The Gift of Laughter doesn’t cost you anything to give or receive!

Have you ever laughed so hard tears were rolling down your cheeks and you could barely catch your breath? So hard you couldn’t stop?  It has happened to me a handful of times when something just triggers waves of laughter  that leaves me breathless and my cheeks hurting from smiling so hard!   

Laughter is a gift from God and I love to laugh as often as I can.  I seek out happy, funny people.  I will wade through lots of comedy to find that one laugh out loud unexpected explosion of hilarity.    They say that “laughter is the best medicine” but they never say for what illness.  Did you ever notice that?  That’s because laughter is the best medicine for just about everything.  It makes you feel better about the sorrows in your life and the absurd unfairness of the universe from your tiny perspective.  Laughing releases a flood of chemicals that make you feel better all over.

“Finding the funny” in your life is a skill that can be developed, but only after you stop taking yourself and your so called problems so seriously.  I have spent most of my life looking for the left turn, the absurd, the path less taken in just about every conversation I have ever had.  When you train yourself to listen and view everything from a new perspective, the laughter and comedy appear.    

A while back, I was eating dinner with my family at an out door cafe and a point of conversation was brought up, and my son conceded the point by saying “Touche’!”  Now all my life when I heard that word my brain said “that’s French from the sport of fencing, and it means “touch” or in a wider meaning “one point for you”.    

But because my mind is always trying to nail together new things, this time my mind said “That sounds like a hairpiece for your butt.”  Toupee, Tush, Tushee.  I cracked myself  up and after laughing uncontrollably for a while I finally managed to share my new word with my family, who then joined in and we  all laughed hysterically!  I am sure a few people around us were wondering what could have been so funny.   We then each “riffed” on the idea using the new word in various forms.  “Is that natural, or is it a Tushee?    It’s absurd I know.  But that silly idea triggered one of the best laughs my family has had, and we refer back to it now and then, and it cracks us up all over again!

Finding smiles and laughter in your world depends solely on you.  You have to look  for and expect happiness to come bounding out at you.  It’s like a game of hide and seek.  If you don’t know anyone is hiding, you will never look, and they will not be found.  Laughs and smiles are all around you, in every nook and corner.  All you need to do is start looking, and once you train yourself to find the happy, you will have a never ending supply!

At my last family gathering which was filled with laughter and stories,  I was joking around to make everyone else laugh, and hit my own funny bone.  It had been a while since I had laughed uncontrollably, and it was such a wonderful release.   Understand that at this same gathering, we shared our concerns about aging parents, painful accidents, major surgery and life events and choices that had sad and terrible consequences.  There were no perfectly happy people at the table, but for that afternoon we were perfectly happy thanks to the gift of laughter.

So if you want to start seeing the funny in your world, here are my action steps for you to try:

Watch some stand-up comedy from your favorite comic.  After you laugh, stop for a second and try and see the new perspective the comedian just gave you.  

Find a free web service that will send you a joke a day.

Make a list of your top ten favorite  funny movies – and have a movie night with your family or friends and share them.

Start looking for funny.   Find out what makes you laugh consistently.  Then find more of it! 

 Stay away from comedy that has ego or hate at it’s center.   If the joke basically is “that other person is a moron and I am better than they are” you will not find the best funny.   Guess what? YOU are the funniest person, and you have to laugh at yourself and the stupid things you do should amuse you constantly, otherwise you are taking  yourself too seriously.

Find some funny people, and listen to how they think.  New ideas will start coming to you faster and faster, and before you know it, you will be “riffing” with the best of them.  Until then, enjoy letting them do most of the mining for comedy gold!

For the advanced degree in finding the laughter, go to an improv show.  It’s the best training in the world for finding the funny, and finding funny people!   For the quickest way I know to start training your brain to see the funny, get my book “THE IMPROV PERFORMANCE MANUAL by Nate Truman” on Amazon.com.    This intro to improvisational comedy and the mindset you need to develop can help you jump start your quest for the funny!  Plus there is a free bonus, right on the cover of the book! 🙂   Only you can choose to see the hilarious, crazy and ridiculous and then enjoy it each day you are given.   The journey of a lifetime begins with a small step and a big smile.     Now picture someone around you wearing their new “Tushee” and it peeking out of the top of their pants or skirt, and I dare you not to smile!     

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Stop pursuing “Normal,” Be Eccentric Today! Choose to Build your Batmobile!

by Nate Truman

batmobile 1966 Nate Truman
photo courtesy of Douglas Saunders Photography

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
Bertrand Russell – English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970

Eccentric is defined as someone who deviates markedly from an established norm, especially a person of odd or unconventional behavior.

I think the “weird” part is that being unique is considered abnormal! You have interests and avocations that make you unique; your personal history is unique, so what I don’t understand is why a world full of unique people all work so hard to be “normal”?

We have all been conditioned by each other to stay within certain limits. A lot of those are needed for a safe and well run society, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun being who you really want to be.

The world told me to “get an education, and get a good job, with benefits and security.” Well those are all great things, but how about getting a job I love to do that makes me excited to get up every morning? Even if it’s not the most secure job or the best paying, what if I follow my bliss and go into a line of work or pursue a hobby that makes no sense to anyone except me?

How much of your life are you going to try and stay invisible? How many more days will you do what you think others want you to do so you can be thought of as “normal?”

Your life clock is ticking, I suggest that it is not “normal” for you to spend another moment being normal. You need to pursue the positive things you desire – TODAY.

In 1986 I met Batman and Robin and sat in a TV style Batmobile. I wanted to meet the stars of one of my favorite shows, so I created a situation so others would work to bring them to me at no cost. Adam West and Burt Ward were great to meet, but it was the car that struck an inner nerve in me. I was young and had no money but I knew right then and there that I wanted to drive my own batmobile down Hollywood Blvd.

This weekend, 100 policemen will be stopping traffic so I can do just that!
I can drive my “Natemobile” any time I want. I even drove it across the country from Florida to California in the Fireball Run rally!

No, I didn’t have a genie grant my wish; I made a wild, audacious decision to do whatever it took to have my own working drivable batmobile. I know, I know, that’s just not normal.

But from the time I decided I wanted my own version of that famous car to today, lots of people have let me know they thought I was not normal. I was eccentric or a dreamer. “Normal” people don’t drive a batmobile! I was told many times to buy a “normal” car, or settle for something that was more reasonable, like a sports car. Guess what? I don’t want to be NORMAL! Do you?

I spent evenings creating custom parts.  I had a great time.  I did years of detective work, and collected photos for reference. I enjoyed every minute of it. I also shared my hobby with a few friends who rolled their eyes and thought it was not only impossible, but that “normal” people didn’t want that sort of car. They also told me all the reasons why I should give up my dream. How I couldn’t afford it, or I could never get it registered to drive on the street. They even told me that I can’t have a real flame shooting out the back of my car, bla, bla, bla. I stopped hanging out with those people.

Well guess what? I have had a blast being unique. Not because other people thought one way or the other, but because it was what I wanted to do! Now, I don’t drive my Natemobile to work everyday, that would just be crazy… LOL – so instead I drive my Knight Rider KITT car! It has air conditioning and is better in the rain. It’s also a lot of fun to drive as well! Famous movie and TV cars are just one of many eccentric things I enjoy. It’s not weird, it’s what I like. I followed my bliss, and I wouldn’t change a thing, nor do I regret any of the time I spent on this “fools errand.”

Today’s action item for you is to identify your unique interest or talent and make one move today towards fulfilling your inner desire. It must be something positive, something you can control, and something that does not injure or intrude on anyone else’s rights. Give yourself the gift of exploring that adventure or experience you have not allowed yourself to consider, because it was just too “out there.” From as simple as getting price quotes for that trip to help excavate a dinosaur, or calling about learning the trapeze, make that first decision today, to separate yourself from the lemmings around you, and take the path less traveled!

Oh yeah, as a follow up, a few people turned out to greet me at the Academy Award’s Kodak theater on Hollywood Blvd!

Nate Truman at Kodak Theater Academy Awards with Batmobile
Nate Truman at Kodak Theater Academy Awards with Batmobile

Why Paying it Forward, Pays Big Dividends!

by Nate Truman

1124721_we_have_a_dealLet us not become weary in doing good,

 for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 NIV

 

 

 

“What’s in it for me?”  If this is the first question that pops into your head anytime you hear about an opportunity, you need a new question.   We all know people who always want to get their “cut” before you are finished explaining your idea to them.  Do you want to deal with that kind of person, or better yet, do people think of you as “that guy?”

There is nothing wrong with looking at opportunities, both personal and professional, to see if it’s beneficial for you.  However, if anytime a friend asks a favor or someone at work needs a ride in the other direction your first reaction is “how does that benefit me?” it’s time for you to make a change, and enjoy paying it forward.

The concept has been around a long time with the old adage, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” but most people add to that statement in their heads that others should do something helpful FIRST before you do.  

The idea was dramatized a few years ago in a movie with the title “Pay it forward” starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey.   A young boy decides he can change the world by paying it forward.  He does three good deeds and he tells those three people that they should do three good deeds for others as repayment.  That one gesture of good will ends up spreading good deeds across the country.

So how does this work for you? Simple. You start first!  Volunteer at your favorite charity.  Ask to do an errand for an elderly person in your life, or take them out to lunch.  Start a program in your Church or school that people have been saying “someone should do something about…”    Help a friend or a friend’s friend move.  Don’t just lend someone your tools, go help.  If someone tells you they are out of work, take their resume, and actually help get them an interview at your company, or make sure it gets to someone you know that can help.  Plan a special dinner for your spouse or a fun secret outing for the family.  Before you know it, you will be getting your investment back two or three fold.   

Here is what will happen after just doing a few “no profit” favors for others in your life.  First, those that you did a favor for will start treating you more nicely.  Who doesn’t like that? Next, they will try and return the favor somehow.   Great!   If you don’t need any help from that person, suggest to them to pay it forward to someone else.  It really is infectious. 

You may be saying to yourself right now that people will just take advantage of you. Yes, some will take your help with out even a thank you.  What’s the worst that can happen in that situation?  Now they owe you a favor.  That sort of person will probably try and avoid you so you don’t ask them to return the favor. Great!  You did a kind act, move on. 

I have been investing in PIF (pay it forward) for some time, and the dividends not only keep growing, they show up in the most amazing ways!   People’s lives are happier and deals that never would have happened get done with a handshake.   I have helped people that are just acquaintances buy or sell big ticket items, get a job, get a pass into a special event, help a mother with a special need kid and many other similar favors with absolutely no interest in any return of the favor.  It makes me feel great, and I find myself wanting to do it again.  Often times just knowing you made a difference in someone’s life is reward enough.

The only problem is, the return on my investment keeps coming back in unexpected ways.  After awhile people know you have the heart to help others, and they start offering to help you.  Opportunities strangely crop up because of a favor you did months or years ago.

For me the best payback is seeing someone who has gone from just hanging on, to becoming alive again and is now helping others in their area of influence.  If you want massive return on your investments in life, pay it forward and watch the magic grow.

Make Serendipity Work in Your Life Today!

by Nate Truman

“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer’s daughter.”
– Julius Comroe Jr.

1186848_course_srb_1Serendipity means an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. The word was coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip,” whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

 

 For the first time in history, we have the power to experience many lifetimes of special moments, thanks to technology.

When I drive my TV style batmobile to charity events, I love to see the variety of responses from people. The reaction I seem to be drawn to lately, is the person so lost in their own little world that they don’t even notice what is going on around them that is unique and special.   With others around them pointing and shouting out “Look, it’s the Batmobile!” they stare at their cell phones or watches, unable to break free for a moment of serendipity.
Thanks to “youtube” live performances or lost TV shows can now live again, and amongst the thousands of clips and videos, there are a few that will move you if you let them.  Below is one such video of a beautiful dance performed by dancers who have lost limbs. No one else in the world could perform this dance.  To me it was a beautiful statement on how lovers complete each other, and without the other, are less than whole.  Take a deep breath and sit for a moment, and watch this short dance.
Now, you may be moved to be thankful for having all your limbs, or you may wish you could dance half as well as these performers, but that’s not what I hope you take away from this special performance. 
 All around you, every day there is beauty.  There are smiles. Funny happenings that you are missing.   Special moments that come and are gone in a flash at your dinner table, or in your back yard.  More importantly, you can create serendipitous moments just by being open to the “infinite now” that you are in.   If you look for the wonderous, the good, the unique, they will start appearing.   Unfortunately, the same is true when you look for the ugly, the unfair, the mundane and the evil.  One aspect of serendipity to bear in mind is that you have to be looking for something in order to find something else.
 
In this brief moment, look up, and enjoy the positive serendipity all around you today!