We are a unique voice in a grand chorus, having a depth and range that is powerful enough to echo throughout infinity itself.
Three friends were discussing death, and one of them said, “If you were in your casket, and friends and family were gathered, what would you like to hear them say?”
The first said, “I would like to hear them say that I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man.”
The second said, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful teacher and a servant of God who made a huge difference in people’s lives.”
The third said, “I would like to hear them say, ‘Look, he’s moving!'”
Ancient Hindu scripture says, “There are these three things that are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third.” Laughter has been a survival tactic since we first walked upright. It linked us with other members of our tribe; it was a way of turning aside a tense situation and letting us know we’re supposed to be friends. Children laugh an average of 400 times a day, but adults only laugh about 15 times.
Not only is laughter good for our survival, it also helps us solve problems and think more creatively. Psychologist Alice M. Isen and colleagues conducted a study with a group of college students to determine the effect of humor on creativity. Given a box of matches, a box of tacks, and a candle, the college students were asked how they would affix the candle to a corkboard so that when the candle is lighted the wax would not drip onto the corkboard.
Before attempting to solve the problem, some group of students watched a comedy, while the other group of students watched a movie about math. The researchers found that 75% of the students who watched the comedy solved the problem correctly, whereas only 20% of students who watched the math film got it correct.
Laughter and Creativity
A man walking along a beach was lost in meditation.
Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, “Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.” The man said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want.”
The Lord said, “Your request is frivolous. Think of what it would take. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel! It will use up half a dozen natural resources. I can do it, but there must be something else more worthwhile.”
The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, “Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife and know how to make her truly happy.”
The Lord replied, “You want two lanes or four on that bridge?”
Creativity guru Roger von Oech explains that if you laugh at a problem, a product or a way of doing business, it frees the mind up from a lot of deeply embedded assumptions. “There is a close relationship between the “ha-ha” of humor and the “aha!” of discovery.” If you apply the same thinking used in humor – breaking set, putting ideas into different new contexts, seeking ambiguity, combining different ideas, asking unusual ‘what if’ questions, parodying the rules – to creativity, you’re likely to come up with some fresh approaches to what you’re working on.
A Few Tips on Adding Laughter to Your Life:
- Be willing to laugh at yourself and situations.
- Hang out with kids.
- Tell jokes, watch comedies.
- Play ball, blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk.
- Join a Laughter Club (www.laughteryoga.org).
This article was written by Kyle Tuttle, who regularly writes about helping students find the right psychology degree. He can be reached at tuttletr33 at gmail dot com.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)