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Want More Fun in Your Life? -- Remember Your Laugh List

by John P. Strelecky -- International Best-selling Author of The Why Café

As an inspirational author and speaker, I’m often asked, “How is it that you always stay positive? What do you do to bring yourself up when you’re feeling down?”

The complete answer is that there are a number of things I do, and life philosophies I’ve adopted that on an ongoing basis keep me enthused almost all the time.

The short answer though, is that I always remember my laugh list. About a year ago I was asked to put together a CD series on how to achieve maximum success with minimal effort. What little things could people do that would require almost no effort or time, yet have a huge positive impact on their lives.

One of the areas I was asked to focus on was very similar to the question that people had been asking me. “What simple technique can someone use to both instantaneously bring themselves out of a bad mood, and also to instantly have more fun in their lives?”

On that CD I explained for the first time, the Laugh List technique. I’ve since shared it with hundreds of thousands of people around the world, and it seems to work equally well no matter where someone lives, or what they do for a living.

Are you ready to have fun at an instant's notice?

Are you ready to instantly bring yourself out of your worst moods?

Excellent, then here is what you do.

Create a list of three things that make you at least smile, and preferably laugh, giggle, and even snort, every time you think of them. It can be anything. Think of scenes from a movie, a line from a book, some joke you heard watching the comedy channel, an event that happened with you and your friends. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, or what it is, just as long as when you think of it, it makes you laugh.

Then anytime you are mad, upset, sad, depressed, or just need a laugh, remember the things on your laugh list.

Let me give you an example. This is one that a friend of mine shared with me after I taught her this technique. She is a huge fan of the Simpsons TV show. If you have never watched the Simpsons, it is an animated comedy show, and the writers are known for their combination of wit, and irreverence. Anything is fair game on that show, and at the same time they never take themselves seriously. At the top of my friend’s laugh list is one particular episode where Homer is very upset, and so he goes to buy a gun. He decides what he wants and the owner of the store says that there is a three day waiting period. Homer can’t believe it and he says, “Three days, but I’m mad now!”

My friend pulls this one out of her memory banks anytime she is mad. It is so irreverent, that the minute she thinks of it, she laughs, and then she can’t be mad anymore.

Earlier in my career I used to consult large companies on how to achieve maximum financial success. Often it was me and a team that I was leading, and most of the time the environments were pretty stressful, and the hours very long. On one project, one of the guys on the team named Vince, found this web site called “You Are My Friend.” When you went to the site you would type in a name, and then the site would launch this audio visual mini movie with inspirational words, and this orchestral song, and then at the very end, on the screen it would say the name of the person you typed in, and then underneath it, You Are My Friend.

Inevitably, at 10:30 at night, as we were tired, frustrated, and running on nothing but adrenaline, Vince would type in the name of the person who had been our biggest pain that day, and play the You Are My Friend song. And it always worked. It was so ridiculous, and so funny, that we laughed -- no matter how tired, frustrated, or annoyed we were.

That’s the point of the laugh list.

If you don’t have the best memory, you can use technology to help you with your laugh list. Another person I taught this technique to downloaded a quote from the movie Austin Powers to his phone. Every time he feels like things just aren’t going his way, and he needs a laugh he calls up one of his saved messages on his phone and hears the line “You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads . . .” And it works every time. The minute he hears it, he smiles and is instantly in a better mood.

Let me share one final example with you. This is one that recently worked its way into the top three of my laugh list. In the comedy movie Wedding Crashers, there is a scene at the very start where two people are in very heated discussion. In a moment of utter frustration, one of them says to the other “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me.” It’s so ridiculous, that it’s hilarious, and whenever I think of it, I laugh.

As a matter of fact, my wife and I use this laugh list item to avoid confrontations with each other. Whenever we are about to get on each other’s nerves, one of us will say in a very sarcastic voice, “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me.” Instantly the whole mood becomes funny.

Feel free to share the laugh list technique with other people too. Almost all the things that people have put on their laugh lists and then sent to me, make me laugh too. By sharing the technique with others, you’ll gain all kinds of new list material.

So if you want to have more fun in your life, if you want an easy way to instantly get yourself out of a bad mood, then -- remember your laugh list.

Copyright © 2006 John P. Strelecky


John P. Strelecky is the international best selling author of  “The Why Café” (Da Capo Press; April 2006; $12.95US/$16.95CAN; 0-7382-1063-3) and a highly sought after inspirational speaker on; “How to Achieve Maximum Success with Minimal Effort.” His CD series of the same name has received rave reviews from listeners. A graduate of Northwestern University’s MBA program, John has served as a business strategist for numerous Fortune 500 companies. Through his book, CDs, articles, and appearances on television and radio, he has positively impacted the lives of millions of people. John can be reached through his website at, or by calling 407-342-4181.