‘Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 14:13.

This actually happened after a session with a group of company executives, where I’d spent almost a day training them in the art of being still. "From stillness,” I had told them, “Comes a mighty force of energy that will make you the most dynamic salesman or the most spirited Managing Director, or owner!”

We had just finished the interactive session when the general manager who had not attended the course, but who wanted to share in the efforts being put in, walked up, and told his employees, “Now, say loudly with me, ‘J-O-S-H’!” Making a feeble attempt they all repeated after him. “Louder!” he shouted, and they knowing their job was at stake said it louder, “Scream!” he shouted, his veins sticking out and I nearly stepped forward in case he had a heart attack, and they screamed.

The ones I’d just trained looked at me sadly, this was what they had been doing all along, and the comments on social media about their after sales, and sales efforts from disgruntled customers had been shocking, which was why I’d been called to train them.

The ‘cheerleading’ efforts of the general manager reminded me of a story I oftimes repeat:

Many years ago, a renowned psychiatrist found a very sad patient in his clinic. The man seemed on the verge of suicide and was weighed down with bitterness and sadness. “What you need to get,” said the psychiatrist, “Is laughter in your life! I recommend you go down to the circus that’s come to town, and see the fun filled acts of Grimaldi the clown. One evening watching Grimaldi will make you happy again!”

The man looked up at the psychiatrist with doleful eyes and said, “I am that same Grimaldi!”

Yes, as the proverb says, “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart and when the laughter ends the grief remains!”

And this is something that needs to be told to all the ‘cheerleaders’ tactics that managers, and business owners use. Stop trying to infuse energy, it works if at all till the JOSH shout ends. But what works effectively is bringing a sense of stillness into the lives of those who you are responsible for. 

A stillness in you, deeply rooted in a solid rock of faith, automatically sees a great loving family around you, and with this lethal army of love, a sense of determination guides you in serving your customers not because of a 9-5 job that has to be done, but as a God given purpose to bring joy into their lives.

I hope the psychiatrist showed Grimaldi that his job was not just playing a clown, but of a deeper ‘purpose’ in bringing happiness to those who came to watch him. Of course that would only happen if the same laughter came from a deep well of joy within..!

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