When people think of character strengths, humor isn’t usually at the top of the list. Some the more popular choices are gratitude, integrity, wisdom and courage.

People who are considered strong in character draw others to them to learn what they know about life, relationships and finances. Yet, the same could be said about those with a sense of humor. People flock to those who are funny! Have you ever been to a comedy show or seen a stand-up act? They definitely draw in a crowd!

On the flip side of the coin, humorous people have also been labeled as class clowns and a distraction. Leaders are not described as clowns, which is probably why it’s hard to see humor as a strength instead of a weakness, as far as personality traits are concerned. In recent years people have started to realize that humor is an important character strength, just like the other heavy hitters.

Humor is a combination of important character strengths and in some cases assists in sharpening others.

Working on Strengthening Your Humor

Everyone can be humorous and just like anything in life, if we don’t use it, we lose it. The same can be said about the ability to be funny. Often adults get so tied up in their careers and making sure the family is taken care of that they forget how to be funny. If you want to be strong, you go to the gym. If you want to be smart, you read a book. And if you want to be good at sports, you practice. Same thing goes when strengthening your funny bone.

There are groups for just about any difficulty that people may be faced with throughout the world. Single parents, substance abuse and grief groups are examples of some. Humor is no exception to the rule. In this group people are encouraged to laugh and share funny stories or jokes.

The whole purpose of this group is to assist people in reconnecting to laughter and humor, but there is so much more value in attending and participating. In a typical group setting, everyone participates, which enhances your social skills.

If you’ve decided to tell a funny story, that’s bravery in action. When you deliver a punch line, your observation skills are honed-in on the crowd and how they might respond. If you are part of the audience, your listening skills are given a workout while you are being thoroughly entertained.

Just look at all of the character strengths utilized in a simple group meeting. Not too shabby for someone who just needed a reminder on how to be funny or how to laugh.

Fine Line Between Leader and Class Clown

Just like anything in life, it is important not to over do it. We don’t want to become such a clown that it effects our relationships, business and personal, in a negative way. People need to be able to choose the correct time to show off their new ability to laugh. Choosing the wrong time to burst out in laughter or tell a corny joke can set off a disagreement of epic proportions.

Once a person remembers how to be humorous, they now have built upon several characteristics, all of which are seen in great leaders. They are wise, have courage and can lower their stress in awful situations through laughter. When a person smiles during a stressful situation, it shows others they are cool and collective when facing adversity.

One thing everyone looks for in a leader is how they handle things when they don’t go as planned. Be cautious and don’t over do it. Nobody will follow someone who appears to be immature or doesn’t take anything seriously. It is a fine line, but a good leader must be able to walk evenly on both sides.

According to most research, there are twenty-four character strengths which could determine what type of person one becomes. For some people, finding humor may be more natural than to others. It doesn’t mean it’s not there or you just aren’t funny. Think about it. The most sound and grounded person you know probably wasn’t just born that way. Life probably threw them some curveballs and pushed them down a few times, and they learned from it. They learned how to react and when a reaction wasn’t necessary.

Try out some humor. Lighten up. Do something funny or just act silly. You may not be a pro at first, but it’s addictive. Why? Because it feels good to feel good.

If there’s a character strength we could all use a bit more of, it’s definitely humor!