I was traveling in a car with two teenage boys, other people too, but the teenagers were crammed in behind my seat. I could hear every word of their conversations and smiled. I remember those days and wondered how I could engage them now. Before I knew it we had gone from being people in a car to connected humans enjoying time together. What made the change? Someone said something funny and we all burst out laughing. Somehow we all got on weird topics and starting laughing at comment after comment and what might have been awkward dissolved into a bonding car ride.
Laughter is indeed the shortest distance between people. Hands down! Want to get a teenager to talk, make them laugh. Want to get a committee to agree on something, make everyone laugh without offending and you’re on the road to getting things done. Want to break the ice with someone new on the team, find something to make them laugh – usually self deprecating humor works best – and before you know it you both are working together really well.
There is a magic that laughter, humor, giggles, silliness and fun provides that nothing else can replace. The best teams I have been on, led or built were the ones that were able to laugh together and have fun. No one wants to invest time in something where they know they will be bored to death. Get them laughing and they will willingly show up every time. There is enough boring out there, try fun and silliness instead. Be the person who laughs at their jokes or makes them laugh, allow people to have frivolity and joy and they will reciprocate the favor.
Life is too short to be bored or for days to be dull. Laugh at yourself, laugh with people, make them laugh and watch the tension, conflict and sorrow dissipate. Don’t think you’re funny, find someone who is – a movie, a song, a comedy show, anything – and give up the control, laugh out loud and have fun. No one accomplishes much in this life without having a little fun.