Management Tips

What can we learn about managing stress from a cheesy Hollywood comedy?

One man’s cheese is another man’s treasure.

For the last little while we have been writing about and discussing a variety of topics around here based on the 4 principles of this site (learn, share, accept and act) and thanks to a lot of you we have had the opportunity to enjoy some healthy engagement. Trust has filled the corridors here, self improvement has been at the heart of our subject matter, we have identified how to avoid seagull managers and we have shown you ways to identify opportunities to avoid that self destructive attitude of entitlement among other topics big and small all centered around the world of management.

One thing is for sure we are certainly taking your growth, our growth and our collective development very seriously. Very, very seriously. So, we thought about that a bit and got to wondering if all this critical management thinking is missing anything.

What do you think? Anything?

How about a little fun? Some humour perhaps? As I travel around the internet and navigate my way through my daily life I am always looking for fodder on management and leadership. I often come across the same style of content; dry, serious and extremely heady. Management is a very serious subject, for sure. Humour, unless you are specifically writing or performing comedy, isn’t normally front of mind when conducting business and especially not in the world of management. Being a management muckety-muck is an important and stressful job, you know? And it kind of makes me wonder.

Why so serious?

So, here I find myself watching the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Not what you were expecting, huh?

If you haven’t seen it the movie is blatant ridiculous slap stick comedy and that’s what makes its message so much fun. Yep, I said message!

Paul, through his naïve, bumbling and endearing ways, sticks to his principles of care, diligence and honour and while under extreme pressure trying to catch the bad guys, get the girl (of course) and deal with his self-serving underhanded employer shows us that a light-hearted approach can help you come out on top of pretty much any situation. He simply ignores the arrogance of the SWAT team, doesn’t let his fear get the best of him or let’s his physical shortcomings slow him down.

Well, sort of…..

Paul is meant to come off as a naive straight shooting goofball and Steve Carr decided that we are meant to see him as a lovable loser. The underdog. Everyone usually sides with the underdog, don’t they? But in this case Kevin James character has a few traits that we all should consider important to our personal growth underdog or not; integrity, respect and compassion for his fellow man. His naive wonder of the world allows him to deal exceptionally well with stress. It may not seem so but every situation he finds himself in he seems to find a calm, humour filled way to make it through. What? The script called for that? Yes, I know THAT but that’s just the point.

Humour seems to be the alchemy to managing his stress.

The humour in situation comedy isn’t necessarily what we are driving at here but moreover the idea that a little fun in your work makes the routine seem fresh, can keep the mood light and simply helps us manage stress. What better way is there to release some tension?

Joke around a bit whydoncha?

Whatever happened to the old fashioned joke anyway? What about a little prank once in a while? Doesn’t that make you grin? A face ripping grin, I bet. He-heeee. You have to love that feeling.

LMAO right now my friends.

I have a couple of buddies who are regular jokers. Sure they take life seriously but the interesting thing about it is that even when the subject matter is serious they prove a little levity goes a long way. Yeah, I know that’s obvious but think about the last time you were in a serious conversation or in a serious meeting. Could it have used a little light-hearted joking to cut the tension?

Kind of like Paul does?

Stranded in the mall with the criminals he’s on his smartphone talking to the SWAT team who is instructing him to get out because they don’t need any wild cards in a situation like this. What comes out of his mouth? “Yes sir, I don’t consider myself a wild card unless I am playing Uno and that’s only if you even consider Uno wild.” He follows that with some nervous laughter and off he goes.

Grace under pressure.

That’s the ticket, huh? Somehow he seems to make his way through a tough situation always keeping his composure. Cool as a cucumber and endearing to boot.

So, what makes Paul such an endearing guy?

Well, after he beats the pulp out of one of the criminals in a tanning salon by pounding the lid of a tanning booth lid continuously up and down on the guy he ties the lid shut with a bikini top to ensure he stays put and just before he races off what does he do? He puts the little sunglasses over the incapacitated criminal’s eyes. He actually cares about the welfare of his adversary?

Yep, he even has respect for this dude. He is human after all.

What have we learned from this exchange? Well, that Ralph loves schlocky Hollywood comedies, he’s always thinking about lessons learned (gawd, almighty) and that there’s nothing wrong with being a nice guy, making the best out of a stressful situation and having a little fun especially when the going gets tough.

“Nobody wins with a head-butt.”  –  Paul Blart, Mall Cop

Well said Paul, you ARE my hero!


About rdopping

interior design guy who loves other stuff; social media, photography, film, food and anything that is good for the growth of the self


13 thoughts on “What can we learn about managing stress from a cheesy Hollywood comedy?

  1. I hear you. I practice the art of insurance. LOL. Can that art be any more boring. I often add some comedy to keep the topics interesting and I do believe my clients appreciate it. Often I have to tweek my approach depending upon the client but other times I can be light and what I consider fiunny. Anyways, I think you are on to something here. Life’s too short to ALWAYS be serious. I know you can be professional and fun all in one sitting. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Turn Around and Swim Life | Lessons| Laughter | Love | May 15, 2012, 06:38
  2. Hey, Sophie! Do you know ? He sells insurance too and there’s NOTHING serious about that guy! What the……? I may have to rethink what I am doing here…..;-) Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I am more guilty than the average guy for always being so damn serious about life. That’s why these blogging things are so good; catharsis, you know?

    You are so right, life IS too short. That’s why I always ask “Why are martini’s like breasts?” Because one’s not enough and three are too many. Have a fabulous day.

    Posted by rdopping | May 15, 2012, 06:48
  3. This is the best advice you can give to someone really. You don’t necessarily know how to act in any situation, but definitely humor helps always. If we weren’t that serious, life will feel more pleasant and gamey and we’ll all have more fun. And by the way, I add it on serious and boring meetings and I like to think it helps in releasing a tiny bit of tension. Great post Ralph.

    Posted by sophiesignin | May 15, 2012, 10:09
    • Oh oh. I think I called someone else Sophie. Sorry Tracy. Thanks for your comments. give me the wrm and fuzzies and tells me I am on the right track with at least one other person. Have a great day.

      Posted by rdopping | May 15, 2012, 17:23
  4. If I don’t laugh really long and hard every day, it’s a wasted day. It takes confidence to laugh and make others laugh, but (if done well) can really lighten someone’s mood and they’re often grateful you took the initiative. It also carries the element of surprise which is in itself something of a re-set button.

    Posted by broadsideblog | May 15, 2012, 10:46
    • Great points here Caitlin.
      I totally agree that people really do appreciate when you can lighten the mood. The “re-set button.” Damn, i wish I had thought of that one. So, so true. I have felt that. that release of tension after a good laugh. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your $0.02 (hope that’s not just a CDN thing).

      Posted by rdopping | May 15, 2012, 17:27
  5. Paul is wrong, you can win with a headbutt. Experience, as in the voice of experience speaks. Not that you needed to know this but… 😉

    Posted by TheJackB (@TheJackB) | May 15, 2012, 17:14
    • Yeah, Jack, you can technically win but at the end of the day your head hurts a lot for it. I agree that the voice of experieince speaks and when it does the crainial unit is not residually concussed. Man, that’s BS but funny. It’s always good to hear this because it reminds you to keep things in perspective……;-)

      Posted by rdopping | May 15, 2012, 17:39
  6. I haven’t seen “Paul Blart,” but I do love a good comedy! In fact, I couldn’t survive the day without humor, from the blogs I read to the webinars I listen to, so it’s awesome that you’ve found a way to use it here as well. Like you, I’m always thinking about lessons learned. Even when I watch TV or movies. So this was right up my alley! 🙂

    Posted by Jill Tooley (@JillTooley) | May 17, 2012, 17:54
  7. Thanks Jill, good to see that you get some benefit from the entertainment experiences you have as well. It’s always great when we find something that we can take away and apply to our lives. Paul Blart was a hilarious movie and simply for the entertainment factor well worth the time. Thanks for dropping by.

    Posted by rdopping | May 18, 2012, 06:26
  8. Good stuff Ralph. Humor tears down walls if it’s used correctly. It’s impossible to get defensive when you’re laughing. I use it a TON when delivering leadership training.

    Posted by thinkingldr | May 18, 2012, 09:30
    • Thanks Stephen. Agreed, a little humour goes a long way. It’s a great idea to teach people how to laugh at themselves too. Too many times do we take ourselves too seriously. Good to see you by here and thanks again for your input.

      Posted by rdopping | May 18, 2012, 14:12

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