This issue features a heartwarming Project of the Month, describing how Northern New Mexico bikers riding everything from Harleys to Hondas rev up for the Espanola children's toy run. Our Book of the Month describes an insanely bizarre and hilarious book that for those who appreciate elegant absurdist humor.
And as summer days yield to fall, itís an appropriate time to reflect and renew, the topic of our Self-Mastery section.
Improve Your Likeability Quotient -- Nature's Way!
by Dr. Hendrie Weisinger
Likability -- it's a key predictor to success in all areas of life. From being the teacher's pet to party invitations to job promotions, likability can get you where you want to go.
Likability pulls people toward you, so a good way to maximize your success is to develop attractiveness that increases your likability quotient. Mother Nature generously provides two key tips. The Sense of Humor.
Your ancestors who had the keenest senses of seeing and hearing probably were at the top of the clan in hunting skills, but, all things being equal, those who developed sense of humor too become the chieftains. Two points explain why.
The first is the mental and physical benefits of positive emotions. Laughing, for example, triggers the release of endorphins-hormones and enzymes that re natural painkillers for your body. When we laugh, we feel good, and when we feel good, we are more productive in our work, better partners, and more loving parents. Humor's evolutionary function is to make both ourselves and the people around us feel good.
Now the second point. Studies-under the rubric of emotional contagion-indicate that nature has provided creatures the capacity to transmit modes to each other, no doubt for the purpose of communication.
In humans, for example, emotional communication between mother and infant begins within days through facial expressions and range of sounds. You know by the tone of person's voice when she's irritable and by the smile on a person's face that he's in a good mood.
Emotions are contagious.It is not a coincidence that many partners of depressed mates inevitably find themselves depressed too-they are catching the emotions of their partners just like a bad cold.
Happily, humor is also contagious. This is why many television shows have laugh tracts-to mood infect you with positive feelings.
Back on the Savannah, when things got tough, who would you want to be with-the clansman who turned gloomy or the one who made you laugh? Because your human nature is to want to feel good and because humor is contagious, you would gravitate to the caveman who transmitted positive emotions, and this would be the one with a good sense of humor. It is also fair to assume that this caveman's sense of humor would attract others, too, and inevitably, he would go on to achieve status in the community.
Hundreds of thousands of years later, I frequently her mangers and front line employees saying, "I love working for my boss. She has great sense of humor," but I m never told, "I love working for my boss because she's depressed and irritable."
You can also make the assumption that those ancestors of yours who had a good sense of humor also attracted more than their share of desirable mates. Not only did the caveman have his status working for him, but also his sense of humor filled the air with positive emotions and pulled women toward him.
Four decades of studies in the research of interpersonal attraction consistently support that among the top reasons women select their mate is for their sense of humor.
To make yourself more likeable so you can pull people toward you, connect to your sense of humor. Here are some proven effective whys to do so:
Candid Camera Glasses. People-watch 5 minutes a day with the goal being to tune in to the fact that we take ourselves too seriously. Instead of feeling road rage in traffic, look at the people in the car next to you, and you are sure to gain perspective. It is way to lighten up.
Humor Breaks. Take a daily 5 minute break to think of things that make you laugh. You will feel enthused and feel your stress melt away.
Formal Joke Sessions. You will have to get out of your comfort zone to start each team meeting with a team member sharing a joke, but numerous companies have told me it brings enthusiasm into the workplace.
Listen Well. It's easy to see how natural selection favors those who listen well. Two cavemen out for a walk and you can bet the one who returned was the one who "heard" the leopard stalking them. Hundreds of thousands of years later, listening well still enhances your edge and likability.
Listening is a fundamental survival tool. By listening you collect data to solve problems and innovate, and you strengthen interpersonal bonds. Good listeners are sought-after leaders. In every profession and interaction, parent, lover, therapist, doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief-listening well is elemental. It also bonds us to the person who respects us enough to listen to our ideas.
Make yourself more attractive by listening to others. Some points to remember:
Do not interrupt others; doing so indicates you are not listening.
Respond to what people say rather than initiate a new topic.
Validate your understanding by paraphrasing or summarizing what you think the person is communicating.
When you are not sure you understand, gently probe for more information and ask for clarification.
Remember the function of listening is to collect data so that you can help people enhance their lives.
Having a sense of humor and listening to others are instinctual tools that nature has given us so that we can make ourselves more likeable and attractive to others and thereby enhance our lives in all of our arenas. Be sure to you both of them!
Dr. Hendrie Weisinger is trained in clinical, counseling, and organizational psychology. His work is known internationally. A New York Times bestselling author, he is a leading authority on the application of emotional intelligence, an expert in anger management, and the originator of the highly regarded techniques of criticism training. He has consulted to and conducts workshops for numerous Fortune 500 Companies and government agencies. Learn more about him at http://www.HendrieWeisinger.com
Espanola Valley Toy Run Runs Year-Round
This fall nearly 300 bikers from northern New Mexico will fire up their engines to collect and distribute hundreds of toys to needy children as well as enjoy a gala parade and biker celebration dance.
The Esapanola Valley Toy Run is a registered, non-profit (501C-3) organization which puts smiles on the faces of children as well as needy families.
Nearly a third of the riders are from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the chairman of this good effort is Mark Montoya. Enjoy the story and if you are motivated to give a toy, Mark would love to hear from you. (firstname.lastname@example.org; 505- 665-2974 work ; 505- 692-4223 cell ).
The Practice of Giving as Self-Mastery
The practice of giving is an important self-mastery skill. Most people are givers by nature, yet how they give, to whom they give, how often they give and what they give varies. This newsletter features a LogFrame about The Espanola Valley Toy Run that occurs once a year, but the spirit and practice of giving lasts throughout the remaining 364 days as the committee plans and prepares for bringing gifts to needy children near the Holidays.
When times are challenging, it is easy to withdraw and give less than when times are more abundant. There are many worthy charitable organizations right now that can use over help especially when there are many more people in need. Sometimes we assume that other people have it covered; so we do not need to participate. No one can participate in everything, however. But in those difficult days, the needs exceed the ready resources.
But, as we approach the Holiday Season in the months ahead, this is a good time to think, reflect and plan to see how each of us can give a little to others in our lives and the organizations designed to help. When lots of people do a little, it adds up to a lot! Follow the example of the Espanola Valley Toy Run bikers and practice giving as self-mastery year-round. A good starting point is to ask yourself, what can I give of my time, talent and/or treasure that will help others? Not only will they benefit from your generosity, but so will you.
What Iíd Say to the Martians: and Other Veiled Threats
By Jack Handey
I devoured this book on a flight from Boston to Seattle and itís hands-down my biggest ever laugh aloft. Several times I laughed so hard and sudden that 7-up shot out my nose, just missing my seatmates.
If you enjoyed Jack Handey's "Deep Thoughts" from Saturday Night Live, youíll relish this collection of short stories and more brilliantly weird deep thoughts. A sample Deep Thought:
ďIf youíre an ant, and youíre walking across the top of a cup of pudding, you probably have no idea that the only thing between you and disaster is the strength of that pudding skin.Ē
To me, thatís darn funny! And if you do too, some of the stories will elicit a mild chuckle, others are so hilarious it's hard not to pee your pants (no, I didnít do that).
The book title describes a "speechĒ given to a group of aliens from his captive's cell on Mars, heavy with crazy passive-aggressive payback language.
Habdey is a hybrid of lunacy and brilliance who catapults from one style of story to an entirely different one without any concern about continuity or theme development. It takes a certain sense of humor (Refined? Bizarre? Twisted?) to appreciate his non-linear form of storytelling. You will enjoy this book if short stories like THE SEVERED HEAD amuse you:
ďYou donít forget the first time you ever see a severed head. Especially if itís your best friend, Don. And especially if heís got a cigar clenched between his teeth, even though the last time you saw your so-called friend he swore he didnít have any more cigars.Ē
If you're a fan of Jack Handey's work and or simple enjoy out of the box writing, treat yourself to this savory volume of absurdist humor.
Jacob, age 92, and Rebecca, age 89, living in Florida , are all excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding, and on the way they pass a drugstore. Jacob suggests they go in. Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?" The pharmacist answers, "Yes."
Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?"
Pharmacist: "Of course we do."
Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?" Pharmacist: "All kinds "
Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism?"
Jacob: "How about suppositories?"
Pharmacist: "You bet!"
Jacob: "Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, and Alzheimer's?"
Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety. The works."
Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, Geritol, antidotes for Parkinson's disease?"
Jacob: "Everything for heartburn and indigestion?"
Pharmacist: "We sure do."
Jacob: "You sell wheelchairs and walkers and canes?"
Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes."
Jacob: "Adult diapers?"
Jacob: Thatís great just what we were looking for. "We'd like to use this store as our Bridal Registry."