Contrary to popular belief, a fine line and the bottom line do intersect in a powerful way when it’s done well.
In a survey of 737 CEOs, over 98% of them indicated they would much rather hire and work with someone who had a good sense of humor than somebody without one. I don’t know about you, but given the time we spend at that place called work, I want it to be enjoyable. When it is, I work harder and with more focus. The old adage that “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy” rings true. Not only is Jack, or for that matter Jill, dull; it is likely no one wants to work with them either.
Over the years I have addressed the topic “Humor Jest for the Health of It” in speeches and workshops. Research shows that laughter enhances respiration and circulation, while oxygenating the blood. Furthermore, research shows that having a good sense of humor is an excellent antidote for stress. Humor prevents hardening of the attitude and changes a “grim and bear it” to a “grin and share it” sensibility. You can add years to your life, and perhaps more important, life to your years. Norman Cousins wrote in his bestselling book, Anatomy of an Illness, that reengaging his sense of humor saved his life. He purported that s/he who laughs lasts. As he examined his road to recovery, he found that with humor, he could build resilience and as a result, gain more joy out of life even under the attack of the life threatening illness he endured.
Learning is also linked to humor; as it is a delightful and powerful way to capture and maintain the attention of students in a classroom or employees in a training class. Humor helps maintain and sustain attention while freeing up the tension that often is a barrier to retention of important information. As a matter of fact, research has shown that humor in the learning environment increases the retention levels of what the learner maintains. In addition it is shown that there is a definite connection between creativity and humor. Creativity is often jump started by humor and the energy it generates.
As the humorist Erma Bombeck once said, “When humor goes; there goes civilization.” It seems clear to me that she was saying that our world gets smaller when humor builds the bridges between nations and cultures.
So there you have it, if you take humor seriously, it could save the world, save your life, improve your business and at minimum make your life more enjoyable. I challenge you laugh often, laugh long, laugh loud and laugh with others at play, at home and at work.