• Finding Humor

When discussing several of the Habits in this blog I've suggested that we could gain more immediate insight by changing their names slightly. I've suggested that "Taking Responsible Risks" could be called "Seizing Opportunities" and I've suggested the Responding with Wonderment and Awe could be called "Searching for Wonderment and Awe". The same is true of the Habit of Finding Humor.

Given appropriate stimulus, we all "find" humor - when we are shown it. When a comedian, or the Funniest Home Video Show, presents us with an amusing situation we naturally laugh. However, some people go through life able not only able to laugh (as we all can) but also with the ability to find things to laugh about. They not only find humor, the actively look for humor in the every day, and this is really what this Habit is about.

Humor has many benefits. Apart from bring joy to our lives, it also stimulates the release of endorphines, lowers blood pressure, increases feelings of well being and decreases stress. These are probably some of the reasons why it is so closely related to success in life.

Edward de Bono describes the ability to find humor as one of the highest forms of intelligence. Far from being a passive act, it involves the ability to change perspective, usually rapidly, and in a way that allows the individual to see a situation in a light that is unusual, incongurus or, in short, humorus. It's not just seeing things from a different perspective, but looking at them from a perspective that allows themselves and others to see the humor. 

Professional comedians aren't just "funny people". The spend long periods of times crafting jokes, honing the perspectives they will present to their audiences, for maximum effect. Yes, the can be spontanious too, but the point is that they practice searching for the perspective that give the most humor. 

Why do some people find things funny, when others don't? Why is an "in joke" so funny to only a small group. Given the discription above the answer should be clear. We only find something amuzing when we can see the unusual perspective. If that perspective is unavailble to us, because we don't have some prior knowledge, then we can't find the humor in the situation. 

Another important aspect of this Habit is the ability to search for and find humor in our own actions. Successful people tend to be able to laugh at themselves. To reflect on their actions, or the situation they find themselves in, and look for the funny perspective. This doesn't mean they make light of what might be a serious situation, only that they use humor as a tool to help better deal with difficult situations.