Tuesday 15 April 2008

The first and foremost fundamental

"A Freudian slip is when you mean one thing and say your mother." I hope this made you laugh. Today is about laughter (and purpose of course). This is what is missing from the equation. In the battle of quality over quantity one needs to learn to laugh more and more. This is the only way we are going to be able to put the progress paradox into perspective.

I often get asked how I deal with change? Answer: laughter. For example, I remember many years ago, we had some new business cards made for a new IS, Intimate Solutions (part of the Dimension Dating group). So many people have had relationships in this company that when people start to change departments, and sometimes resign because a relationship went sour the only thing I could do was look for the humour in all of it. These new business cards did the trick. They were a big hit. When my eyes were blood shot and everyone around me told me to slow down I had to laugh. My stress levels often get out of hand and humour is the best solution. Eye S eye drops did the trick!

Humour always gets people thinking and feeling. Being aggressive only causes problems in the long run. Tense behaviour alienates people and slowly it causes a breakdown at the core. I have found that warmth and laughter are the best devices we have to deal with stress and change. Laughter is about connecting with people. I know business is not meant to be a joke, but perhaps if we all started telling more jokes our businesses would improve.

We are living in a cynical age. Family values are all mixed up and the youth think the purpose of life is to get rich quick. I hope you see how the first and foremost fundamental has to be a sense of humour. And I am sure you see how important it is in this day and age of quantitative living - we need more and more laughter. I am sure a good joke may jog people’s memories so that they start to think about what life is all about.

Here is the fisherman story again. I think everyone should read it over and over. I hope it makes you laugh, and at the very least, I hope it makes you smile. I know it will get you thinking – it always does for me.

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish. About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. "You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!" The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?" "Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer. "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!" "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again. The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said. "And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman. The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!" Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?" The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!" The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now?"

Posted by Ronnie Apteker