Career Advice: My advice? Get a sense of humor

Life is tough. Every day we face different trials and tribulations which cause us considerable stress. Conversations often have heightened tension and can end up hurting someone. But, this can all be alleviated with a simple change in your point of view.

That's right. Get a sense of humor.

Laughter is the best medicine. It single-handedly eases tension and brightens days. Who is the person that you simply desire to be around? The one who can laugh at life's inequities and help you remember that everything is going to be alright.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: "With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die." If Lincoln can get through countless lost elections and a Civil War with laughter, we can make it through Monday morning.

Humor is about perspective. Anything can be seen as mind-numbing and utterly frustrating or it can be recognized as a step up the ladder to inevitable success.

Here's another great quote from the movie Van Wilder: "Don't take life too seriously. You'll never make it out alive."

Many people get caught up in the day to day and forget to see the big picture. Laughter distances you from the situation and keeps you from getting trapped by life's challenges.

My mom always said, "It'll make you laugh or it'll make you cry." We always chose laughter in the Norman household because tears make too much of a mess. Both exercises are cathartic, but I prefer the mood that follows a good laugh.

The truth is people are funny and the things they do are even more hilarious. It is a blessing to be able to see that.

Action Plan: Make a decision today to start to look at the world with a new light. Learn how to see the subtle ironies in life, because they are hysterical. Don't be afraid to laugh loud and proud!

I look and sound like an absolute idiot when I laugh. I laugh at my own jokes and I wouldn't have it any other way. You need to enjoy life because it's the only one you've got.

Get funny friends. (I've got some great ones.) Rent a comedy. Read some jokes. Check out some clips on YouTube. Arm yourself with artillery that you can use to brighten up someone's day. I'm a big fan of Dane Cook skits, Chuck Norris quotes and '80s music lyrics.

The key to getting a sense of humor is giving it a try. Who is the only person you can laugh at and not offend? You. So, laugh at yourself and invite others to join in. You'll be the life of the party.

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. So, keep laughing and I guarantee life will begin moving in the right direction. That's what I always bank on.

Joseph Norman is cofounder and editor-in-chief of a weekly e-Zine, The VIP Profiles. For more information, check out