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Sep
02

Wireless Benefits of Humor

Hopefully your humor is wireless. Wired humor sounds dangerous.

The real reason for “wireless” in the title is that wireless is a hot subject and I am checking into ways to attract more people to my website.

My favorite quote is: “Life is far too important to be taken seriously” – Oscar Wilde

I have written a half dozen books with humorous intentions but lately I seem to have lost my sense of humor. If you find it, let me know.

Humor, music, and writing are my main sources of inspiration and pleasure. They seem to go hand-in-hand for me. I can’t imagine writing without listening to music and without a smile on my face. Writing allows me to communicate and share everything I have learned and often leads to a deeper understanding on my part and hopefully the readers. Music expresses the depth of feelings better than any other media I know. Humor leads to creativity and problem solving capabilities. I think the barrier between people on difficult and highly opinionated issues can broken if you can get the people to laugh often by putting the problem into a bizarre context or taking the problem to a level of absurdity. An extreme contradiction can lead to insight as in the Oscar Wilde quote. Humor can provide a cognitive shift. Like music, humor is a gift from God and some theories propose it is an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience. A sense of humor requires empathy and the ability to put your self in the situation of others and see beyond your opinions and expertise and forgo the literal or analytical. Humor is a matter of taste and situation. I like the more cerebral humor of Woody Allen of Groucho Marx compared to the more physical (slap-stick) humor of the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis. I have been blessed to have worked with many funny (and creative) people during my years at Monsanto. The ones that immediately come to mind are Jim Jordan, Steve Sanders (Dec 2009 Control Talk column “You Know You’re a Geek if …” , and of course my coauthor and cohort Stan Weiner. These guys were extremely successful and ended up being presidents or Fellows. Most recently I have had the fun of interviewing Randy Reiss, Mike Brown, and Hunter Vegas for Control Talk columns, all very funny besides being the best technically and able to tell the real story. Randy, Mike, and Hunter were able to rattle off “Top 10 Lists” for their respective interviews like it was second nature to them. Take for example Mike’s Sept 2010 Control Talk “Top 10 Control Room KPIs That Will NOT Lead to Process Improvement”

For an outline of the many physical, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits of humor, check out the Benefits of Humor from the PBS series “This Emotional Life”