Benefits of Delegation

Those who successfully manage team members – each of whom has specific responsibilities for a different aspect of the team’s performance – prove they are ready for bigger and better challenges.

Delegation benefits both management and team members alike when you do it correctly and with empowerment.

Benefits for the delegator:
• Lessens personal workload, deadlines and pressure
• Leaves you more time to do the things you are best at – time to manage and lead, not just to do
• Frees your own time and energy for tasks that will provide larger benefits
• Makes people ready to handle work and decisions in your absence • Provides opportunity to assess persons’ ability to handle more responsibility and authority.
• You create an environment where projects are completed on time
• You develop people for future growth
• You build a strong team

Benefits for the delegates:
• Mental and intellectual growth by yourself and your team members
• Cultivates skills and capabilities, providing experience in completing tasks and making decisions
• Prepares team members on how to handle more authority and responsibility
• Team members use their strengths and work toward their potential – they feel more important and responsible
• Builds up enthusiasm and self-sufficiency
• Team leaders are freed up to better assist and lead.
• Gives greater job satisfaction

Benefits to the organisation:
• Improves decision-making and efficiency via increased participation and experience
• Increased skills, confidence and self-sufficiency build a stronger, more flexible and more co-operative organisation
• Displays the conviction people are important
• Provides an environment of collaboration, confidence and personal responsibility.

Teamwork pulls many years of experience and effort together, yet it is one of the least used tools of business. It is wise to utilise your personnel’s experience and brainpower and show people you value them as people as well as for their knowledge. Team members also feel more appreciated and valued when they are allowed to participate in a hands-on manner by using the skills they have learned.

When you train your team properly they will be there to take up the slack when you become ill, need to be away or when you are busy on other pressing matters and some work needs to be done urgently. There is no better or faster way of improving a business’s worth than by delegating to willing and able people as much as they can handle. For as each person’s capabilities grow, so will the business.

“In providing people the opportunity of proving their mettle, you are invoking one of the least understood tenets of effective leadership. It is good to uncover bright lights hidden under bushels – to set loose untried, latent, or repressed talent of anyone “waiting for a break”. Build business around people, not people around business.” G. Kingsley Ward

Believe in yourself – You are a Winner!

Don’t be intimidated by others who have been successful. Just concentrate on your own achievements. Keep working toward your own success. Know that whatever you think of is in your power to achieve. It will take a plan and action, but you can achieve it.

You are a winner if you are motivated and creative. Motivated people are creative people and this winning combination produces productivity in business and in life. It builds a spirit of excellence into your being which allows your gifts and talents to flow without ceasing.

The following is a powerful story which illustrates the need to act: During the sinking of the Titanic, two other ships played a significant role in the drama of the Titanic disaster: the Californian and the Carpathia. The captains of these two ships reflect some of the best and worst characteristics of the actions of a leader.

The Californian had a reserved and cautious captain. When he heard about the ice in his path he slowed down and then stopped and waited for daylight. The usually stormy North Atlantic was amazingly calm that night. The tranquillity of the sea must have also overcome the crew of the Californian. Her bridge-watch saw the Titanic approaching just a few miles away; then saw her stop dead in the water. At first they thought she was taking the same precautions for the ice which they had taken. The captain told the watch to wake him if there were any developments. Then the Titanic fired a rocket, which is always a distress signal at sea. When awakened the captain reasoned that she must be signalling another company ship which they could not see. The wireless operator was asleep and they did not even wake him to see if he could contact the Titanic. Then more rockets were fired and the Californian’s crew continued to humour themselves with the same explanation. They actually watched the Titanic go down, telling each other as her lights dimmed and slipped beneath the sea that she was sailing away! Had they responded to the first distress signal the Californian may well have been able to save all of those who perished.

The other ship in the fateful drama of the Titanic was the Carpathia, captained by Arthur H. Rostron. He was known for his ability to make quick decisions and to energise those who served under him. At 12.35am the Carpathia’s wireless operator burst into Captain Rostron’s quarters to report that the Titanic had struck an iceberg. Rostron reacted in character – he immediately ordered the Carpathia to turn around and accelerate to full speed in the direction of the Titanic; then he asked the wireless operator if he were sure of the message; a remarkable contrast to the reaction of the California crew!

Captain Rostron then immediately organised every part of the crew and ship to be ready for survivors and wounded. He was heading at full speed into the same ice field that had stopped the Titanic. He did not reduce speed but took every measure to reduce the risk to his own ship and passengers by adding a man to the crow’s nest, two more men on the bow, one on each wing of the bridge, and he stayed there himself to watch for icebergs.

At 2.45am they saw the first iceberg. They steered around it and kept going. During the next hour they dodged five more. At 4.00am they reached the Titanic’s last called position and began picking up lifeboats. The difficult rescue of the Titanic’s survivors was carried out with such order that peace reigned over all.

The Californian’s captain and crew, as close as they were to the Titanic, found reasons to procrastinate about the fate of the Titanic and in so doing, many lives were lost.

The immediate action of the Carpathia’s captain and crew, however, even though they were so much further away from the disaster, saved many lives. They are a demonstration of “action without procrastination”. They did not sleep as others did – they were prepared and took immediate action.

In Conclusion – To reach your FULL POTENTIAL, accept the CHALLENGE with ENTHUSIASM. COMMIT yourself to the task ahead and take ACTION and not to procrastinate. INSPIRE yourself and those around you with your COURAGE and the way you handle the PRESSURES that inevitably appear. Never forget you are ACCOUNTABLE for your actions and that you must take RESPONSIBILITY for your DECISIONS. When you have successfully achieved all the above you will have SUCCESS UNLIMITED!

Beliefs – Limiting or Empowering

The belief system we have created ultimately determines what we value, how we live and the levels of success we achieve in our lives. Our beliefs act as filters and control everything we think, our reactions and our emotions. Whether we like it or not, our beliefs run our lives. As we grow older we tend to reinforce what we believe by surrounding ourselves with people who share our beliefs.

Our present beliefs will determine how much of our potential we will be able to tap into. That is why it is wise to examine some of our beliefs in detail and identify which beliefs we hold are limiting our progress. If we uncovered our beliefs, many of us would be surprised to see them overflowing with negativity and shortcomings. Limiting beliefs are beliefs that cause us to act and react in ways which limit our potential. We can do or be anything if we will let go of our limiting beliefs.

No belief is right or wrong – it is either empowering or limiting; however, our beliefs become habits and we all know how difficult it is to change a habit. No matter how negative, it is easier to hang on to them than to change. Once the limiting beliefs and habits have been identified and acknowledged it will be easier to change a particular behaviour pattern. Knowing this should stimulate us to be the master of our thoughts and beliefs and not a servant to them. Unfortunately, sometimes emotions get in the way and they are a major cause of negative beliefs.

Limiting beliefs can have devastating effects on our lives such as creating poverty, preventing us from getting the job we want and keeping us lonely and feeling unloved. Millions of people believe they are in poverty or have failed because of some strange force over which they believe they have no control. Because of such negative beliefs they have actually created their own misfortunes. The results of a negative, or limited, belief system which says that “success is unattainable and if it’s bad it will happen to me”, causes weakness of spirit and physical illness. Such people do not know how to look after themselves properly and tend to be insular, easily falling into the trap of feeling sorry for themselves. They don’t know how to be confident and affirmative in their dealings with others and because they do all the wrong things, they eventually put themselves in a position where it has a physical effect on their body. All these things happen because of a lack of knowledge. Such beliefs can be changed by determining strongly to substitute a positive belief system for the self-limiting system they have been living by.

We always live the life we believe. If your limiting belief says you are a failure, then you will fail. If, however, you believe you are a successful person, you will succeed. This is not being egotistical. Believing in yourself is to know and accept your weaknesses as well as your strengths and to be prepared to overcome your weaknesses and develop and use your strengths. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “A man is but the product of his thought, what he thinks he becomes.”

I am sure you have heard the story of the four-minute mile. For years people believed that it was impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes until Roger Bannister proved them wrong in 1954. Within one year, 37 runners broke the belief barrier; and the year after that, 300 more runners did the same thing.

Why is it that people put themselves through the pain and distress of negative and limiting beliefs? It is not necessary to do so and when they realise this it becomes so much easier to turn things around and free themselves to enjoy an empowering life. You owe it to yourself to think only of unlimited and empowering prosperity because abundance is reality.

Commit to attaining mastery of your thoughts by stepping back for a moment and looking at yourself, your actions and your state of mind. Begin verbalising the thoughts that you want to experience. Retrain your brain to focus on thoughts that feel empowering, joyful, gentle and loving. When you incorporate this new thinking habit into your life, positive experiences will become evident every day. There are no limits except what you impose on yourself. Prosperity doesn’t start with someone or something outside you. You success or failure begins and ends with you!

Beliefs That Have Changed The World

The power of belief is the most impressive part of man and the most highly developed; the source of greatest energy. Man is unique because of his ability to believe and often, those beliefs have changed the course of humanity.

All the people who follow challenged the existing beliefs and accepted standards of their day and many made enemies among the influential people of their time. The strengths of their beliefs and ideals, however, gave these men sufficient fortitude to endure and overcome their many hardships and difficulties.

Socrates (Greek Philosopher, lived 469-399BC)

He questioned conventional assumptions about morality, justice and other social concepts and he faced a death sentence with equanimity because of his unshakable belief in his own philosophy of life. His philosophies were taught around the world for the next 2,000 years.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo was born into a poor but noble family in Italy and at university was fascinated by a wide range of subjects. He became a mathematics professor in Pisa but his beliefs against and strident criticisms of Aristotle’s teachings left him isolated by his contemporaries. During the next 18 years he pursued his interests in astronomy and mechanics and made important discoveries about gravity, inertia and the laws of motion. It was in astronomy, however, that Galileo became famous. He came to the same belief as Copernicus that the sun was the centre of the universe and not the earth. Such beliefs brought about the opposition of the church leaders of the day and his teachings were forbidden. In 1623 a new pope allowed him to publish his works on astronomy; however, after publication Galileo was arrested and imprisoned for several months. He was convicted of heresy and made to recant his beliefs. He spent the remaining years of his life under house arrest but despite censure of his works by the church, he continued to believe in himself and make discoveries until his death in 1642.

Christopher Columbus

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, and as a young man went to sea. He became an experienced sailor and moved to Lisbon in Portugal to try and gain support for a radical new journey he was planning. He visited the courts of the kings and queens of Europe asking for help and money. Finally, after many refusals, Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Spain, agreed to fund his voyage into unknown territory. At that time the Europeans wanted to find sea routes to the East and Columbus believed he could find a route to the Far East by sailing west. He spent ten years trying to get people to agree that it could be done. He believed the world to be round, although he thought it was much smaller than it was, and he firmly held on to that belief despite opposition and the many rejections he received over the years. Finally he was able to sail west and he found what is now known as the West Indies; although he always remained convinced he had come to an area of the Far East. Columbus made four journeys across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. His belief had fuelled his determination until it became a reality and in doing so he opened up new lands for exploration.

Albert Einstein

Born in 1879 in Germany, Albert Einstein was to become the most celebrated scientist of the twentieth century and his theories were to lay the framework for new branches of physics. He taught himself maths but did not do well at school because he had no interest in other subjects. On leaving school he became a maths teacher to support him in his studies of maths and physics. Einstein’s belief that light doesn’t just travel as waves but as electric currents (his Quantum Theory) was not immediately accepted, neither was his special Theory of Relativity. Like all new theories, it took time for others to come around to agree with his beliefs. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

Martin Luther King

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1929, Martin Luther King was one of America’s most influential civil rights activists because he believed that all people were born equal. His passionate, but non-violent protests helped to raise awareness of racial inequalities in America, leading to significant political change. He captured the imagination and hearts of people, both black and white. A turning point in his life was the Montgomery Bus Boycott which he helped to promote. His boycott also became a turning point in the civil rights struggle – attracting national press for his cause. The boycott, caused by a black lady refusing to give up her seat on a bus although it was in a white only area, was won after lasting for several months, when it was finally brought to the Supreme Court who declared the segregation as unconstitutional. Martin Luther King offered a vision of hope to an oppressed people although he remained committed to the ideals of non-violent struggle. In 1963 Martin Luther King was named as Man of the Year by Time magazine and the following year was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work toward social justice. Unfortunately he made many enemies along the way and on 4 April, 1968 he was assassinated. He remains symbolic of America’s fight for justice and racial equality.

All these people, and the many more who have not been mentioned, had a powerful and positive belief in themselves and the world around them and refused to be intimidated by those who refused to expand their minds to something new.

A Final Word

The power of belief is in action within you continuously and is constantly being manifested as quickly as you can think. If you find your current results displeasing today, you only need to put the power of positive belief to work for you and change those beliefs from your past which made today your reality, to empowering achievement oriented beliefs and you will be well on your way to success.

When your beliefs are positive it is important to take a stand for what you believe in. It is important, also, to be proactive about what sparks your vision, fuels your choices and instils your ‘can do’ spirit with a sense of purpose, meaning and focus. When you control and use your belief system, not only for your own success but also for the support and uplifting of those around you, you will find yourself well rewarded.

Belief System

Belief is the power of faith and “Faith is the pillar of strength that allows men to achieve the impossible, reach the unattainable and solve the unfathomable.” (Skip Ross)

The distinction between a fact and our attitude towards that fact is our belief system. It is the single most important influence that we have and our beliefs are so remarkably powerful that they control the direction and destiny of our lives. In fact, there is no other more powerful directing force in human behavior than belief. It is the most powerful state of mind because our belief system defines and shapes who we are and determines our potential.

A belief system is a set of thoughts, rules, attitudes, expectations and behaviours that are embedded in our mind. Our beliefs determine and guide our thoughts, our actions, our goals and even our relationships with other people.

Awareness

Awareness is the basis for excellence in every area of your life. The importance of awareness lies in the fact that it is the foundation for the self-image you need to have if you are to be effective in reaching your goals. To excel, you must be aware of the elements that are needed to contribute to your success.

These elements, or principles, begin with a vision of what you want to accomplish followed by goal-setting to help you achieve your vision. Then there are the elements of self-control, discipline and perseverance, all of which are needed to reach your goals. Other elements include communication with others of your objectives and an investment in time for the project.

To become aware needs an open mind. Open-minded people are free from prejudice and receptive to new ideas. Those people with a closed mind reject the ideas, beliefs, opinions or influence of others.

Albert Wiggam, a Psychologist said, “The line between ‘open-mindedness’ and ‘tightmindedness’ is sharp and clean cut – and the only people who have ever contributed anything to human progress have been the ‘open-minded’ who have been able to see there is a better way.”

The difference between ‘open-minded’ and ‘closed-minded’ people is their choice of thoughts. To be successful you must choose the thoughts and actions that will lead to success rather than failure. You must believe in yourself and your potential and focus your mind on what you want to accomplish. This is important because, if you want to create the right conditions for happiness and success you must learn to spend more time in positive places with people who have positive thoughts and who believe in putting their positive thoughts into action.

Spend as little time as possible with people who like to express negative thoughts. They say “no” too often or “it can’t be done” and, if you associate with them for a long period you may come to agree with them. Negative thinking is weak and unable to create anything of value.

When you believe in the worst, you feel depressed. But, when you believe in the best, it gives you a feeling of new life and enthusiasm. You will be rewarded with an awareness of ‘more good’ all around you. Believing in the best will also increase your power and ability to move ahead; it will add to your happiness and make your success more certain. No one can make you happy and no one can make you unhappy unless you allow them to do so. It is all a matter of viewpoint and understanding. You have a wonderful gift of choice.

If you wish to become “The master of your fate and the captain of your soul”, it will be helpful to understand the importance of your mind and the effect it has on your attitude to life.

An Open and A Closed Mind

“Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open.” James Dewar

To create the life that you want, growing as a human being and regularly experiencing a prosperous lifestyle, you will need a mind open to other people, possibilities, ideas and opinions around you. When you have an open mind you allow yourself to attract and follow up on opportunities. When you work with the power of the conscious and subconscious mind you will attract opportunities that will bring you what you need; for what you radiate you will constantly attract. When you are prepared to become creative you will create a vibrant life, while eliminating negative and unwanted situations.

Most people think they already listen to others with an open mind, merely by paying close attention to what is being said. In fact, keeping an open mind is not easy to do if you are happy with the way you are doing things and do not see the point of changing. We all have moments, however, when we do listen with an open heart and mind, for example, we are more open to listening to someone we trust. An open mind is an understanding mind which will develop a genuine appreciation for people. When you take the trouble to think of other people’s feelings, their viewpoints and their desires you are saying “people are important”.

An open mind will accept other people unconditionally. It requires the letting go of likes and dislikes and other similar emotions. When you do this you discipline your emotions and you allow people to be who they are with all their idiosyncrasies, differences and irritations.

When you are communicating with others there can often be misunderstandings and these can lead to failure in your relations with others. We expect others to react and respond and come to the same conclusions we do over a given set of facts. Unfortunately, no one reacts to things as they are but to their own mental images; they are responding appropriately to what they see as the truth about the situation. An open-minded person will ask themselves “How does this appear to that person?” or, “How does that person interpret the situation?” and they will try to understand why someone might act differently to the way they expected.

Many small business owners have faced extinction because they thought they knew it all and were not prepared to have an open mind and listen to others who had been down that path before them. When you are open minded you are always prepared to be teachable, to learn something new and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. An open mind is the doorway to expansion of ideas.

When you open your mind you are not compromising your ethics and values. It just means that you begin to practice a greater sense of awareness and in doing so you are prepared to look at your world a little differently. Test opportunities that are presented to you and examine where the message is coming from. It may be from a friend, a neutral party or from a source about which you are sceptical. If you are not sure, instruct your subconscious mind to guide you by simply saying, “I am making the right decision.” Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

A Closed Mind

“A closed mind is like a closed book; just a block of wood. – Chinese Proverb.

We have all been given the power to develop ideas and exercise free will. Unfortunately too often those ideas die as a seed and people use their free will to close their mind to the tremendous opportunities surrounding them. This stubbornness prevents them from achieving the goals that they want for themselves and so the opportunity for success is greatly decreased.

In our formative years we grow and develop egos that maintain very particular ideas about ourselves in relation to the world around us. Your ego is your conscious mind, that which controls your behaviour and tries to give meaning to your external, material reality. It is powerful and can control your life if you allow it. Your external reality is a direct result of your mental and spiritual self so if the latter two are not where you want them to be your external and material self will suffer. The ego cannot improve the quality of your mental and spiritual life.

When you close your mind you essentially become stubborn and become a victim of the ego mind which says, “My attitude is right despite what anyone else has to say”. The ego mind, although it thinks it knows better than anyone else, is never prepared to leave its comfort zone and so is not open to new ideas nor will it welcome others into its world. This kind of attitude shuts you off from the process of life and nature which is about growing and experiencing new possibilities. Think about how many times you were resistant to trying something new only to eventually give in and discover that you really enjoyed the process.

Limitations are the jail of the mind so if you can throw off the shackles and open your mind to new and exciting ideas, your possibilities become limitless. When the mind is shackled and limited it affects every part of your life, for example, work presentations can lack innovation and impact and even every-day conversations are less productive and rewarding. Conversations often become defensive as the mind closes off to what is being said by others.

Society today gives out a negative message that everyone is out to ‘take you down’ and that if it ‘looks to good to be true, it probably is’. This causes many to close their minds to everything beyond their current knowledge. An open mind is a mind that is aware that the current knowledge is not all there is to know and will eagerly investigate possibilities.

When you have a closed mind to new and exciting possibilities you essentially tell yourself that you are not willing to go the extra mile – that you are not willing to grow and experience new things. You have now switched off the power within you and there can be no change and no progress in life and things will never improve. Such people become very introspective and weak. The old recordings of the past can, however, be changed. If you choose, you can wipe the old record clean, put on a new record and make a decision to activate the positive thoughts which lead to a relaxed and open view of the world. Remember, the past explains how you got to the present but where you go from here is your responsibility.

In his book A Vision of Power & Glory, John Kehoe gives a Zen parable about two monks who are on a journey together when they come to a river. By the river there is a beautiful woman. The woman asks them, “Please will one of you monks carry me across the river? The river is too wide and the current too swift.”

The two monks look at one another, because they have taken a sacred vow to not so much as even touch a woman. Then, abruptly, the older monk picks up the woman, carries her across the river and puts her down on the other side. They continue on their journey.

The younger monk is flabbergasted. He can’t believe it. An hour goes by and not a word is spoken between them. Two hours. Three hours. And finally, after four hours, he turns to the older monk and blurts out, “How could you have done that? How could you have carried that woman?” “Oh?” responds his companion, “Are you still carrying her? I put her down four hours ago.”

John Kehoe goes on to say, “How much are we still carrying around inside us that should have been put down a long time ago? Disappointments; regrets; failures; grudges. How much junk are we carrying around inside us and how long are we going to carry it? All our life?”

If you want to change and improve your attitude to life then it is imperative that you keep an open mind. That is not to say you will be taken in by every ‘fly-by-night’ scheme that may be put before you. An open mind is curious and investigative and examines new things. Your creative power system uses your conscious and subconscious mind to attract, explore and check out new opportunities so that you can begin achieving your goals and creating the life you want. Don’t limit yourself; learn how to attract new possibilities and make the right decisions by developing the power of your mind and heart.

If you move in your community with an open mind and an open heart you can learn to accept others. You don’t have to agree with them, but accept who they are and feel free to express yourself.

I remember a friend of ours who has passed on now, who was well-known and well-liked in community affairs. He met many people as he moved around and sometimes in a gathering he would be heard to say, “There’s a fellow over there I met recently and I didn’t like him; I must go over and get to know him better”. He would always come away with a new-found friend; now that’s an open mind and open heart.

Act Now

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows”. (Quote: Michael Landon)

We tend to live our lives subconsciously believing that we will live forever; there is generally always an expectation that we will have a tomorrow. An ideal world perspective is to live one day at a time although many believe that this is not a practical way of living. However, an appreciation for each day leads to an enhanced, healthy and enriched life. This does not mean that you ignore the future; it is always wise to have a vision and aim for your goals. Preparation for the future should always be done now; today is the only day you can take action for tomorrow.

Procrastination is putting off to the future something you know you should be doing now. We all know the adage, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today” and as a wise man said, “If you want to make an easy job hard, just keep putting it off”. Realise that what you do or don’t do today will affect your tomorrow, so make the most of today for a better tomorrow. Concentrate on what is now, not what was or what might be. Today, the present time you are in right now, needs you. You have a purpose for this day in time and a responsibility to those around you to live in the now while giving positive thought for the future. Exercise the full power of your human will and become mindful of every action that you undertake. Constantly remind yourself to pay close attention to your actions, to relish every moment and everything you do.

Any astute businessman or Entrepreneur knows that unique opportunities will present themselves at any time and they know they must be ready to act now or they will lose that opportunity to someone else. By using each day to gain knowledge and by focusing on their area of interest they are always in readiness to make decisions and take action ‘now’ and so have a great advantage over their competitors. It is their ability to live in the present moment and focus on what needs to be accomplished, that determines where they will be tomorrow and how much better that tomorrow will be.

So, when you make a decision to do a task – take action and do it now! Don’t abuse time. So many things can change between today and tomorrow and more urgent tasks may crop up. The time lost now can never be redeemed.

As James Rohn says, “Life is not a practice session…we must challenge ourselves right now with a new level of thinking and drive ourselves toward a new level of achievement”. “That means making a commitment now to put into action all that we currently are, wherever we currently are and with whatever we currently have.” Read books now that will help you in your future, associate with people who have stimulating ideas, convert your dreams into goals and plans. Making time for all that now will harness your future for success.

You have the ability to achieve everything you want if you will just begin the process now.

A Sense of Humour – What a Quality

A Sense of Humour from Cradle to Grave

A sense of humour is a natural, inherent, part of our lives; we learn to smile and then laugh within months of our birth and as we grow into childhood we tend to laugh many times a day. Unfortunately, as we move into adulthood we smile and laugh a lot less; life has become too serious. Perhaps it’s a good idea to emulate the children as it seems they are only ones who still enjoy a sense of humour to the fullest extent.

In years gone by, socialising with friends was something to look forward to and it happened often. Society has changed and the majority of people don’t interact with others as much as they used to. Television, the computer and other ‘instant’ entertainments mean people don’t have to leave home to be entertained. And when everyone in the home has to work long hours, there is little time to go out and enjoy socialising with friends.

The workplace does not fare much better due to pressures to produce more in less time. A sense of humour in such an environment can be eroded very quickly.

Yet, the powers of humour and laughter are numerous. They entertain us and make us feel good, they help us cope better with life’s challenges and they make life more enjoyable and rewarding.

Most importantly, a sense of humour connects us with others by strengthening our communications and our relationships. It improves our quality of interaction with those around us and can even help others to realise the benefits of laughter. When we laugh with another, we foster a positive bond with that person and it increases happiness and intimacy. It also acts as a strong buffer against stress, arguments and frustration.

Humour doesn’t have to be offensive to induce laughter, nor should it be seen as laughing at someone else’s expense. A sense of humour is an attitude; a rising to the occasion and a way of looking at ourselves and life that helps us respond positively to a situation, bringing pleasure, hope and harmony. Humour is not crass jokes; it is a warm, relaxing way of drawing people together sharing laughter and making life more enjoyable.

Not everyone fosters a sense of humour. Those people seem to feel the need to take life very seriously. Such an attitude can send their stress levels very high and they are not the happiest people to be around. Don’t take yourself too seriously; it can become too hard to think outside the box and find new solutions to problems. Try to see the lighter side in difficult situations rather than bemoaning your bad luck. A sense of humour is sure to improve your mood and the mood of those around you. Of course, there are sad times that are clearly not occasions for a sense of humour; however, most people are sensible enough to be able to keep life in the right perspective.

Humour relaxes the body and puts you into a happy and positive frame of mind; it lightens your burdens, inspires hope and keeps you focused and alert. It has been observed, also, that the relaxation that comes with a sense of humour develops the kind of thinking that leads to greater creativity and results in raised productivity in the home and at work.

People with a sense of humour seem to be able to handle stress with more ease and are less judgemental and more compassionate, less anxious and more self-confident and popular. Generally, a sense of humour makes life more enjoyable and can even help to solve problems. There are always challenges in life but when they are handled without allowing stress to enter it is easier to concentrate on the solution.

There is a saying, “You don’t stop laughing because you are old; you grow old because you stop laughing” (Author unknown). A Norwegian study into the effects of a sense of humour on ageing found that those adults who have a sense of humour outlive those who don’t find life very funny. Of course, living longer is most people’s goal, as long as they can enjoy a quality of life with those extra years.

A Sense of Humour and Creativity

A further result of allowing a sense of humour to lighten a situation is that we are more easily able to think at a higher level of creativity. A sense of humour and creativity go together like the proverbial “horse and carriage”. Creative ideas help to resolve stressful situations and we can use them to improve both our personal lives and work environment.

When we are stressed and tense we are unable to think clearly. Minimising the negatives and maximising the positives puts us in a better mood and bring us back to a more creative and focused level of productivity in all facets of our life. A sense of humour comes out of a relaxed attitude, a right outlook and an open mind and creates a cheerful and creative atmosphere. It is well known that people perform more creatively on a task when it is deemed “play” than when the word “work” is attached to it and it has been shown that creative thinking has shown greater improvement after watching comedy than when watching a drama.

The synergy of humour and creativity is often shown when, for example, you have been working on a problem for some time with no end in sight. Just walking away from the problem and thinking about something quite different, particularly if it is humorous entertainment, for a while usually brings a solution very quickly when you return. Most people think more creatively when they are relaxed and the pressure is off.

That is why creative thinking in the workforce is more important now than ever before. It is essential to have staff who can think laterally, or “outside the box”. These are the people who are more quickly able to find solutions to difficult problems; they are innovative, creative and results oriented. Creating a peaceful work environment that is conducive to more creative thinking thus becomes a priority. Since research has shown a correlation between humour and creativity it follows that a relaxed, comfortable and ‘fun’ office atmosphere must generate more creative problem solving and thus higher productivity. As mentioned previously, a sense of humour must always be appropriate to the situation.

In the ever-changing world of business, many companies are now creating an atmosphere which nurtures the creative thinking skills of staff. They realise that creative problem solvers among empowered staff are needed at all levels, not just in management.

A sense of humour and creativity do not only belong in the work environment, they are of great value in your home where the whole family can benefit. Cheerfulness, a more positive outlook and a closer relationship are the rewards.