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5 Ways to Add Humour to Your Life

Ravi Rajan is a program director working in India. He writes articles on management, creativity, and positive psychology techniques

Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.

Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.

Humour Is the Key to Happiness

Humour is one of the most important things in everyday life, chiefly because it is through humor that we can really see and appreciate some of the best and most beautiful things in life. And it is an important tool in the key to finding happiness.

That is why Aristotle, the famous Greek Philosopher, writer, and scientist of ancient times defined humor as a virtue that needs to be nurtured. In a short, often overlooked section of book IV of The Nicomachean Ethics.

Aristotle recognizes humor or eutrapelia as a moral virtue and a key to a happy life. He calls a humorous person a eutrapelos, 'a pleasant person with a happy cast of mind who gives his words and deeds a cheerful turn'.

Some of the ways he mentions to add humor to our lives are:

  • Perspective is Needed
  • Find your Funny Bone
  • Do Your Homework
  • Don’t be a Buffoon
  • Practice Makes Everyone Perfect

Perspective Is Needed

Getting perspective is one of the first steps to finding humor in everyday life. Often, we can’t see the funny side of things because we lose our perspective.

For example, you are going to an important meeting and at that very moment, a bird shits on you.

What will be your reaction?

You can either curse the bird, curse your fate, and get consumed in a frenzy of anger and frustration.

Or you can just say.

“Thanks, Birdy. It is said that bird shit brings money and luck. Hope the day turns out well.”

Putting things in proper perspective is needed to see the humor in everyday occurrences. Rather than assuming things are worse than they are, it’s good to minimize them and the impact they have on the day.

Find Your Funny Bone

One of the first things you have to recognize is that humor is a humongous topic.

Humour and the things we find funny are so wildly varied that it’s almost impossible to catalog and categorize all the types of humor. There’s the humor of surprise and of exaggeration and repetition. There’s the physical comedy of slapstick.

There’s the revolting humor inherent in second-hand embarrassment and schadenfreude. Humour can be found in unusual behavior, energy, satire, parody, mockery, observation and reflection, and basic absurdity.

But all said and done, Humour is also deeply personal in nature. What works for others might not work for you. This is why it’s important to focus on humor that you like. Humour only works if the one being humorous enjoys and appreciates it.

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And more importantly: it’s humor that reflects who you are, rather than an attempt to be someone else. Humour should speak to your authentic self, not some artificial identity.

Do Your Homework

It’s quite easy to find funny elements in daily topics of discussion. So, it’s never a waste to acquaint yourself with 14th Century Medieval Comedies or Kim Kardashian’s internet romps.

However, the key thing is to find humor in mundane things. So, exploring the funny in facts and seeing what other people don’t can be a witty thing to do. Broadening your horizons and keeping yourself alert to what is happening around and what is not is rather important too.

Treat humor like learning a language — you want to build up your vocabulary and learn the grammar and structure of humor, and the best way to do this is to study people who’re funny –especially people who are funny in the way you want to be funny.

Don’t be a Buffoon

Don’t be a Buffoon

Don’t Be a Buffoon

Let us return to Aristotle’s general account of the virtues.

Famously, he defines virtue as aiming to hit the mean between excess and deficiency. He defines moral virtue as:

“Any behavior is concerned with feelings and actions such as fear, confidence, desire, anger, pity, and pleasure and pain generally”.

As he further elaborates,

“But to have these feelings at the right times on the right grounds towards the right people for the right motive and in the right way is to feel them to an intermediate, that is to the best, degree; and this is the mark of virtue”.

Aristotle’s definition of Eutrapelia fits within these limits of excess and deficiency of humor with the mean being the best mark of virtue. Excess and deficiency in terms of humor are described by Aristotle by giving examples of the buffoon and boor types of people.

As per Aristotle, buffoons are those who go too far in being funny. He says,

“They are vulgar persons who exert themselves to be funny at all costs, and who are more set upon raising a laugh than upon decency of expression and consideration for their victim’s feelings”.

Boors on the other hand are opposite extremes as he says,

“Those who both refuse to say anything funny themselves and take exception to the jokes of other people are regarded as boorish and sour”.

Aristotle considered wittiness as the best form of humor that should lie in the mean between buffoonery and boorishness.

Thus, as much as it is important to be humorous, you need to know when not to lose control of your laughter, comments, and what not to joke about.

Making fun of weddings, funerals, deaths or even children is not quite acceptable. However, if you still want to go about having fun, then it’s always safe to make sure you don’t have anyone around who could feel offended by the remarks made. Healthy humor and good taste are the signs of a decent individual. Don’t go overboard and appear crass.

Practice Makes Everyone Perfect

Practice Makes Everyone Perfect

Practice Makes Everyone Perfect

The theory is all well and good, but if you’re trying to be funnier, then you have to go out and actually perform.

All the theory in the world doesn’t do you any good if you can’t actually deliver in person. And like any skill, it takes practice. humor is like music — it has a beat and a rhythm that you can only learn through deliberate performance. You’re only going to learn about timing and pacing and delivery by going out and making a point of trying to be funny.

As Aristotle emphasizes practice and says,

“You will fail multiple times. You may also appear like a fool at times. That is ok. That is all part of your personality building. Take it up with a pinch of salt and keep plodding.”

Just make sure that you’re not mindlessly imitating your humor idols — if you’re going to mimic them, study their best material and figure out how to make it work with your personality.

Your sense of humour is a good barometer of how you see yourself and others.

Your sense of humour is a good barometer of how you see yourself and others.

Concluding Thoughts

Your sense of humor is a good barometer of how you see yourself and others.

humor can be perfect in almost any type of situation. If you are angry with someone (or vice versa), often a little bit of humor can help to lighten the mood and help resolve the differences. If there is something sad, a little bit of humor can help you get out of that.

humor is one of the foremost things that help us to overcome the difficulties of life. humor allows us to take a step back and see the things that are important in life. Life is a lot easier and generally a lot happier when we see the humor in it.

As aptly observed by Reba McEntire.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”

Sources and References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ravi Rajan

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