Laugh Often!

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Milton Berle

For many years, Reader’s Digest had a humor section called, “Laughter: the Best Medicine.” Whether intentional or not, there was wisdom in that title because studies have found that laughter actually has therapeutic value. Laughter can boost your immune system, improve blood pressure, stimulate your vital organs, and reduce pain! And those are just the physical benefits!


        Laughter also:

                     1.     Relieves stress

                     2.     Promotes relaxation

                     3.     Soothes tension

                     4.     Make it easier to cope with difficult situations

                     5.     Improves your mood

                     6.     Decreases depression and anxiety

                     7.     Increases happiness

                     8.     Attracts other people to you

                     9.     Strengthens relationships

                     10.Helps you live longer


              Wow, with those kinds of side effects, who wouldn’t want a good dose of laughter?

             In my life, no one mastered the art of laughter and lightheartedness like my mom. She would howl and cackle, at times to the point of my utter embarrassment! But, it was no secret that she was everyone’s favorite mom. Her likeability factor was simply off the charts. My mom was a blast to be around, and I was blessed to have her 24-7. People who laugh often make themselves—and others—feel good.

            Whether you’re sick, melancholy, stressed out, or as healthy as an ox, it’s a great idea to surround your life with humor. While you’re at it, learn to laugh at yourself by not taking yourself so seriously. Being able to admit that you goofed, and permitting yourself to laugh about it, is an incredible gift to give yourself.

            Here’s an idea: Anytime something annoying and frustrating occurs, try to stop yourself from reacting negatively and instead look for the humor in the situation. There is almost always something you can laugh or smile at.  Sure, you can be irritated—angry, even—that you slopped your spaghetti on your shirt at dinner or that you stepped in a dog deposit in your new shoes. But what does it accomplish other than putting you and everyone around you in a sour mood?

            Comedian Bill Cosby has said, “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” I heartily agree! Be the one to see the lighter side of a sticky situation, and to get a smile out of yourself and the people around you.  You’ll all end up feeling better—not just about the circumstances, but about life in general.  Laughter really is the best medicine!

How often do you laugh? What makes you laugh? What are ways you’ve learned to cultivate your sense of humor?  Please share your ideas and experiences with us; we’d love to hear from you.  And share us with your friends; we’re always growing our online community!


Demonstrate the Qualities Employers Value

  When I was young, jobs for high school and college students were plentiful. Whether it was restaurant, mill, or gas station work, most of my friends were able to pay at least part of their way through college. More recently, however, jobs for teens and young adults have become tougher to come by.

            One reason is that in this current job market, employers are preferring to hire older applicants over younger. (There are plenty of older ones available these days!) Employers say the reason is that older candidates tend to be more reliable and have a better work ethic.

            We hear it all the time. Many students are not leaving high school with the personal leadership foundation and marketable skills required to succeed in the real world.

            What does this mean for young people who want to get a job? 


            There ARE jobs out there for young people who are able to demonstrate the qualities that employers value. By knowing these qualities and focusing on applying them in your own life, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired and advance more rapidly. Here are the traits of a true workplace MVP in the eyes of employers:









Globally Aware    




Team player

Excellent Communicator


Good humored

            These characteristics were drilled into me from a young age. By my senior year in college, my two summer jobs consisted of grocery stock boy and a paper mill worker. Those jobs were simply a means to funding my college education rather than long-term career interests. Although I didn’t care much for the work, as long as I was reliable and my work was of high quality, my bosses were happy. It was valuable experience and enabled me to pay my way through college. A worthy cause!

            No one scores an A+ in all of these worthy qualities. Understanding this, how would you and the people who know you best rate you on these qualities? What are your strongest areas? Which need strengthening? Take the initiative to convert your weaknesses into strengths. You’ll be that much more valued by your employers and co-workers down the road.   


How do you stack up on the most valuable employee qualities? In which areas do you see the greatest room for improvement? Please share your stories, comments, questions, and insights with our online community. We’d love to hear from you. Forward us to a friend!

Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Imagine you see two movies (if you can find two movies worth seeing!).  The critic in you rates them each four out of five stars. Prior to going, you expected the first one to rate three stars and the second one a perfect five.

            Did you experience the same level of satisfaction from both movies?


            Interestingly, probably not!

            If you’re like most people, you left more satisfied after the first one. That’s because it turned out better than you expected. In contrast, you were probably a little disappointed with the second one because it wasn’t as great as you thought it would be.

            This illustration demonstrates the importance that expectations play in our lives. The greater the expectations, the greater the risk of disappointment. It also explains why it’s so important to keep your promises. After all, if someone promises you something, you’re entitled to expect they’ll deliver on their word.

            Some people habitually overpromise and underdeliver. They promise the moon because they aim to please. They say what people want to hear and feed off of their enthusiasm. However, all they do is create false hope when they can’t deliver on their promises. After a few of these incidents, people will figure them out as manipulators. Their credibility is lost forever.


            When we don’t keep a promise to someone, it messages that we don’t value or respect them. Rather, we valued something else more highly than our commitment. We communicate to others that they cannot count on us. This takes a heavy toll on our relationships—personally and professionally.


            If anything, it pays to underpromise and overdeliver. By doing so, you’ll pleasantly surprise others by exceeding their expectations. Here are some ideas for what that can look like:

·                            In your own mind, honestly appraise what you’re willing and realistically able to do for them.

  •  Allow yourself a “fudge factor” – estimate a slightly longer delivery time, slightly higher cost, slightly lower quality, etc.


  • If the project takes longer or costs more, you’ll still be able to come close to your original estimate. And if you’re able to deliver under your original estimate, you look like a hero!


            Do yourself and others a big favor. Either deliver on your promises or don’t make them in the first place. It’s a hallmark of integrity!


Have you observed how others have reacted when you failed to deliver on your promises? Why should this be a part of how we train our young people? Do you have any experiences with this lesson?  We’d love to hear from you!