughter. With a little daring you can even share a good joke or make a pertinent wisecrack and lighten up things. However avoid all tendencies to share smutty jokes, forward indiscriminately sms jokes and email jokes and watch out for jokes with racial, religious, cultural overtones. It is also rude to interrupt and tell the punch line of a joke told by another just because you have heard it. Nothing spreads as much cheer and evokes an uproarious laughter as telling a joke on yourself. You can be sure that if you are the butt of the joke you share, there will definitely be Loud Appreciation Usually Given Heartily.

Action Points
  1. Think of your three favorite jokes. Can you narrate this in an interesting way without forgetting the punch line?
  2. Think of three people who you have a healthy respect for. Is their ability to laugh or evoke a laugh one of their strengths that endear him/ her to you? Can you think of 2 people who are really fun to be with? Can you think of why they are so popular?

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