Back in the early days of my career as an organizational therapist (at that time, I was a consultant), I considered laughter to be frivolous. I thought that employees and executives who wasted time on laughter were not serious about their work or companies—that they were lightweights to be avoided or ignored.
I valued highbrow, serious, slow-talking, tight-lipped executives. They seemed to be the heavyweights, the serious leaders.
Well, I changed my mind.
I found that those frivolous leaders, the laughing ones, led their companies to excellent financial results with little or no turnover of executives or employees. They often achieved an enviable rate of growth.
I also found that I looked forward to going to work in these companies. There was a relaxed atmosphere. People were cooperative, easy to deal with, and addressed problems constructively—especially those that contained elements of conflict. They did not take issues seriously enough to create a depressive atmosphere.
And we know that laughter is the cornerstone of happy marriages and happy people in general. When we are in emotional pain, we have two choices: to cry or laugh. They are two sides of the same coin, an initial reaction to fear and even pain.
Think about it. Analyze the next joke or situation you laugh at. Was it something that scared you? The impact of crying is different from the impact of laughing. Crying reduces one’s energy. After crying, we feel depleted. After laughing, we feel elated. Energy gets released in a positive growthful way.
So executives, parents, and couples that laugh are manifesting a culture that is positive, creative, and constructive. Those that make you cry, with or without tears, deplete your energy and are thus destructive in nature.
Laugh more, cry less, and you will live longer and better.
Written by Dr. Ichak Adizes