My team laughs a lot. Even in a crisis, even when sleep-deprived, or discouraged, they keep their sense of humour and they plough on. It's not forced, it's not part of their job description, but it seems to bond them even tighter and to hold them there, as together we search for solutions and overcome what sometimes feels like the impossible (or even when tackling the truly mundane but sadly necessary).
It got me thinking. Actually, it's fascinating. Because there are definitely days when I don't want to laugh, but they can somehow still manage to make the corners of my mouth twitch. When that happens, somehow, it makes the tasks of those days so much easier. And I know there are moments when each of them feels the same.
Not every team around us laughs like we do. What I've also noticed is that others may leave at 5.30pm apparently without much of a second thought about the challenges of the day. Our team stays until the ideas are fleshed out, the problems are fixed, until each one of us is OK and not stressing when a helping hand could remedy it. And they still head off, later than everyone else, with a cheery word and a smile. They're often back in ahead of everyone else the next day too.
Do we simply have a more positive perspective than some of our colleagues? Is it down to the strength or compatibility of the team? Could it be that we're a newer team than many of the others, so we haven't had chance to fall out with each other yet? Is it because even in not so happy moments, we know we’ll find a solution together?
I’m not sure that I have the answer and I don't think it can be that simplistic. It can't be down to youth or culture, because we're a very mixed up bunch. And it's definitely not down to luck, because we've had to work really hard to get where we are today; there certainly haven't been any quick wins or shortcuts - we all have to pitch in and do whatever it takes because there are never enough of us - and there's still a lot to do and to prove.
But I do know, like the author of the great Forbes article attached here, that we have a choice about how we work and how we approach work, and that the benefits of laughter and positivity outnumber even the 10 very good ones she explores here.
And I also know that when someone laughs, it’s infectious and it makes others smile or laugh too. That can only be good. This life - working and personal - is not a dress rehearsal after all.
What I love best about the laughter that I hear within our team and the things we achieve together, is that it always seems to lead to more of the same. As the American author and co-founder of the US Foundation for Mind Research, Jean Houston said: "At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." When you're reinventing a business, that's exactly the perspective you need. It's a privilege to work with people who empower you to see it.
Ha + ha = aha! “Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking,” Kerr says. “It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.” Humor and creativity are both about looking at your challenges in novel ways and about making new connections you’ve never thought about before, he adds. Taylor agrees. She says humor “establishes a fertile environment for innovation because people are more inspired when they are relaxed.”