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Becoming a Child


Techniques Using humor > Becoming a Child

We forget how to laugh | Playfulness | Leading the way | See also


Being as a child is not only fun, it can build your leadership position.

We forget how to laugh

Did you know that the average five year old laughs about 150 times a day, whilst a 50 year old laughs only about five times a day. This drop off happens in several stages - we start to get more serious in our teens, then get even more serious in our adult life as we join 'the establishment'.

As life assails us and we wilt under the stress of it all we get more and more dour. The really sad thing is that we could clamber out of our depressed state just by taking things a little more lightly.


Humor can be used to signal playfulness, where, when you go into child mode, you encourage others to do likewise, temporarily casting off the burden of adulthood and playing just for the fun of it.

Children also rehearse adult behaviors in relaxed and accepting settings. Think of lion cubs mock-fighting one another. Or games of pirates and heroes as a child. Going into child mode lets you try things out that would be unacceptable as an adult.

"Hey, let's go to Percy's and nail his door shut!"

Leading the way

A common question is who will go first, becoming a child and having fun. One attribute of good leaders is that they are emotionally more comfortable with themselves, and hence can be playful without being embarrassed. When you go into child mode, you are also signaling to other people that you are a leader. If they then join you, they will have signaled that they are followers, and the die will be cast for other leader-follower games.

A trick with doing this, of course, is assessing first the state of the other people. If they seem likely to join you in play, then you are on your way. Even if they look at you like you are an idiot, you can still recover your position by smiling gently at them and poking a little fun:

"Oh, you're no fun any more!"

See also

Transactional Analysis

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