Wayne Gretzky -What Hockey and Humour Have in Common

Wayne Gretzky -What Hockey and Humour Have in Common

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

This past year, I signed up for the online learning course Masterclass.

Aaron Sorkin, Shondra Rhimes, Steve Martin, RuPaul, James Patterson, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Malcolm Gladwell, Wolfgang Puck, Jon-Kabat Zin and Chris Hadfield were just some of the presenters who filled my head with hundreds of hours of information, ideas and inspiration.

Then there was Wayne Gretzky.

I knew Wayne was The Great One. Please, I’m Canadian.

Hockey is part of our heritage.

I was surprised by Wayne’s presentation because yes, he did speak about hockey but his takeaways could apply to anybody. Even a comedian!

Wayne talked about the power of routine, practice, anticipation, goal setting, having a mentor, having various outside interests and hobbies, keeping your head in the game and perhaps, most importantly, the power of play. Creativity. The importance of not getting locked into structure and a system too early. The need for young players (and comedians) to just play, have fun and have the freedom to discover their own unique skill set.

It was so obvious throughout Wayne’s Masterclass how much of an influence Walter, his dad, had over him.

Walter was a decent hockey player when he was younger, and Wayne’s mother was athletic. Wayne and his brothers and sister all played sports.

Wayne said that his dad built a hockey rink every year in the backyard of their Brantford, Ontario home. The neighbors wanted to know why Walter’s backyard was so green every summer. I guess they thought he was using a secret pesticide or formula. Wayne said it was probably from all the ice that melted in the spring!

Wayne said he loved skating on that ice every winter, from sunup to sundown and well into the dark. His passion and discipline helped him develop the skills that made him stand out in the sport at a very early age.

He worked on his accuracy by firing hockey pucks at a picnic table lying on its side with circled targets. Wayne said he sharpened his shot as a kid quickly because he hated walking in the snow and getting his feet wet while retrieving the pucks from the neighbor’s lawn.

Wayne’s skills developed quickly so he always ended up playing with older kids.

Walter told him that because he was smaller than his older rivals, Wayne would have to

to use his brain and skate with his ‘head up’ to anticipate the play, as well as to avoid injury.

This is where Walter came up with a unique exercise for Wayne.

As Wayne watched Hockey Night in Canada, Walter made him get a piece of paper and draw a rectangle. That rectangle represented the rink that Wayne was watching on TV. Walter told Wayne to watch where the puck was going and draw it on the paper without looking down. Afterwards, when Wayne looked down at the paper, he was able to see the patterns that the puck made during the game. He saw the areas that the puck travelled to most of the time. This later helped him develop a way to capitalize on those areas and helped him to score and set up many goals in the future.

Wayne is famous for the quote, “I skate to where to puck is going to be. Not where it has been.”

He followed the puck, not the players. He learned to anticipate the next play. Those hours and hours in front of the TV set following the path of the puck gave Wayne new ideas for scoring.

The thing that hockey and humour have in common.

Wayne says he is not a psychologist but so many times he sees coaches putting kids into a hockey ‘system’ too quickly. In his opinion, there is too much emphasis on structure and not enough emphasis on play.  He says this approach doesn’t allow young players to learn or think for themselves and thus develop their own style and creativity.

Comedy is similar. I see so many young comedians wanting to replicate somebody else’s writing style, cadence or physical mannerisms. In the worst cases, they actually steal another comedian’s material and do their jokes on stage! Of course, this is a major industry taboo.

I always say to my students: watch, study, and always write but, most of all, don’t forget to HAVE FUN. Play. Discover who you are on stage. Take the time to develop your own point of view.

This is comedy, after all. Don’t be so serious!

No matter who we are or where we come from, when we step out of our comfort zones and allow ourselves to have fun, we have a greater chance of discovering something new and wonderful.

You might not be the next Great One but you might be pretty good –The Pretty Good One! At the very least, you won’t know until you try.

As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”

Until next time, play, have fun and don’t forget to laugh long and prosper.

 

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Feel free to take a listen!

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour

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Creativity, Comedy and Keeping Your Job from the Robots

Creativity, Comedy and Keeping Your Job from the Robots

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

 

The robots are coming. The robots are coming.

Everyone is aware that artificial intelligence is playing a bigger part in our lives every day.

Whether it’s predicting your next online purchase, Nest regulating your home thermostat or opening your phone with face ID, AI is here to stay! 

In fact, how do you know that I’M not a robot?

You don’t, do you?

The initial numbers are staggering in terms of the number of jobs that could be replaced by AI

According to studies at Oxford University and the World Economic Forum, up to 50 percent of human jobs could be lost to artificial intelligence over the next 15 years. 

So how do you protect YOUR job?

Well, that’s where clowns like me come in.

Oh sure, everybody laughed at the classroom clown -no really, I killed every recess – but there is something to be said about the ‘fun’ and the ‘funny’ and the role that they play in our creativity and overall intelligence. In fact, as we lose our sense of play and creativity over the years, we lose our capacity to be genius and perhaps, even more successful. 

We lose our ability to be genius.

In the 1960’s and ‘70’s, an American psychologist by the name of George Land tested the creativity of 1600 children. He discovered that 98 percent of five-year-olds displayed genius levels of creativity. When he retested those same children five years later, only one third of the children displayed genius levels of creativity. By the time the children were fifteen years-old, that percentage had dropped to twelve percent. 

Here’s the good news. We can get our creativity back!

We can stimulate our creativity by learning to play an instrument, taking a drawing class or hey, (shameless plug) by learning how to write stand-up comedy with Judy Croon and her #1 bestseller Stand Up in Ten Steps!

Humour is a terrific tool to keep your content, customers and creativity in a world where the average attention span is now only eight seconds! According to researchers at Microsoft, since the mobile internet was introduced, the average attention span has dropped from twelve to eight seconds. We need all of our creative tools on board!

What humans do best. 

The other good news is that AI is really good at doing routine tasks and pursuing specific goals that we program it to do. However, humans excel at making connections and forming new ideas from previously learned material whether those ideas are related or not. This is known as divergent thinking.

Penicillin, x-rays, electricity, radioactivity and America were all accidentally discovered by people who were looking for something else!  Luckily, they were all able to circle back and find the connection. 

In 1901, French physicist Henri Becquerel left a piece of radium in his vest pocket. When he noticed that he had been burnt by it, he made the connection between radioactivity and medicine. He took the first steps toward developing radiotherapy which is still being used to treat cancer. 

In 1492, Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered America when he left Spain looking for a direct route between Europe and Asia. 

The point is that yes, AI is here to stay. We can benefit from all of its fantastic capabilities, but it’s the wonderful combination of creative humans with AI that makes our future look that much brighter and hopefully, a little funnier too. 

Until next time, laugh long and prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

In 1998, Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, was studying the health benefits of laughter.

He decided to do some tests with his patients.

First, he asked them to stand in a circle and tell jokes or funny stories for ten minutes once a day.

Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

Unfortunately, after two weeks, material ran dry and jokes started turning dark and offensive.

The patients complained and wanted to quit.

Dr. Kataria begged them to stay while he worked on a solution.

Then, Dr. Kataria asked the patients to fake their laughter for one minute. He wanted them to laugh loudly at nothing.  Initially, the patients thought it was awkward but then the laughter caught on and very quickly, it became contagious. The patients laughed uncontrollably for ten minutes. Snorts, guffaws and yes, even the occasional fart led to more uproarious laughter.

Dr. Kataria discovered that whether his patients genuinely laughed at something or pretended to laugh at something, their bodies and brains reacted in the same positive way.

Perhaps, more importantly, Dr. Kataria discovered the medical benefits of sustained laughter. Sustained is the key word. It’s hard to laugh continuously for ten minutes (unless, of course, you’re watching one of my comedy specials). However, we can fake our laughter for longer periods of time.

By encouraging participants to prolong their fake laughter to improve their well-being, Dr. Kataria quickly became known as the Guru of Giggling. He named the program of study

‘Laughter Yoga’.

Since his first laughter yoga class, Dr. Kataria has trained many other laughter yoga coaches.

Now there are over 10,000 laughter yoga clubs in various countries including:  America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, China and Africa.

Dr. Kataria has also worked with the Indian Army.  There are YouTube videos that show these military men who are initially laughing because they have to and then because they want to.

Danny Singh, an English teacher in the UK, uses laughter yoga with his students to help them open up the creative side of their right brain.  I also use laughter yoga to warm up my stand-up comedy students.

Laughter yoga is being sought out by businesses, schools and hospitals around the world as participants learn the physical and psychological rewards of a good guffaw

HOW TO DO LAUGHTER YOGA

Obviously, I don’t have to convince you of the medical benefits of laughter. Perhaps you want to sign up for a laughter yoga class in your city? If you do, here are a few exercises that you might expect to see:

A Greeting Laugh

Participants laugh while shaking hands.

A Shy Laugh

Participants greet each other while hiding their faces behind their hands and laughing.

A Cellphone Laugh

Participants laugh uncontrollably while having an imaginary conversation on their phones.

A Gibberish Laugh

Participants make up a language and laugh as they are pretending to share jokes.

The No Money Laugh

Participants pull out their empty pockets and laugh at the fact that they have little or no money.

Whether it’s a shy laugh, a gibberish Laugh or a no money laugh, Dr. Kataria has certainly contributed a lot of laughs and benefits to our well-being.

What started as an experiment with a few patients has blossomed into an exercise that is now practiced by thousands globally every day. In 1998, Dr. Kataria created World Laughter Day,which is celebrated around the world on the first Sunday of every May.

Dr. Kataria says, “In laughter yoga, we don’t laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh.”  He adds, “I have not seen anybody dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing.”

If there was ever a time that the world needed more laughter, it’s certainly now.

Thank-you, Dr. Kataria.

judy-sig-laugh-long-prosper

Laugh Long and Prosper, Folks.

Until next time, I’m Judy Croon.

 

How would you like to work out only 3 minutes a week???

Judy’s One Minute Shelf Help Video Pick

One of the ingredients from my keynote, ‘Relieving Stress with Humour’ is healthy physical activity. Back by popular demand, here is a fan favourite: ‘ The Truth About Exercise’.  How would you like to work out only three minutes a week??? I’m not kidding. Check it out!

Relieving Work Related Stress with Humour Keynotes:

 

I had a blast this month chatting with so many awesome groups including;

City of Toronto 

Municipal Finance Association of Ontario
(It was an honour to be one of the speakers at this event, along with CBC’s Rex Murphy. Can you believe we didn’t cover the same material? haha)
Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre
International Association of Electrical Inspectors
Hydro One Sault Ste Marie
Girls Gone Camping 
21st Annual Footcare Conference

Comedy


 

It was an honour to host an evening of entertainment for The Gala of Hope fundraiser in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
Thank you Debora Duclar- Liburd for asking me to be part of such a worthy event.

HELPING OTHERS: TORONTO HOMELESS

How you can help Toronto’s homeless every Monday and Thursday and Saturday night. Can you volunteer? Do you have clothes, sheets, towels, etc  that can can be picked up? Would you like to make a donation. Contact Alex 416 -834-7736, call me or visit the website: City Street Outreach – Monday, Thursday and Saturday Street & Community Outreach
Please listen here how you can help the homeless in Toronto.

DOGSTARZ.CA

 

‘I believe the greatest privilege in this world is to use your freedom of speech for those who have no voice.’ – Ricky Gervais
There are some fantastic animal groups in Ontario who are always looking for help.

 

Check out

Speaking of Dogs

 

Shades of Hope Wildlife

(North of Cobourg, Ontario. Open Thursdays and Sundays)

Judy's 1 Minute Shelf Help: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Judy’s One Minute Shelf Help

One of the ingredients from my keynote, ‘Relieving Stress with Humour’ is healthy mental activity. Check out this month’s selection:

 

Welcome to this month’s Shelf Help Pick:How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie.

 

This book has six sections but let’s jump to the section that you’ll probably like the most!
 
Here are the six ways to make people like you!
 
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people. 
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

 

Relieving Work Related Stress with Humour

I had a blast this month speaking for the Surrey District School Board Conference at the beautiful Bell Performing Arts Centre.

 

 

 

It was also an honour this month to kicking off Mental Wellness Week at Lawrence Park Collegiate

 

Comedy

 

Congratulations to my latest class of Second City stand up students. What an extremely talented group of funny people! They will be doing their graduation showcase Weds. June 21st 7 pm at the John Candy Box Theatre.

 

HELPING OTHERS: TORONTO HOMELESS

How you can help Toronto’s homeless every Monday and Thursday night. Can you volunteer? Do you have clothes that can be picked up? Would you like to make a donation? Contact Alex 416 -834-7736.Thank you Jill from Brick Street Bakery Logan/Queen for all the baked goods for Toronto’s less fortunate. Thank you Valerie Rodrigo-Bibb for helping us make deliveries for City  Street Outreach.
Congrats to Chef Jagger, Chef Doris and Feed It Forward on their Soup Bar grand opening this month at Bathurst/ Dundas.
Feed It Forward is a pay-what-you-can non-profit organization that is feeding Toronto’s homeless.
They are always looking for volunteers to help them at their soup bar and farm ( where they are growing food for the soup bar).

 

DOGSTARZ.CA

 

 

‘I believe the greatest privilege in this world is to use your freedom of speech for those who have no voice.’ – Ricky Gervais
There are two fantastic animal groups in Ontario who are always looking for drivers.

 

Check out

Speaking of Dogs

 

 

 

Judy's 1 Min. Shelf Help – The Productivity Project ( Part 3)

 

 

Hi Friends,

 

Hope you are enjoying your summer. It’s going by so fast. Is it hot enough for you??
I have to say, aside from doing a bit of relaxing and traveling, one of the most meaningful things that I did this past month was join a fantastic group of folks from Habitat For Humanity  ( I nicknamed it Habitat for Humidity because it was pretty steamy the day that we went but it was well worth it.)

 

I highly recommend anyone who wants to donate a little bit of time, elbow grease or money to this worthwhile cause. Hey, just call me Queen of the Caulking Gun.
 

Judy Croon

ONE MINUTE SHELF HELP VIDEOS

One of the ingredients from my keynote, ‘Relieving Stress with Humour’ is healthy mental activity. Check out this month’s 1 Minute Shelf Help Video: The Productivity Project By Chris Bailey. This is part three. I’ve attached the other two parts just in case you missed them.

 

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HELPING OTHERS:
TORONTO HOMELESS

How you can help Toronto’s homeless every Monday night. Can you volunteer? Do you have clothes that can can be picked up? Would you like to make a donation. Contact Alex 416 -834-7736.
Please listen here how you can help the homeless in Toronto.

DOGSTARZ.CA

 

 

‘I believe the greatest privilege in this world is to use your freedom of speech for those who have no voice.’ – Ricky Gervais

 

There are two fantastic animal groups in Ontario who are always looking for drivers.

 

Check out

 

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