Play is the essence of humor | Brad Montgomery

Play is the essence of humor

Play is the essence of humor

by Dan Gascon

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

Eddie Cantor

Play is the highest, most important function in determining and maintaining your sense of humor. Just look at it’s definition: Play (Amuse oneself; take part in a game; behave without care or worry; trifle; act the part of; perform; move with light and irregular motions.) Play is something you can never outgrow, it has no age, race, or moral exclusions. It is a quintessential human need that is often the most forgotten self-help technique. It is the perfect companion of delight and bliss.

Play is one of the best ways to retain and learn. It improves the quality of life, breeds creativity, spontaneity, invention and originality. Play strips away barriers, making us real. It provides a greater avenue of expression than just words and allows all people to define themselves. Play mobilizes our energy to lift us out of guilt, despair and sorrow. Play requires us to lose our fear of being rejected or wrong, works through unresolved problems and releases negative energy. Play promotes communication, compassion and empathy. The act of play, as witnessed in infants, is the first form of human communication. It has the ability to transcend any generational or cultural gap by putting us all on even ground.

The number one rule of play is: There are no rules

Within reason, each individual must do whatever they are drawn to do. The actual form play can take is infinite and as varied as the imagination behind it. It is a purely personal expression that can be a solo effort or involve any number of participants.

If you need some guidance on figuring out what is your play, follow these four steps:

1. BE WILLING. Realize this is a sure-fire way to make your life sweeter. It is solely your undertaking. Be committed, just for the fun of it!

2. GO TO YOUR STRENGTHS. Look into your past. Are you athletic, creative, quiet, bold? You will be able to find a forgotten passion.

3. CHALLENGE YOURSELF. What is the something(s) that you’ve always wanted to do or try? Do or try it.

4. SET REGULAR ENGAGEMENTS. Three hours of play-time a week is the absolute minimum requirement. The more the merrier.

Once you’ve identified, refined or added to your play-time you will get an instant and constant boost of joy in all areas of your life. Play allows your sense of humor to flow. Affirm this by telling jokes and funny stories, like this one:

Sherlock Holmes decided that the pressures and stress of being the world’s greatest detective were getting to much for him and Watson, so he decided it was time to go play. They decided to go out in nature to hike and camp. After a great day in the outdoors they had gone to bed and were lying there looking up at the sky.

Sherlock says, “Watson, look up. What do you see?”

“Well I see thousands of stars.” Watson replied.

“And what does that mean to you?” Holmes countered.

“Well I guess it means we will have another nice day tomorrow. What does it mean to you Holmes?”

“To me my dear Watson, it means someone has stolen our tent.”

Remember; Creative work is play!


Copyright 2005 by Dan Gascon. Reprinted with permission. Founder of Humor for your Health. Reach Dan at

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