By Carla Rieger
Plato once said that “Life was meant to be lived as play.” When I ask audience members if they have a sense of humor, I usually get 25 per cent of the group raising their hands. Yet, when I tell a joke, most of the audience laughs. I’d like to expand your understanding of yourself and humor. Underneath the word PLAYFULNESS are more specific terms such as humor and fun. Humor is the ability to give laughter or be the instigator of playfulness. This is the more yang, or masculine principle. Fun, on the other hand, is the ability to receive laughter. This is the more yin, or feminine, principle of playfulness. A useful metaphor may be that humor is the plug, and fun is the socket. The ability to be playful with life is to have both. Some people are good at receiving laughter; they can laugh at jokes or irony, but rarely express humor themselves. These people have a good sense of fun. Conversely, some people use humor often to instill laughter in others, yet may not be able to laugh themselves. Several professional comedians fall into this category. They have a good sense of humor, but not a good sense of fun. The ideal is to have both.
What Are Your Attitudes Towards Humor?
Before building on your sense of humor, it is important to do a personal attitude inventory. Read each statement and think about how often this is true for you…
A) Always B) Mostly C) Don't Know D) Never
1. Life is hard, mostly a struggle. A B C D
2. When I work I have a lot of fun. A B C D
3. I find I worry a lot in life. A B C D
4. My mental health improves when I’m having fun. A B C D
5. Having fun seems to just get me into trouble as a presenter. A B C D
6. I laugh at myself when I make a mistake. A B C D
7. I feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities. A B C D
8. I take my responsibilities seriously, but myself lightly. A B C D
9. When I’m having fun, other people seem positively affected by me. A B C D
10. When I’m doing something that is just for fun, it feels like a waste of time. A B C D
11. I thrive on adventure. A B C D
12. I’m not playful when I work because there is too much to do. A B C D
13. I put off learning more about humor because I don’t have time. A B C D
14. I am grateful for my life, and make each moment count. A B C D
15. When I’m with a group of people socially it takes me a while to feel relaxed enough to be playful. A B C D
16. Using humor feels too risky. A B C D
17. I’m concerned people will think I’m stupid or foolish if I try to make them laugh. A B C D
18. People generally consider me a positive, upbeat person. A B C D
19. My audiences are usually poker-faced grouches who practice mirth control. A B C D
20. If I’m having fun at the front of the room, others feel uncomfortable. A B C D
21. The people I spend most of my time with are fun-loving people. A B C D
22. I look for what is wrong with a situation, before I look at what is right. A B C D
23. I have a good sense of humor; I can easily make people laugh. A B C D
24. When I was growing up, my family was humorously challenged. A B C D
25. I have a sunny disposition. A B C D
26. I laugh easily. A B C D
27. When things go wrong, I eventually find some angle on it that is funny. A B C D
28. Whenever I start to enjoy myself, I start to feel guilty. A B C D
29. I tend to see the glass as “half empty”. A B C D
30. My humor seems to hurt and/or offend people A B C D
31. I’m less self-conscious when I’m having fun. A B C D
32. I like to stay in control. Having fun often seems too chaotic. A B C D
33. I balance work and play in my life. A B C D
34. I make sure I take time to enjoy myself each day. A B C D
35. Most women aren’t very funny. A B C D
36. Women’s humor is just as valid as men’s. A B C D
Scoring 1. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 2. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 3. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 4. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 5. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 6. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 7. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 8. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 9. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 10. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 11. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 12. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 13. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 14. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 15. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 16. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 17. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 18. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 19. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 20. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 21. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 22. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 23. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 24. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 25. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 26. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 27. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 28. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 29. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 30. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 31. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 32. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 33. a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 34 a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 35. a.1 b.2 c.3 d.4 36 a.4 b.3 c.2 d.1 Total Score = ______________
If your score was 117 or more, your attitude towards fun is a model for the rest of us.
If your score was 90-116, you are human. We all carry some negativity. You are still on your way towards a more joyous life. This book can help enhance that.
If your score was 63-115, your attitudes often repel wonderful, fun moments. Practicing new behaviors outlined in here, will help you re-write your inner script around fun.
If your score was under 62, you definitely need some help. But that’s okay, there is lots of help available. And, each moment is an opportunity for making new choices.
Carla Rieger is an expert on creative people skills at work. If you want a motivational speaker, trainer, or leadership coach to help you stay on the creative edge, contact Carla Rieger.