I’ve written a lot about love, laughter, and heartache on my blog, but not much about anger or fear. Those are hard emotions to write about. Most of us were taught not to let our anger show and that we should control it. But we’ve seen a few people in our life and on TV lose their cool. We’re told there’s no reason to be afraid. There’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s nothing under your bed. It seems to me that those two feelings/emotions have big hairy monsters in our minds associated with them. They can sometimes be more irrational than real because most of us are not being chased by sharks or big hungry bears, but when we feel these emotions, they feel so real! They can paralyze us. They cause stress. They cause health problems. They can make us think we are not good enough or not worthy of love and happiness.
Entrepreneurs and pretty much anyone who has a job and/or is a full time parent face these demons every day. It’s how we deal with it and how we treat others that counts. Compassion can alleviate fears. Empathy and encouragement can help people achieve things they never thought they could. Fear and Anger can make people get things done (e.g., dark ages, torture, and slaves who built the Egyptian pyramids) but it can make them sick and unhappy at the same time. It can cause a ripple effect on society, on their spouse, or their kids. If people are unhappy at work, it has been shown they are more abusive at home and don’t treat their co-workers well. I believe encouraging, loving environments create exponentially better outcomes. Is it because I’m a woman? I don’t think so. I think Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, many great business leaders, and Gandhi felt the same way. Maybe they don’t get as much media attention but go find the places in your city that are consistently voted the best places to work and you’ll see successful businesses with great leaders who care, trust, and believe in their employees.
We are all flawed humans, but the thing that keeps us connected is empathy and love. Without that connection and belief in each other, we might as well be on an island alone or dead. We can start businesses and scare people to do what we think they should, but the best will leave because in the modern world they have other choices than to be beaten & downtrodden and to lay bricks while being whipped. You’ll end up with “yes men/women” who are too afraid to tell you what’s really going on because they are scared for their livelihoods. But you’ll be surprised at the psychology of some of us humans because a lot of us don’t realize our genius. I’ll leave you with a quote from Jeffry Fry’s daily email he sent out July 16, 2011 that’s still in my inbox and printed & pasted to the pillar near my cube at work:
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” –Albert Einstein
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, jeffrey fry
, martin luther kind
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This post called About Laughter came to me while I was in the shower the other day. I guess I was thinking about About Sleep, About Writing and About Car Paint when the word “laughter” popped into my head and then a blog post started forming.
Laughter is the best medicine is an age old saying and according to: Laughter is the ‘best medicine for your heart on the University of Maryland Medical Center, Laughter is the Best Medicine on HelpGuide.org, and Laughter is the Best Medicine on Science Daily, laughter can help prevent heart attacks, help the terminally ill, create great working environments, make your employees think you are more effective, relieve stress & anxiety, etc. A good laugh probably activates some feel good stuff (e.g., endorphins) in your body.
I have some funny people in my family. My late grandfather had this mix of British and Sri Lankan humor that had a high occurrence of bathroom (or lack thereof) references. Us kids thought it was gross and funny at the same time. Even after he had a sextuple bypass at the Cleveland Clinic as well as on his death bed a decade or so later, he was still being funny and irreverent about life and religion. I never could figure out if he was agnostic or not because he would quote the Bible, know hymns by heart, and later in the day make some funny derogatory remark about God, religion and some of his hyper religious relatives. My mother has a similar sense of humor. She also makes up words and describes people in caricature-ally true and funny ways. She even has animal nicknames for all of us kids. Sri Lanka was a British colony for quite some time and had a strong British influence for decades afterward and if you’ve ever watched Monty Python or Blackadder you know what I mean.
I also work with some funny people and a day doesn’t usually go by without a laugh or two or three. Our office manager and I have a similar sense of humor, so she and I send some pretty funny emails around that others can’t keep up with sometimes. We find many of the same things funny and find ourselves laughing at the dumbest of things. We also sometimes cross some lines but fortunately we work in a laid back environment. I have to say that I have met at least one of my 2009 non-resolutions which is to laugh more. I feel like I have laughed a lot more this year than in past years.
When I interned in college, I worked with a great bunch of interns and we were all in stitches often. That’s where I met my friend who I went to the beach with back in June. He, I, and others in our group would come up with practical jokes, say the weirdest things and email about roller coasters and bowling and how they related to life and certain parts of life that most people aren’t comfortable talking about. I remember laughing so much that summer.
Laughter is so important and can help through even the toughest of times. We just can’t take things too seriously in life, start-ups, and margarita’s. Maybe one day I’ll feel comfortable enough to show more of my humor on this blog, but I’m just not sure people will get it and then I’ll feel more stupid than I sometimes do!
An entrepreneurial endeavor without fun, social time, and laughter is not a place I want to be. To me any good company culture has to include smiles, jokes, and many LOL’s.
Now go make someone laugh and if you find yourself laughing until your belly hurts, you can tell people you exercised and did some sit-ups/crunches too!
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, Just For Fun
| Tags: company culture
, laughter is the best medicine
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