Tag Archive | Humor

Funny Examples

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I make learning more fun?”

“What are you studying?”

“I want to get better at editing, so I’m studying punctuation. As part of my learning process, I’m writing a handbook [<link; short read] on the subject.”

“You’re giving a lot of examples to explain the rules, I imagine.”

“Yes.”

One way you can make it more fun is by using funny examples.

Make it a habit to make all your examples funny from now on. You can thus practice humor at the same time.”

Funny Mantras

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I collect mantras:

Everything is figureoutable. (Marie Forleo)

I am an Endlessly Evolving Process,
I am Relentless Forward Motion.

No matter what, I will be okay. (Charlie Houpert)

OMMS (Obstacles Make Me Stronger) (Brian Johnson)

Screw it, let’s do it! (Richard Branson)

That’s like me! (Brian Johnson)

This too shall pass. (Tim Ferris)

And many more.”

“They’re all so serious.”

“Their purpose is to help you recover balance once lost.”

What if you used unserious mantras?

There’s one I know from the book The Improv Handbook by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Frances-White.

As a warm-up, to help their students get into the right headspace and silence their inner critic, they instructed them to repeat to themselves:

I suck and I love to fail.

It always makes me smile when I say it.

Humor is a beautiful tool for breaking emotional patterns and changing state.”

“Reminds me of a funny word from the adventure game The Curse of Monkey Island

Papapishu!

In the language of the natives of Plunder Island, the word means ‘Ouch!’

It’s a funny reminder not to take myself so seriously.”

Life-Stackings 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I don’t know what password to set.”

What if you created funny passwords?

You can use password-setting as an opportunity to practice humor and word associations.”

Iterative Learning


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is iterative learning?”

“Not long ago, at my brother’s suggestion, I watched a video on YouTube called Iterative Drawing, by a guy called Sycra Yasin, describing a beautiful learning method. I realized the method can be applied to learning anything, not just drawing – and so the idea of iterative learning was born.”

“What’s the essence of the method?”

“If you want to improve at anything, repetition is key. The metaphor Sycra uses is mileage

To improve, you need to get a lot of rep(etition)s in. (Quantity) There’s no way around it.

To improve faster, you need to maximize the learning from each rep. (Quality) In other words, it requires deliberate practice.

A quality-rep is a learning cycle [<link; short read]. 

Quality-rep = Learning Cycle = Feedback + Reflection

The method is brilliant in that it addresses both quantity and quality at the same time (thus increasing practice-density [<link; short read]), which allows you to gain mileage quickly.

You pick something you want to focus on (clear goals).

You fill a page (or more) with variations on that thing. Each iteration is essentially an experiment.

With each iteration, you analyze and reflect on it, extracting key lessons and principles.”

“Can you give an example of how you’re applying it to something other than drawing?”

“Sure.

One of the things I’m learning about is humor. I want to get better at it. 

I’m currently reading a book about humor called You Can Be Funny and Make People Laugh by Gregory Peart.

One actionable insight from the book is that direct questions are an opportunity to practice humor.

Direct questions, like, “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing?” are perfect opportunities for experimenting with unanticipated humorous responses. The question-asker is likely expecting a literal answer, so a lighthearted and funny response could result in easy humor simply because it’s unexpected.

This is an opportunity to practice iterative learning.

I write a question at the top of a page, and I start generating possible answers (thus practicing creativity at the same time). The focus is on quantity, not quality. Whenever I stumble upon a funny response, I give it a rating (1 – mildly funny, 2 – funny, 3 – very funny), and reflect on what makes it funny.

For instance:

What are you doing?

I’m…

– breathing autumn. (1)
– breathtaking.
– digging for treasure. (2)
– growing hair. (3)
– hiking around the sun. (3)
– knitting. (1)
– living danjerously. (2)
– playing at adulting. (3)
– pacticing average. (1)
– practicing awkwardness.
– questing. (1)
– ruminating ruminations. (1)

The goal is to do as many as possible. Dozens. This is an open process [<link; short read]. Whenever I come up with another idea, I add it to the page.”

On Habits and Celebration

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“You may have learned that it takes at least 40 days to form a new habit.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“From the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg I learned a very important principle:

Emotions create habits.

Habits can form very quickly, as long as you have a strong positive emotion connected to the behavior. This means celebration is one of the most important aspects of habit creation. 

BJ has a beautiful word for that positive feeling we get from experiencing success: Shine.

There are two key aspects to celebration: 
Immediacy. Celebrating during the habit or immediately after.
Intensity. The more intense the feeling, the more impactful it is.

There are many ways you can celebrate. They can involve 
physical movements (eg deep breathing, smiling, a little dance, raising your fists in victory, etc), 
verbal statements (eg ‘Yes!’, ‘That’s like me!’, etc), 
bringing to mind things real or imagined,
one or more senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), 
or any combination of these. 

He stresses the importance of experimenting and finding/creating celebrations that feel natural to you, and suggests cultivating a bunch of them, for various contexts (private and public).

For instance, one of my go-to celebrations involves Brian Johnson, one of the people I look up to most. Every day he posts a little video in which he shares reflections and ideas with the world on how to optimize your life and live at your highest potential. He calls these little videos ‘+1s’ (plus ones).

He often ends these videos by saying ‘plus one’ and making a specific gesture with the fingers from one hand. Picturing him doing this always makes me smile. So I recently thought to myself: what if I used this as a celebration? I imagine him saying it, I say it along with him, and sometimes make the same gesture with the fingers. It works.”

“What are you experimenting with at the moment?”

“Humor.

I started studying humor because I think it’s a beautiful life skill. At one point I thought: what if I used humor for celebration?

For instance, sometimes when I get a very small win I imagine a huge amphitheater of people cheering for my accomplishment. The contrast between the smallness of the accomplishment and the bigness of the imagined celebration has a humorous effect.”