Change, uncertainty, the unknown. These words can cause one to stress out. Whether in your professional life or your personal life the fear of the unknown can create stress. This is when we need to keep our sense of humor most. It is easy to laugh when everything is cheery, but it is self-preserving to be able to laugh when the feelings of fear start to take effect. Abraham Lincoln understood the importance of laughter and coping when he said, “With the fearful strain that is one night and day; if I did not laugh I should die.” Laughter can help us cope with the tension of not knowing what is next. Maintaining a sense of humor can help put the situation in perspective. Next time you are starting to stress out about the unknown ask yourself or those around you that are starting to stress out “What is the worst that can happen?” and give as many outrageous or ridiculous answers as you can come up with. Pretty soon you will be laughing at the outlandish responses. Quite often it is our anticipation of the unknown that causes anxiety rather than the actual occurrence. Dr. David B Posen, author of “Staying Afloat When the Water Gets Rough: How to Live in a Rapidly Changing World” said, “Humor isn’t about changing what happens. It’s about changing our reaction to what happens. And those who use humor as a coping strategy are generally more resilient and adaptable when faced with change.”
Not only is April National Humor Month, but April is also Donate Life Month to bring about awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation. I have had the privilege to speak to many organ transplant support groups over the years about using humor as a coping mechanism while waiting for and recovering from an organ transplant. I’ve noticed that those that had the best sense of humor seemed to handle the stress of waiting for a transplant and recovering from their surgery. In these groups I would give examples of how Dori and I used humor while she was suffering from diabetic kidney disease and was on the waiting list for a kidney and pancreas transplant. Then I opened the workshop up for discussion and the members of the group would share their experiences they had while waiting and recovering from a transplants and the humor they found while going through these difficult times. One heart transplant recipient found out he had received a female heart. He said, “Not only am I grateful for my donor to give me her heart, but now as a result I am also in touch with my feminine side.” Then he joked, “I have to admit I get a little cranky once a month and crave chocolate.” Another heart transplant recipient joked that when she received her heart transplant there were complications and that the surgeon had to open her chest up 3 times in less than two days all the while she was still unconscious. When she finally came conscious the doctor walked in to see how she was doing and the first thing she said to the doctor was, “You opened me up 3 times before you were able to get the surgery right. The least you could have done when you opened my chest up that many times is throw in a free boob job.”
Dealing with health issues whatever they may be is always tough, but incorporating a little humor can help you cope and maybe even thrive while struggling with your illness.
With the exception of the 15th April is my favorite month. Two very important things in my life take place in April. It’s National Humor Month and also National Donate Life Month about the importance of Organ and Tissue Donation. Both of these causes play a very significant role in my life.
As a motivational Humorist I not only speak on the importance and benefits of humor in our lives, but since Dori’s Kidney/pancreas transplant, I often speak to inspires organ and tissue donation. To medical personnel in that field I speak from the patient’s point of view and how we used humor to deal with such a serious illness.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could combine the two! For instance, if a person s lacking a sense of humor, we could give him a transplant of a funny bone or a humorous.
“Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”
~ Yogi Berra
“Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs.”
~ Tim McCarver
“We.., it took me 17 years to get 3,00 hits in baseball, and I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”
~ Hank Aaron
“There are three types of baseball player: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.”
~ Tommy Lasorda
“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
~ Jackie Robinson
“In baseball, you can’t kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why this is the greatest game.”
“The secret is to have eight great players and four others who will cheer like crazy.”
~ Jerry Tarkanian
“We can’t win at home and we can’t win on the road. My problem as general manager is I can’t think of another place to play.”
~ Pat Williams
“Basketball is like war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up.”
~ Red Auerbach
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
~ Tim Duncan
“The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”
~ Bill Russell
“When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.”
~ George Raveling
“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team”
~ Scottie Pippen
Do you want to be a good speaker? Find a place to be bad. The best advice the old-time comedians gave me when I started doing standup comedy was “you need a place to be bad.” What they referring to when they said, “a place to be bad” was a safe environment to get “stage time.” George Burns and Gracie Allen, when booked in the Palace in New York, would take two weeks in the Catskills just to work on one or two routines, sometimes one or two jokes before they opened at the Palace. The only way to get comfortable speaking or comfortable with your material is to perform it in front of an audience. I can’t tell you how many times those old comedians would tell me, you have to tell a joke a hundred times before you make it yours. I think what they meant by saying tell the joke a hundred times before you made it yours, is that there are so many ways to tell the joke with vocal variety, pauses, inflections and so many different audiences that with each opportunity to tell the joke in front of the audience you learn different ways to tell the joke so that you know it will get the laugh every time.
In order to present effectively you must learn to be comfortable in front of the audience. You have to be able to control your nerves. The only real way to control your nervousness is to constantly get up in front of the audience you need to get that “stage time.”
If you are doing stand-up comedy the place to be bad is “Open Mike” nite, in speaking a place to be bad is “Toastmaster’s International.” to improve is comes down to practise, practise, practise.
I recommend practicing in front of a mirror but that is only to get you to learn your material so well you don’t have to think about what you are saying on the podium but how you are saying it. To really know if your material and delivery are good you need that audience interaction.
A place to be bad is a place to be good so that when you speak in front of that important audience where you need to make a good impression, you will be ready to give your best presentation because you put in the effort with your “stage time.”
When I was younger my parents were always nagging me to stand up straight. they wanted me to develop good habits and posture was one of them.
It is important to have good posture when you are speaking in front of an audience. When speaking you should stand up straight, shoulders back, chest out, stomach in, with your arms to your sides (unless gesturing). Good posture shows self-confidence. You will look better and more professional when you are speaking. Good posture provides a psychological effect on your message to the audience. When your shoulders are hunched over you appear less confident and sloppy or frumpy which the audience can look upon as unprofessional.
Don’t lean-to one side or sway back and forth this also can detract for you message.
When keeping your hands to your side resist the temptation of putting your hands in your pockets. Hands in pockets will look like you have bad posture and if you happen to have something in your pockets such as keys or change quite often without even realizing it your nervousness might show by playing with the keys or change making distracting noises. I have seen many speakers make this mistake. I suggest taking everything out of your pockets before you speak so that even if you put your hands in your pockets you wont shuffle anything.
It is important to note that good posture doesn’t mean you should stand so straight and still that you look stiff on the podium. Standing so rigid while speaking can also have a negative affect on the audience. The audience will interpret that as stage fright. when the audience perceives you as nervous they interpret part of that as you not having faith in your subject. Working on your posture while you are in front of an audience is not a good idea. constantly practice good posture so that when you are in front of an audience it will appear natural and you will make your parents proud.