You never know when lightening will strike. I got the inspiration one morning to write a Granpa Cratchet joke book to add to my children’s product line. So I opened up my Granpa scripts folder and found, can you believe it, over 600 one liners I had collected over the years. And so the process began of writing Because Granpa Says So That’s Why! Along the way I thought, “A lot of this is funny, but a lot of the stuff that happened to us in that thirty year journey was actually funnier than my jokes.” so I began to write about the events my team and I lived through while we wrote all those lines, and voila, a book was born.
I think we expect business life or spiritual truth to always be heavy, but most of the lessons I share in all the business books I’ve written happened while developing the Granpa Cratchet business. Part of the journey was very hard. I cried and laughed my thirty seven year journey in this business built around this crazy character. It’s so easy for us to put our nose to the grindstone and forget to laugh along the way. Actually, laughter can be very powerful and open doors of inspiration you need to keep going toward that lofty goal you have set for your life.
Here’s five tips that will help you keep laughing, learning and growing along the way:
Laugh Tip 1: Don’t Take Yourself So Serious
Somehow we’ve gotten the idea that we must be serious if people are to take us serious. OK, there’s a time and place, but laughter is the evidence of fun. If you stop having fun doing what you do, you need to find something new to do. Laughter and fun are the fuel of success.
The next time someone flips you off in traffic lean out the window and yell: If you don’t like the way I drive stay off the side walk.
Laugh Tip 2: Laugh At Yourself
Don’t get so stuffed shirt that you can’t laugh at your own mistakes. If you are willing to make mistakes, learn from them and laugh at them, and so will your team. A team will get far more energized from knowing they can try and make mistakes with the fun option rather than embarrassment. They might quash their greatest idea because they are afraid of a harsh reaction. Learning and growth, both personal and corporate, can be driven by fun, and laughter is the fuel of fun.
Why don’t CEO’s (fill in with whoever) eat pickles? They keep getting their head stuck in the jar!
Laugh Tip 3: Build Funny Memories
Laughter diffuses stress. There are some things that have happened to me that were so funny that are so sure to make me laugh out loud that I pull them out and replay them when I’m down. Once I was in a very important meeting and dropped my pencil. I leaned over in my chair to pick it up and squeezed out a little fart. The people behind me began to chuckle. So I decided to do it again. I leaned over and let loose a much bigger flipper. They began to laugh out loud really hard, and they couldn’t stop. The speaker stopped and looked over at them so I said to him, right in the middle of his presentation, “Will you make these people stop laughing. They’re distracting me.” At this point they laughed harder and the laughter spread through the whole room. We eventually go it under control and, to give the speaker credit, he laughed with us and then right on with his speech. I’ve never told those people behind me I did it on purpose. I’ve been laying in bed in the middle of the night, recalled this incident, and started laughing out loud.
I love my wife so much I’ve popped the question for forty years: when’s supper?
Laugh Tip 5: Prepare to Laugh
Always have a great joke in your back pocket that you can pull out and release the tension in the room. Even a moment or two of distraction can help you and your team take a fresh look at a cantankerous problem. Laughter opens doors, in both the world of ideas and sales.
I’m so sick. I sneezed to hard the other day my ears popped open, my back popped in, my hair popped off, my eye popped out and I had the best BM I’ve had in three months!
Laugh Tip 6: Exaggerate
If I’ve told you a hundred times, I’ve told you a million times – don’t exaggerate! A great way to keep things in perspective is to warp your perspective. Exaggerate your reactions or observations. Think The Thee Stooges, or a Warner Brothers Cartoon. A little exaggerated perspective is a great way to release stress. Stress is known to shut down the brain process and that means reducing creativity and insight. A good belly laugh releases endorphins and that releases brain power!
My driving is so bad they painted a yellow line on the side of the court house just so I wouldn’t try to pass on my way to traffic court on the twenty third floor.
Laugh Tip 7: Sarcasm
Sarcasm is a serious attitude topped by exaggeration, laced with, “this is funny, but I’ll act like it’s serious.” Sarcasm is the syrup on the pancake of a funny line. Learn to use sarcasm and you can master the art of humor. Ronald Reagan could defuse a scathing attack by cracking a funny.
I had a bag date once. He was so ugly I had to put a bag over his head to go out with him. The next week I went out with a double bagger. He was so ugly I had to put a bag on my head in case his blew off.
Humor can help you seriously improve your life and business. Humor will help you cope, heal, deal with the dull, shatter the scary, defuse tension, lighten the load, stop the anger, forget the frustration, distract from disappointment, and release joy.
Laugh and learn with Granpa Cratchet. It’s the best way to live life and it’s the best way to grow.
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