“Laugh at yourself, and the whole world will laugh at you too.”
— Swami Beyondananda
Dear Linked In Co-Hearts:
There’s a classic cartoon showing a clown on a psychiatrist’s couch. His complaint? “Nobody takes me seriously.”
That’s why humor — used appropriately — is so powerful. Because it isn’t taken seriously, it can penetrate barriers and defensiveness. It’s an excellent “people tenderizer” that leaves people smiling as well as laughing. Here are five ways the RIGHT use of humor can enhance your business and life:
- Playful Humor is Welcoming and Attractive. In study after study, one of the most desirable traits in a mate or partner is “sense of humor”. Why? Because the brightness and lightness of humor is naturally attractive, and people want to be around it. Workplaces that cultivate playfulness and convivial humor are more productive, and of course happier. Individual practitioners who have the “light” touch naturally attract more clients, and often get better results. An MD we know would often greet new patients by pulling his hand out from behind his back to reveal a huge rubber clown thumb. If the patient laughed or smiled, he knew humor would work with them. If not, he would go back to being a “serious doctor”.
- It Can Transform Adversity Into Creative Solutions. That’s the other reason a sense of humor is so desirable. When things feel stuck, when things aren’t flowing, humor can help reframe the situation and point toward creative solution. Because humor is about paradox, about putting things together that wouldn’t otherwise be related, it can take us out of the box of ordinary thinking to a true breakthrough solution. An artist in Austin, Texas came to his studio one day to find latex paint spilled on his floor. Initially he was upset, until he noticed that the paint dried to look like a necktie. That sparked a hugely successful business — making hilarious, colorful rubber ties.
- It Makes Your Message Memorable. Think of companies like Southwest Airlines or the old Volkswagen ads from back in the 60s. The self-effacing humor they used — even gently poking fun at their own product — attracted lots of positive attention, and made their message memorable, famous even. Do you think a “humorized” message about your enterprise might be catchy enough to “catch” the attention of new customers or clients? Unless you are an undertaker, probably so!
- It Makes Your Business — and Place of Business — User-Friendly. Have you ever walked into an office, a store, a business establishment, and something just made you smile? Maybe it was a funny sign, or a cartoon (Note: A therapist we know had a two-panel cartoon enlarged and laminated in his office. In the first panel, a young boy caught in a raging river is shouting to his dog, “Lassie, get help!” In the second panel, Lassie is on her back on a psychiatrist’s couch.)
- It Cultivates Happiness — From the Inside Out. According to Martha Beck, the average adult laughs 15 times a day; the average child, more than 400 times. Do the math … and then do the aftermath! And it’s not just laughing that helps. Just the simple act of turning the corners of your mouth into a smile (what Swami Beyondananda calls “the levitational pull”) can create a cascade of beneficial biochemistry that reduces stressful hormones and increases production of beneficial ones. As Marci Shimoff says in her book, Happy For No Reason, we don’t smile because we’re happy … we’re happy because we smile.
So, given the panoply of benefits, how can YOU use just the right kind of humor for fun and profit?
I’m glad I asked that question.
With more than 25 years experience as a purveyor of heart-opening and mind-expanding comedy (and a lifetime of making others laugh, advertently or not), I know some things about the “alchemy of humor” and how even those without a funny bone in their body (OK, one funny bone) can learn to humor themselves and others, and enhance their experience of life, work and business.
There are several ways I can help you do this, so here goes:
- A simple and inexpensive e-book package, Wake Up Laughing: An Insider’s Guide to Cosmic Comedy, and The Zen Cohens of Harry Cohen Baba that will help you appreciate some fundamental distinctions about humor that helps, and also offers some of the best and funniest “teaching” jokes on the planet. $25 Order here … in fact for just $4 more (a mere $29) you can have those e-books plus nearly 4 hours of Swami Beyondananda’s comedy to enjoy as part of the Fool Enchilada Special (offer good through Sunday, November 2nd) Order here.
- A Course In Laughter. Your chance to learn the secrets of cosmic comic consciousness in this self-paced course led by the man behind Swami Beyondananda, Steve Bhaerman. The Course includes two e-books (Wake Up Laughing, Zen Cohens), a Workbook, and hours of audio instruction on the ins and outs of using humor as a transformational tool. As part of the course, you will receive two additional audio files, The Fool’s Journey and Beyondananda and Beyond. $297 value, now just $97. (Download links sent via email). As an extra bonus for purchasing this course, you will be invited to a one-hour Cosmic Comedy Coaching Call to help you get even better at humoring yourself and others. (Call will be scheduled for a week night between November 15th and December 10th and will be recorded so you can listen later if you miss it.) Purchase here.
- Have the Swami appear at your holiday party (or any gathering) live or by Skype. Just respond to this note for details (see email and phone below).
And yes, I do have several hours reserved per month to do individual Cosmic Comic Coaching and consulting. (Reply to this message for more information.) Oh, and please feel free to pass this information on to colleagues. You can reach me, Steve Bhaerman, at [email protected] or by phone at (707) 888-7260. To quote my friend Caroline Casey, “co-operators are standing by.”