Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant, enjoying lunch with your family. Suddenly a person appears out of nowhere, drags a chair to your table, establishes himself there and starts taking morsels of food from your plate, without asking.
What will be your reaction?
The most natural reaction would be that you get upset or alarmed. You either ask the person to leave or call for the manager to get rid of the annoyance.
Now, let’s have the same scenario of you enjoying a blissful meal at a restaurant with your family, and the same person drags himself a chair and starts sharing your meal. But this time, the only difference is that the person is dressed up as a joker.
What will your reaction be this time?
Won’t you laugh? Won’t your family members laugh? Won’t you let the joker take a few bites from your plate without much sweat?
Nothing has changed but except for the fact that there’s humor that’s built in the context. The visual stimulus is different. The emotional association is different. What’s actually happening remains the same.
This is the power of humor.
In the book “The Secret” talks about a woman who had a terminal cancer. The doctors told her, she only had six months to live.
Instead of waiting for her death quietly on her bed, she decided that she would spend her last six months watching every possible TV comedy show she could get her hands on.
So for six months, when she was awake, she did nothing but laugh.
After six months when, instead of dying she was hail and hearty, the doctors diagnosed her again, and guess what?
All her cancer cells were gone. Yes, she no longer had cancer.
Did her incessant laughter cure her? The doctors accepted – it did.
I abundantly use humor during my workshops to keep the participants engaged. You laugh only when you are paying full attention to the humor element and if you are laughing, genuinely laughing, it means you are paying attention to what is being presented to you.
Have you ever read the “For Dummies” series? They are instructional books with lots of humor sprinkled throughout the pages. They are a rage. Just imagine, learning Java programing having a good laugh. There’s even a “Leadership for Dummies” in case you are interested.
The problem with conventional form of imparting education and instruction is that it’s very staid. This is one of the biggest reasons why students don’t like to study. Instructors and educationist have somehow, mistakenly, come to believe that the more serious and “stiff upper lip” the way of teaching is, the more important it becomes.
Well, the purpose of attending a workshop or an educational class is not to realize how important it is; the purpose is to learn something, to comprehend a new subject, and possibly change our life.
In order to understand something we have to do away with our preconceived notions. We have to unlearn. We have to pay full attention without getting bogged down. This can be easily achieved by introducing humor into the conversation.
Humor immediately loosens us up. We can laugh our heart out only when we lose our guards.
As mentioned above, in order to laugh, you need to understand the humor and in order to understand, you need to pay attention. What if, what you are learning is replete with funny comments and anecdotes?
The entire session becomes participative and interactive because you are fully engaged in what is being said. You don’t want to miss the humor now, do you?
So be ready for a good laugh when you come to attend one of my workshops. Leave your guards out at the door before entering. Let yourself loose. Immerse yourself in the life-altering experience, laughing all the way to a brighter future.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
– Charlie Chaplin