Humor and Creativity



Creativity can be enhanced by humor and result in more effective problem-solving

Experiments dating back to the 1950’s have demonstrated a definite link between humor and creative ability.

People who are humorous are more playful; people who are more playful are more creative; people who are more creative find more solutions; people who find more solutions are better able to deal with change, everyday challenges and associated stresses.

The more we play and flex our ‘funny bone,’the easier it becomes to make new connections and look at things from a fresh perspective.

A few tips to enhance humor and creativity

  • play with humor jump-starts the brain
  • they help us to tap into our creative energies
  • they reduce inhibitions and limitations
  • play helps in fostering a culture of risk-taking
  • humor and creativity challenge our basic assumptions
  • humor encourages spontaneity
  • humor sends a message that ideas and creativity are valued

Play and humor let us practice new ways of thinking and allow us to shuffle ideas and reorganize thoughts. Humor jolts us into seeing things in a new way and prevents us from walking around on ‘autopilot.’

Spontaneity encourages you to express your ideas before your inner voice censors them, e.g., don’t say it out loud – you don’t want to appear stupid.

Humor nudges us away from ‘blame-storming’- focusing on who to blame and into the path of ‘brain-storming,’ focusing on solutions.

Humor and play keep us in a ‘positive mood’ and ‘optimistic frame of mind.’ It places our focus on ‘possibilities,’ and blocks ‘negative emotions,’ which causes ‘negative thinking.’

Things that stifle humor and creativity

  • ‘fear’ – fear that you will fail when you pursue the idea
  • ‘criticism’ – from workers, or at home from family
  • the ‘what-if’ factor – what if I fail – what if I don’t get support
  • the ‘but’ factor – but, somebody else has tried this and failed – but, I may not succeed

With any of these negative assumptions, it’s easy to talk yourself out of an idea before it even has a chance for true consideration and evaluation.

Here are some famous idea squashers

  • “You’ll never make it – go back to Liverpool!” As told to the ‘Beatles’ by an American Record Executive
  • “Star Trek will never fly, because it’s too expensive>” Television Executive rejecting the 1st ‘Star Trek’ series
  • “You will never make it as an actor!” As told to Harrison Ford by a Movie Director after his 1st bit part
  • “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a passing fad.” Bank President advising his nephew not to invest in Ford Motor Company
  • “People will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night!” Movie Mogul Daryl Zanuck on the threat of television to the movie industry


With thanks from

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