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Laughter as a Success Factor Published: Sunday, July 14, 2002 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

There is a learning model to educate entrepreneurs. It is the Think, Talk, and Act model. The logic is that if people could be educated to think like an entrepreneur, talk like an entrepreneur, and finally act like an entrepreneur, pretty soon the individuals would actually be entrepreneurs. The same is true for lightening up…

Organizational success is directly related to the amount of laughter one hear in its meetings. There is a greater exchange of oxygen when people laugh. It is food for the cells of the human body. With this comes better circulation over the entire body, reduced blood pressure, improved sleep, and less stress. The laughing habit provides physical as well as emotional improvements. If you start or end your day with a laugh your whole outlook and perspective will change. Besides, laughter can be the shortest distance between two people. As an exercise of healthy self-management it is important to learn to lighten about ourselves. The capacity of laughing at oneself is an indication of emotional balance.

Organizations are full of stories that validate Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong it will. If we go ahead and psychoanalyze Murphy we will readily find that he is a pathological sadist. He doesn’t just show up, he seems to hold his unpleasant intrusions until the exact point when you are most expose and vulnerable.

When Murphy strikes, (apart of the prevention measures that always should be taken), one of the best things you can do is to enjoy the practical joke and laugh at yourself. It breaks the tension and creates recovery time. It relaxes you by getting you to breathe, loosen your muscles, and ease your mind. It also holds back your tendency to self-criticize. It puts people around you at ease and lets them know that your are aware of the mistake and recognize that it isn’t the end of the world. When acting light you give errors a balanced perspective and achieve the confidence of others that your are not thrown by it. But more important, it reflects your humility and humanness. Few people enjoy being around someone who projects a façade of perfection, until they see them actually make an error.

When you are able to laugh at your errors, people are more than willing to show compassion and laugh with you because it puts them in touch with their vulnerability.

As we have found in our own working teams on Monday evenings, laughter is a key success factor, which is very present at out meetings. It makes us amazingly productive, efficient, timely, and most of all funny. We laugh at ourselves, at our industry and at circumstances in general. Thus, everyone approaches our meetings (re-unions) with a positive and cheer attitude regarding that we can accomplish. The relationship built over years between members of our core team remain very strong to this day due to our collective and individual ability to lighten up, which is a great resource when looking for a network of support. Laughing is a kind of acting-out device.

Lightening up is closely related to truth telling. Court jesters were always the ones who told the king the truth because they were not bound by rigidity. They spoke truth in a way that made others enjoy it…


Copyright 2002 QBS, Inc.
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