Humor in business is no joke | Harvey Mackay

Life is funny.  As a businessman, public speaker and author, I especially love clever stories with a message because they make important points more memorable. 

Over the years I have collected a filing cabinet full of great material.  Since April is National Humor Month, I thought I would package up some of my favorites which cover a variety of topics.  Enjoy!

Unless you are a one-person shop, teamwork is not optional.  This story says it all: 

The loaded minivan pulled into the only remaining campsite.  Four youngsters leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up a tent.  Two kids then rushed off with their dad to gather firewood, and two others helped their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.  A nearby camper marveled to the father, “That is some impressive display of teamwork.” 

“Actually,” the father replied, “I have a system.  No one goes to the bathroom until camp is set up.”

It’s all a matter of perspective.  When you wake up every day you have two choices.  You can either be positive or negative; be an optimist or a pessimist.

It’s like the two salesmen who fell on hard times and ended up broke in a small town in Montana.  They needed money to move on and learned that the town paid $20 each for wolf pelts.  They sensed the opportunity.  That night they set out with a couple of clubs and some borrowed supplies and made camp in the distant hills.  They were no sooner asleep than one was startled by an eerie howl.  He crawled outside the tent to find himself surrounded by hundreds of snarling wolves.  Back into the tent he crawled and shook his buddy.

“Wake up!” he cried.  “Wake up!  We’re rich!”                  

Believe in yourself, even when no one else does.  At the end of a particularly frustrating practice one day, a football coach dismissed his players by yelling, “Now all you idiots, go take a shower!”  All but one player headed toward the locker room.  The coach glared at him and asked why he was still there.

“You told all the idiots to go, sir,” the player replied, “and there sure seems to be a lot of them.  But I am not an idiot.” 

Confident?  You bet.  And smart enough to coach that team someday.                                                                   

Take care of the customers you have, and they’ll take care of you.   A man who had lived an exemplary life died and was given a preview of heaven and hell.  In heaven, people were peaceful and serene and smiling.  In hell he was given a stretch limo, the best of food and drink and an endless list of parties.  He chose hell.

As soon as he walked through the gates, the devil began flogging him with a whip and he was thrown into a fiery chasm.  “Wait!” he said.  “Yesterday I was treated like a king, and now this.  Why?”

“Ah,” said the devil.  “Yesterday you were a prospect.  Today you’re a customer.”

If you’re not in it to win it, you’ve already lost.  Determination is what keeps us hammering away.  It’s like the young high school sophomore who was doing his best to land a job for the summer and the interview wasn’t going so well.

“Look here,” said the office manager, “aren’t you the same young man who was in here a week ago?”

“Yes, sir,” said the applicant. 

“I thought so.  And didn’t I tell you then that I wanted an older person?”

“Yes, sir,” said the young man.  “That’s why I’m back.  I’m older now.”         

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor. Albert Einstein’s driver used to sit at the back of the hall during each of his lectures.  After a period of time, the driver said to the famous scientist, “Boss, I’ve heard you give that speech so many times … I could give it in my sleep.”

So at the next lecture, Einstein and the driver switched places, with Einstein sitting in the back, dressed in the driver’s uniform.  The driver gave the lecture flawlessly.  At the end of the lecture, a member of the audience asked a detailed scientific question.  Without missing a beat, the “lecturer” replied, “Well, the answer to that question is so simple, I’m going to let my chauffeur who is sitting in the back answer it.”      

Mackay’s Moral:  You can take your work seriously, but be careful not to take yourself too seriously.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}