Learn to Laugh

Several years ago, I stood behind the podium in front of an overcrowded banquet hall. Once again, I was asked to present several awards during the annual high school honors ceremony. The high school had suffered several years of declining enrollment prior to my coming on board, but this was our year. This year, one of the awards would be presented to my team of ambassadors. The students were an enthusiastic group who contributed to the many applicants. I couldn’t wait to pass out the awards.

“The academy’s enrollment figures are at a record high for the incoming freshmen class. A waiting list is a real possibility if we continue to receive applications.”

I caught the smiles from the audience and was ready to begin my accolades of the young people on the team. However, before I could say another word, a loud, ringing phone rudely interrupted this high point.

Do you remember pay phones? And how the rings were never ending? The pay phone was in the back entrance of the hall. I waited at the microphone wondering how much longer the loud shrill would persist. But my bigger wonder was how to proceed.

I could have tried to continue over the interruption. Or, I could have gotten angry and flustered. But, I didn’t. The ringing eventually stopped and the audience sat silently. Looking over the crowd, I smiled and jokingly said, “I guess another student wants to apply.”

The laughter was overwhelming, so was the applause.

I learned so much from that incident. Obviously, the ringing phone wasn’t part of my planned talk. Often in our lives, many unexpected events happen. What we do with the unexpected is what matters.

The next day at work I had many messages about the ringing phone, however one stands out. Sifting through the morning mail I found a card from a playing deck. A joker. I laughed and knew immediately who gave me this card. My good friend, Father Arthur, had the best dry sense of humor and taught me so many life lessons during my time at the academy.

Change your course and navigate the unexpected life bumps

You know the unexpected is going to happen, usually when you least expect the disruption. Why not channel your adventuresome side? Use the detour as an opportunity to find a new discovery. Not all of your challenges will be positive, but accept your test and learn from it.

Learn to Laugh

By keeping an open mind, you’ll find yourself laughing and enjoying some of the unexpected. Life is constantly changing, why not enjoy the unforeseen?

Accept and share compliments

The joker card my friend gave me was a huge expression of praise. For me, Father Arthur’s card is a forever reminder of the power of praise, laughter and going with the flow.