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CREATING HUMOR
   

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."

Oscar Wilde

Humor is an essential creative attitude. Creativity is best performed in a light-hearted environment. Learning to generate humor in any situation will greatly enhance creative options and resolutions to life's challenges. An excellent method for generating humor in any circumstance is personal detachment.

Detachment is the ability to stand back, de-identify with the situation, and become an impartial observer. We do this naturally when we observe other people, but we tend to lose this objectivity when we are emotionally involved in difficult situations.

Creating Humor

 

In the beginning detachment can be hard to remember, particularly in uncomfortable situations. But once learned, it becomes a natural response to anything that has mystery or discomfort attached to it. Detachment in creative problem solving can lead to unusual solutions.

Detaching allows you to get a broader and more encompassing view. My favorite way to detach is to imagine that I am floating above the situation. This not only allows me to be neutral, but it gives me a 360 degree perspective on what I am involved in. This global viewpoint is similar to viewing all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, rather than only a few pieces at a time. It eliminates the "forest for the trees" limitation so easy to fall into when we're personally involved in a difficult situation.

If you can remember daily to practice standing aside or floating above whatever you're doing, you have the supreme vantage point. The first challenge will be to let go emotionally. If you have a strong opinion or investment in something, to detach and pretend that you are impartial may cause great stress. But, from personal experience, I can attest that developing the skill to detach will ultimately reduce most stress from your life.

Detaching also allows you to see the ridiculous or absurd that would otherwise be overlooked. All of us have many situations that seemed tragic at the time, but were comical in hindsight. Hindsight is useful because we are now detached from the initial emotional investment in the outcome. When you can distance yourself either with imagination, or with time, you gain a new perspective.

This is what Zen monks and all great spiritual and philosophical teachings aspire to. The ability to participate, observe and act with an emotionally centered and mentally uncluttered attitude is the result of detachment.

Study those people who have a good sense of humor; Robin Williams, Tim Allen, George Burns, Lily Tomlin, Ellen Degeneris and other noted comedians. Notice that they are funny because they always seem to see the absurd in any situation and bring it into focus. Also notice that they seem a bit aloof. They don't allow themselves to become so emotionally entangled in what they're observing that they can't see the absurd and seize it.

Your creativity will become spontaneous when you learn to detach yourself at will. Whether it be a mental, emotional or physical problem you're dealing with, appropriate solutions will present themselves as if by magic when you use this technique. Your sense of humor will blossom and life will take on the fascination and "enchantment" it was meant to have.

© J.L. Read, 1998. All Rights Reserved.
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This site is dedicated in loving memory
to its creator, Janet L. Read
1949 — 2000

 

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