Look For Something Else to Do

The day after publishing my June newsletter, I received an email from a subscriber:

“honestly, i didn’t get your humor, why don’t you look for something else to do?”

Feedback like that can create thoughts which can be either destructive or productive.

DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS make us feel bad.  They can make us angry.  They block our growth.  They don’t serve us.  Thoughts such as:

   – I worked for hours creating that newsletter.  And I sent it out for free!  Neither of these thoughts are good cause to be upset.

   – What does he know!  I’ve done hundreds of monologues and over one thousand comedy programs over the last 40 years.  Lots of people think I’m funny.  But it’s still a fact that I’m not funny to him.

   – I’m being personally attacked.  Our humor can easily become a touchy area.  We take ownership of our funny lines.  We’ve created our jokes.  They’re part of us.  They’re a reflection on our judgment and our logic.  We invested time and effort in their design.  And when someone doesn’t like a joke, it can sting…but only if we allow it to.  Our attitudes, positive and negative, are always a choice.

PRODUCTIVE THOUGHTS help us to accept feedback positively.  Thoughts such as:

   – He was speaking the truth.  His truth.  My style of humor was not funny to him.  Only he is the judge of what is funny to him.

   – He probably has a good sense of humor.  If I were to observe him telling a joke to his friends, they would probably laugh.  There’s a good chance I might not find it funny.  Neither of us is bad, or wrong, just different.

   – He is coming from a good place.  Maybe this isn’t always true, but usually it is (98 percent of the time in my opinion).  And it’s a thought that serves you well.

   – We have different tastes in humor just as we have different tastes in many areas of life.  Not everyone likes heavy metal rock.  Not everyone thinks that rap music is music.  We like different movies.  We get excited about different TV shows.  Some people love reality programs.  Others think they’re totally fake.  So it is with humor…different jokes for different folks.

   – We thrive by accepting feedback.  It helps us to understand people better.  The better our understanding of what makes people tick, the more likely we’ll have stronger relationships with a wide variety of people.

   – No joke will ever connect with every member of a specific audience.  Few of us are experts in cultural humor, generational humor, regional humor, or in the differences between male and female humor.  I’m not an expert in those areas.  So I try not to beat myself up when one of my jokes doesn’t pass the test with a reader or an audience member.

   – It doesn’t matter that I think a joke was funny.  It doesn’t matter that other subscribers think I’m funny.  Those things are irrelevant.  Some people aren’t going to like my humor.  And that’s OK.

   – Let your expectations be positive.  It helps that my goal for the newsletter and blog isn’t primarily to be funny.  My aim is to help others get in touch with what they find funny.  And when I get an occasional email from someone who found a monologue really funny…I’m usually more surprised than I am pleased.  Because I know that the power of the humor is often based on the “you had to be there” factor.  So I expect most of my writings to be learning tools not laughter generators.

   – Don’t be needy.  Don’t be searching for validation.  It helps that over the last 40 years I’ve had audience feedback that I am funny.  Hundreds of Observational Humor monologues, and over 1000 comedy programs have passed the audience test and confirmed to me that I can be funny.  But not to everyone.

   – Fortunately, I don’t receive lots of emails like the one I quoted.  It isn’t that other readers don’t feel the same way.  Most of them just quietly go away and don’t tell me why.  That’s probably a good thing.  If I received 100 emails like that every week…I’d look for something else to do!