A funny thing happened to me as I sat down to write this blog … after doing some research I discovered that people with a lighter mood experience more eureka moments and greater inspiration.
Humour is the easiest tool to elevate the mood and feelings of those around you. When used correctly, humour can be the perfect way to connect everyone in the room and create a unified energy.
When people laugh, barriers are broken down. The more laughter … the less guarded people feel, which allows ideas to be shared more freely, and without judgement.
Humour can help us solve problems that demand creative solutions, by making it easier to think more broadly and associate ideas/relationships more freely.
Virtually all humour involves a similar structure. Here is an example:
A woman is berating her husband for his marital failures:
- The wife angrily says: “Every morning the man next door kisses his wife goodbye. Then when he comes home after work, he brings her flowers. Why don’t you ever do that?”
- Husband, shaking his head: “I couldn’t do that. I don’t even know the woman.”
Here is the formula behind the structure:
You are set up to expect one thing, and then there is a switch and you are given something completely different. We’re surprised, and we laugh. That’s the formula. Assumption and then reality. That’s what humour is all about.
Chuck Jones, director and creative genius used this structure in the development of the Looney Tunes cartoons. He pairs visuals and jokes to set the tone for each short film. Check out this YouTube video which explains his process beautifully!
Surprise is at the heart of comedy. Surprise is also at the heart of creativity. Creativity is about more than just producing something. It’s about producing something in a new way, a different way, a surprising way.
Much of our daily thinking is conducted on the ‘freeways’ of habit. Creativity is ‘off-road’ thinking. Humour helps prepare your brain for those off-road excursions. It helps you develop the ‘surprise thinking’ that results in creative new ideas.