Look for Laughs in All the Right Places…

By Jeff Justice, CSP

There was a country-western song about looking for love in all the wrong places. There’s almost no bad place to look for laughs. The workplace is stressful and a great place to catch people doing something good — most of the time, managers look to catch them doing something wrong.

I spoke at a meeting and during the break I was getting a drink of water outside. One employee told me, “Doing a good job around this place is like wetting your pants in a dark suit. It gives you a nice, warm feeling, but nobody else seems to notice!”

I got it right this time, marrying Diane, who has a great sense of humor. We got married later in life, and she sent out wedding invitations under her mom’s name: “Ms. Patricia Byron Pfeifer finally announces….” On our honeymoon my curiosity got the best of me. I said to Diane, “Just tell me this: I know you’re 37, but is there any chance that I was your first?” And she said, “Well, you could have been — you look familiar.” I gotta love a lady like that!  

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.”  Learn More »

Unbutton Your Life…

By Jeff Justice, CSP

“I just can’t help it — that guy really knows how to push my buttons!” I think there really are people who enjoy pushing them, but I’m suggesting that since they are your buttons, you can disconnect them! Or, reroute your wiring so button-pushing turns something on inside you, rather than turning you off!

When actor Christopher Reeves had a riding accident with his horse, he became paralyzed instantly. Lying in the hospital’s emergency room, relying on machines to breathe for him — with doctors and nurses running frantically — he looked up and saw one whacked-out doctor doing crazy things, like out of a Marx Brothers movie.

Eventually, Reeves couldn’t contain himself any longer and he started laughing. The doctor pulled off his mask — it was Robin Williams! Have you heard this story? As college roommates, they had promised that they would be there for each other if anything ever happened. And as soon as Robin heard about the accident, he knew he had to get his friend laughing again. Learn More »

Sometimes It’s Not a Laughing Matter

By Jeff Justice, CSP

John F. Kennedy said, “There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third.” Actually, it’s possible to find humor in human folly, too. However, while it can be stress-reducing to laugh at ourselves, it’s stress-producing when we laugh at other people’s personal shortcomings.

For example, sarcasm reflects anger. The fastest way to ruin kids’ self esteem, especially as parents, is to poke fun at their shortcomings. You’ve seen people hide behind “humor” to say nasty things. When it backfires, they say innocently, “I didn’t mean anything by it — you know me, it’s just me.…”

Inappropriate sexual references or profanity can produce stress. I teach a course for people whose friends tell them they are the funniest in the world. They learn about comedy and being a comedian, and it culminates in standup performances at The Punchline® comedy club. What amazes me in these classes is when people bring in their “best jokes” that are racist and sexist. I ask them, “Do you have any clue what’s going on?” and they shrug. Learn More »

Learn to Be a Wise Ass…

By Jeff Justice, CSP

DonkeyBy this I mean a smart donkey! There’s a story about a farmer whose donkey fell into an abandoned dry well. Because it would cost too much to haul the donkey out, he decided to just fill it up with dirt, burying the animal and, at the same time, making sure such an event would never happen again.

But the donkey had other ideas about his fate. When the first shovelful of dirt hit his back, he shrugged his shoulders and shook it off. He did the same until a pile of fresh dirt lay at his feet — then he stepped up. Once the farmer realized what was happening was doing, he began shoveling with the goal of rescuing his donkey. It kept shrugging off the dirt and stepping up until it rose above its circumstances!

Another story about a donkey has really helped me. A farmer’s donkey did just about all the work on his farm. One day, a storm came up. The donkey was hit by a lightning bolt and died. A neighbor said, “That’s got to be the worst thing that has ever happened here.” The farmer said, “We’ll see….” Learn More »

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