December 06, 2017
Why AHA and HAHA Are So Related

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I don't think it's an accident that "aha" and "haha" are both almost spelled the same way. Indeed, there is a deep relationship between the Eureka moment and humor -- which is one of the reasons why Isaac Asimov once said "The most exciting phrase in science is not 'Eureka', but 'That's funny!'" And why? Because when something strikes you as funny it is often an indication that your assumptions are being challenged, as in what you were expecting to see was nothing more than a false conclusion cobbled together by the habitual ways in which you interpret the "data."

When a person has a Eureka moment (i.e. Archimedes in the bathtub, Newton under the apple tree), he or she experiences something that surprises them -- something beyond their logic and expectations. In a word, they are "dislocated" from their normal reality and it is this dislocation that sparks a new kind of perception.

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It's the same with humor. When a person laughs upon hearing a story or a joke, it is usually because the storyteller or comedian, "dislocates" the listener. The listener is "set up" so to speak, lulled into believing the story or joke is going in one direction, only to have the logic of what they are listening to veer off in another direction. This unexpected moment of surprise often results in an involuntary reaction called "laughter." Indeed, it is the unexpected left turn or right turn that the storyteller makes -- via a well-told punchline -- that triggers a great release of laughter in the listener.

Bottom line, the AHA moment and the HAHA moment are both powered by the same phenomenon -- an unexpected turn of events... a surprise... a dislocation... and a sudden perceptual shift that opens the mind to new ways of seeing and feeling.

If you want to see your team, department, or organization be more innovative, consider bringing more humor into the workplace -- more opportunities for people to play with possibilities instead of being stuck in the "nose to the grindstone" position -- which, by the way, may give the appearance that people are working when, in fact, they are merely surviving. People who are laughing on the job are not necessarily slackers or goofballs. They may, in fact be out-of-the-box thinkers on the brink of a breakthrough.

A CEO, an ice skater, and proctologist walk into a bar...

Idea Champions
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What's funny about Ravel's Bolero

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 6, 2017 06:46 PM

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