“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children.”
~ Jim Henson
Jim Henson was a successful puppeteer, artist, cartoonist, inventor, screenwriter, film director, producer and the creator of the beloved Muppets. He also had a leadership style that was kind, patient and filled with laughter.
Jerry Juhl, who was the head writer for the Muppets, reflects on what it was like to work with Henson…
“One of the images that I think we all have of Jim, that we’ve seen repeatedly, is Jim standing in the studio with his hand in the air and a puppet and he’s laughing uncontrollably. Everything has come to a complete stop, and that kind of infectious enthusiasm kind of spread through all casts and crews, and Jim balanced that with a desire to do the work as well as possible. So you were working at the top of your form, but you were also having as much fun as possible, and I think that was very infectious.”
Many people find it difficult to even say leadership and laughter in the same breath, yet Henson mastered both in his own unique style. When is the last time you saw your boss or the CEO doubled over in uncontrollable laughter? Yet genuine laughter is healing and even enlightening as it illuminates and reveals fresh perspectives on our challenges.
Laughter is the drug of my choice as its side-effects beat any medication. Warning: laughter is highly contagious, mood altering and too much of it can…
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce stress hormones
- Improve your immune system
- Increase your alertness and learning ability
- Improve your memory and creativity
- Oxygenate your blood
- Relax your muscles
- Increase your pain tolerance
- Reduce emotional misery such as anxiety and fear
- Cause smiling
The above benefits heighten creativity and strengthen leadership abilities. With the world in the throes of upheaval, we could use a little laughter. The upside is that it would improve our spirits, health, creativity and leadership styles. The downside? There is none.
Studies have found:
- The average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day, a 40-year-old, only four.
- 15 minutes of laughter has the same benefits as getting two hours of sleep.
- A great sense of humor can add up to 8 years to your life.
What are you waiting for? Start laughing. What you say…you can’t find a reason?
OMG, begin with yourself!
“I believe that we form our own lives, that we create
our own reality, and that everything works out for the best.
I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be
ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me.”
~ Jim Henson