There were 125 of us when Dr. Kataria and I were leading the first 6 a.m. laughter session at the conference hotel. The morning’s venue was around the hotel swimming pool which was centered among the guest room buildings.
We started as usual with the traditional clapping and chanting HO HO HA HA HA. The group was uber-enthusiatic, LOUD and HAPPY.
Very quickly, an angry man’s voice from one of the guest rooms above us echoed down to the pool, “Shut up! I’m trying to sleep!”
We fell silent for a moment. Then some of our laughter group start shouting up to the unknown complainer, imploring him, “You need laughter! This is good for you! You should be down here with us!” And they started clapping and chanting even louder than before.
Then, as if raining down from the heavens, a pitcher of ice water was thrown over a balcony, drenching some of our laughers.
Liquid message received.
We stopped the session. Urged everyone to be silent, and quietly explained to our group that we must respect that laughter is not appropriate all the time, there are times when laughter and humor are not welcome, and we must not force laughter on anyone.
Whenever you discover that your laughter or humor is annoying, you must stop it. It is antithetical for us to annoy people with what we do. If you annoy others with laughter and humor, insisting even that it is for their own good (Oh, no!) you violate our most important values and strategies. You violate the social contract that guides all of us to respect others and do no harm.
In that situation, it was incumbent upon us to move away to where we would not bother anyone. We scouted the property and quickly found an area in the parking lot and another, grassy area; both were away from the guest rooms.
We moved immediately and held all subsequent outdoor sessions in those two spots.
No more problems.
A legendary teachable moment. Great object lesson, now often taught in our training.
Maybe the groups in India mentioned in the attached article didn’t get the message. Well, they will now, I am sure.
If you hadn’t gotten the message elsewhere, now you know, too!