Attitude Adjustment: A Good Sense of Humor Will Make You a Winner

Note: This is a guest post by Winston Cole of Plan My Cruise Vacation

A sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the unbeatable
Moshe Waldoks

My sense of humor helped me survive

When I immigrated to the United States in 1992 it was very tough for me. I had left a very lucrative job in my home, left behind my wife and two young children. The US then was going through a recession period similar to what we are experiencing now. I could not find work in my field. I sent out countless job applications without success. I took the advice of a family friend who suggested I look for work in the teaching field. Me teach?
Attitude Adjustment - Sense of HumorIt was Alberta Flanders who said that “Sometimes only a change of view point is needed to convert a tiresome duty into an interesting opportunity.” Instead of thinking about quitting and never to look back, you can look at a difficult and stressful situation and laugh. Ask yourself “Is this an obstacle or an opportunity?” Why not see yourself as one of the crazy few who stay to take a second go at this? Think of Mahatma Gandhi who said “If I had no sense of humor I should long ago have committed suicide.”
With very little attempt I was able to secure a teaching position. I started teaching in a special education school for trouble kids.  These students were very difficult to control. Most new teachers stayed less than a week and quit. Funny how we can get help from strange places. In my case it was the old lady who was a cook in the school. She challenged me by asking me whether I was going to let the kids run me out of the school.  I changed my perspective and saw this as an opportunity and not an obstacle. I started to laugh at myself when the kids call me names and try to make me angry. Soon I was able to win their hearts.

Humor is my sword and my shield, it protects me. You can open a door with humor and drive a truck right through.
Alan Simpson

After a ten year spell in teaching I decided it was time to get back to my engineering career. But first I must get my professional registration. I took the national board examination and failed some sections. I was again ready to give up. My hopes and will power almost died when I received my test scores. Again thanks to a true friend who brought it to my attention that so many people have failed and continue to retake the test. This friend confided in me that he too had to retake the test more than once to obtain his license.
I weighed the situation and burst out laughing. I of all should know better. As a teacher I have seen so many students give up because they failed the first time. Instead of realizing that they failed because they did not put in the time or effort to prepare well, they labeled themselves “no good” and acted the part of a no good fellow. If only we can remember to laugh at our self when we fail, the solution will be easy. Always look for an answer to, “what do I need to do to turn things around from failure to success?”  So I not only registered to take the board exam once more,  but also enrolled in a preparatory class. This class did wonders for my test taking skills.

Success is my best revenge

Look for ways to get back at those who have rejected you in your early attempt. I could recall in my school days a teacher who told me I would never amount to anything good… This alone was a great motivator. To all such folks, I say success is my best revenge. After graduating as an engineer, I came across my teacher who had told me I would never amount to anything good. I helped her complete a building project on her home. This was after she had had so much trouble with construction workers. I did this without charging her a cent. Success was my revenge. If you have a good sense of humor, success can be your best revenge. It can be a driving force to make you want to go on and win big time. When the tough times come, see it as a joke. Keep your eyes on the prize.  The harder the battle the sweeter will be the victory.

How good humor can benefit you?

Studies have shown that laughter and good humor can help us protect our attitude and steer us in the path of happiness. When we introduce good humor and laughter into our dealings with others we are shutting negative thoughts and actions and this helps us lead individuals to making good judgment.
Good humor and laughter benefit us in many ways. Laughter makes us relax and helps us relieve stress. A good sense of humor and the ability to laugh during stressful situation reduces the harmful effect of emotional distress. Instead of intensifying our anxiety, laughter makes us less anxious.
Laughter and humor strengthen our immune systems. Good humor and laughter helps to reduce stress, lowers blood pressure and elevate our temperament. Humor and laughter really assist in getting rid of negative emotions such as anger, depression and anxiety.
Good humor and laughter can make us livelier and increase our energy level. We become more alert, more lively and happy.
Having a good sense of humor will help you bridge the gap between people. Especially if you are dealing with stressful or difficult subject.   Add some good humor by making fun of yourself. You will observe that the recipient will take the message with better spirit. Laughter develops and heals relationships as people who laugh together bond together by sharing a common thread.

How you can develop and acquire good sense of humor?

To develop a sense of humor start to smile a lot.  Smile at every occasion. Look at the bright side of things.
Always seek the good in whatever dire circumstance you find yourself facing.
Avoid negative people as they can drain your energy and suck the positive life out of you.
Do not take yourself seriously. Laugh at your failures and ask your self what can I learn from this?
Avoid sarcastic humor. Put the joke on you not on anyone else. Do not try to laugh at other people’s expense. You will appear insensitive and wicked.
Good sense of humor is a key element to developing a winning attitude. Start by making small adjustment.

I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.
Thomas Paine

Follow these and you will win

Smile and remember, even the seasons change.  As long as we are alive we will experience this fact. It happens to young or old. It happens in love and war. Things change. The situation or the tide will turn. A weak opponent can develop strength or a good friend can abandon our cause and desert us.  Be prepared for rejections and just believe if you take it long enough things eventually change just like the seasons do. Winter leads to spring then summer and fall.
Smile and remember dreams do come true. Though it is not usually at the first attempt. The seed has to be planted, watered, and nurtured with plenty of sun before it can grow. All of this takes time.
We are always free to make choices but accept that we are not free from our choices.
Never be too old or too big to learn.  We can learn from every one. As a teacher I learned a lot from my young students. As an engineer I learned a lot from the unschooled laborers I get the privilege to work with.

Look for the good in unpleasant situations

Laugh a lot and believe your efforts will not go in vain.  Have faith.  Very few people will persistently work hard and not get rewarded for their effort.
Try to be at peace with every one you encounter. Avoid burning the bridge we have crossed.  Life has a funny way of bringing us back where we started.
It’s not over till its over. Miracle can happen and that may be to you.
Seek and ye shall find. View life as a journey and not as a destination. Try to enjoy every moment. As you go through life remember the words of Dorothy Canfield Fisher who said “Humor…. Like good cheese, mellowed and ripened by age”.
As Amy Alcott said “Keep your sense of humor. There’s enough stress in the rest of your life to let bad shots ruin a game you’re supposed to enjoy.”
Winston Cole is a Civil Engineer and Special Educator. He is an avid traveler and publisher with sites including and Winston’s love for people is obvious. He bridges the gap between people’s goals and dreams. Winston enjoys playing sports, chess and  traveling on cruises around the world.
This article is part of October 2008 theme: Winning Attitude
Photo by pockeywiley


  1. This article rings true on so many levels: Change of Perspective. Determination. Perseverance. Humour. Lessons learned.
    “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” No “fixing” to be done here. Great job!

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  4. I recently came upon a very similar situation myself. After finding a new opportunity I’m extremely happy with the direction my life is headed in.
    There is definitely a lot of truth in this entry!

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