Braverman's Blog
Terry Braverman and Company

Clarity is the Ultimate Decongestant

If your head seems to be stuffed up with clutter and uncertainty, it’s time to stop what you’re doing, regroup, and either find a quiet place for yourself or solicit feedback from others to regain clarity. We all “hit the wall” from time to time, but it is essential to be conscious of those times and take appropriate steps to clear our heads.

Recently I was the luncheon keynote speaker at an annual conference. Leading up to the introduction as the speaker there are many things going on in my mind—setting up my back of the room products table, remembering to give my typed intro to the person introducing me, putting a glass of water on the podium box, loading the Powerpoint part of my presentation onto the laptop and testing it, testing the sound system in the room, checking the lighting, tweaking parts of my presentation, etc., etc. Something about the room logistically didn’t seem right, but with so many thoughts pinballing around in my brain I had to leave the room and find space to clear my head and determine what was awry.

The room I was to speak in was somewhat long and narrow, which meant that people in the back would feel more remote from the “action,” e.g., exercises I planned for the group. I asked the audio-visual and logistics people if we could move my stage area so I would be more central in the room and therefore closer to everyone. It took some rearranging of tables and running power cables, but it worked like a charm!

The "Mirthquake" Preparedness Test

How adept and prolific are you at applying humor? Is your humor tool kit sufficient enough to weather the storms in your life? In recognition of the value of humor for our overall well-being, this simply serves as an indicator for you. After each statement, circle the number that most accurately depicts your level of mirth-ability. Be honest with yourself - nobody is watching!

5 almost always
4 frequently
3 sometimes
2 seldom
1 almost never

1. My family, friends and co-workers would say my sense of humor is one of my greatest assets.
5    4    3    2    1

2. I find time to take a “humor break” every day (e.g. read cartoons, watch comedy, play with kids/pets).
5    4    3    2    1

3. I laugh at myself easily.
5    4    3    2    1

4. I am comfortable laughing out loud with others.
5    4    3    2    1

5. I share humorous stories and insights with others.
5    4    3    2    1

6. I apply humor in my work environment.
5    4    3    2    1

7. I can enjoy an occasional ribbing from others.
5    4    3    2    1

8. I consciously look for humor during the course of each day.
5    4    3    2    1

9. People have difficulty staying angry at me because of my
5    4    3    2    1

10. I spontaneously laugh even when I am by myself.
5    4    3    2    1

11. I use humor to help others gain perspective on their problems.
5    4    3    2    1

12. I can find humor even in times of adversity.
5    4    3    2    1 

60 POINTS: You’re kidding, or you flunked arithmetic
50 to 60: Life of the party
40 to 50: Good dinner companion
30 to 40: Minor attitude adjustment needed; do lunch with a comedian
20 to 30: Major attitude adjustment needed; wear a clown nose to your next board meeting
0 to 20: Severe case of CS (Chronic Seriousness); rent a gorilla suit and crash a wedding


Excerpt from "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lighten Up!"

c 2013 Mental Floss Publications

All Rights Reserved

Radical Sheik

Sheik Salim came from a wealthy Saudi Arabian family, but was surely an oddity among fellow dignitaries. On one particular occasion, he stunned a group of American corporate presidents hosting a banquet in his honor, by playing the harmonica instead of giving a speech. Another time, he arrived in Cairo to find no rooms available at a five star hotel. Even a multi-billionaire’s temper tantrums wouldn’t have budged the situation; but that was not his style anyway.

“If I play the French national anthem for you on my harmonica,” he asked the surprised hotel manager, Madame de la Porte, “will you give me a room?” “That’s a funny way to get a room,” said the Madame. “It’s the only way left,” answered the pragmatic Salim. He played "Le Marseillaise" for her, and she found him a room. Composure + creativity = results!
From the Amazon best-selling book, "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lighten Up!" by Terry Braverman c1997

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Take Emotion Out of the Equation

I am an emotional, impulsive person by nature. That doesn’t mean I have to be at the effect of counterproductive behavior. Very gradually over the course of my life, I have learned to step back from tense or crucial situations, hold my tongue when appropriate, and refrain from making rash decisions. Slowly I’ve developed a greater awareness for desirable outcomes, and focus my attention on that rather than being engulfed in my emotions.
This week I was negotiating with travel tour company “XYZ”, offering them an entire edition of this publication in exchange for a dramatically reduced rate for the tour I wanted. Initially their reduced price was not much of a reduction, and the “old me” would have blown them off in the huff (or at least a minute and a huff). “What an insulting offer!” I would have thought. “Screw them!” Or maybe I would have haggled with them over the price, and met with resistance that triggered my frustration.   
Instead, I took a timeout from the circumstance, regrouped and went back to their website and noticed they had another tour that was appealing to me, a tour that I was considering with a different tour operator. But if “XYZ” gave me a better deal in booking both tours with them, I can offer them exclusivity in the publication and they would be the only tour company to get publicity in this special travel edition.
“XYZ” was far more excited about booking two tours from me and gaining exclusivity in the publicity. Therefore, the price negotiated was far better, probably just a smidgeon above their cost, yet they were happy with the deal.  

Paging for Fun

I've spent so many hours at airports that stretching the boundaries of creative time management has become an avocation of sorts.

The little trickster in all of us can be summoned to add spice and ease boredom in our travels. If you are yawning your way through a long layover at an airport, instigate some mischievous fun while you wait, and observe the reactions from fellow passengers. During flight delays and between connecting flights, go up to the airline counter and have them page a famous person or character. Brad Pitt, Darth Vader, George Costanza, and Elmer Fudd are just a few names that have been trumpeted over airport terminal speakers at my prompting, provoking chuckles from passengers and airline personnel (Brad Pitt caused a momentary ruckus when asked to report to a Delta flight gate)...just one whimsical way to lighten up your load while on the road.

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