Humor Makes All the Difference

Laughter vs. Death sign

The two paths diverge.

The humorless path seems safe. It is wide and clearly marked. Everyone on it walks the same way, dressed the same way, and keeps the same pace. It is path of few surprises.

The other path is uncertain—but it holds great possibility. Instead of predictability, it is filled with pleasant surprise. Serendipity. Unforeseen joy.

The amusing path is a calculated risk. The pursuit of laughter and the search for the lighter side of corporate self-awareness is an abandonment of mediocrity’s comforts.

Sure, some co-worker or customer with no sense of humor may complain that you aren’t being serious enough. But over time—and it will take less time than you imagine—your colleagues will be happier, your reputation will improve, and fellow people of good spirits will seek your company.

Set happiness free and it will return to you tenfold. An organization full of happy, social people is far more valuable than mollifying the fun-poisoners who say, “Well, I just don’t think that’s a laughing matter.”

Whatever it is, it is a laughing matter. Nothing is so serious that it should be laughter-free.

No, you can’t have it both ways. Safe isn’t funny. And funny isn’t safe.

Brands laugh or brands die.

The two paths diverge. Take the funny one.


Alan Beard (SC ’94, SPP ’99) is an adjunct professor of marketing strategy at Pepperdine University, principal at social media agency McBeard Media, and co-author of Random House best-seller Historical Tweets: The Completely Unabridged and Ridiculously Brief History of the World.


Author of the article
Alan Beard, MPP
Alan Beard, MPP
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