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Article Date: 11/1/2013

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Humor as a Part of Success
lessons learned

Humor as a Part of Success

Achievement and humor go together like Abbott and Costello.

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JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

My opponent has accused me of being two-faced,” Abraham Lincoln said during a debate with Stephen Douglas. “You know that can't be true. If I were two-faced, do you think I'd be wearing this one?”

Lincoln was noted for his humor as well as his success. I'm convinced that the two go together — most successful people I've known have had a good sense of humor, and despite their success did not take themselves too seriously.

There is much proof of that in the eye care field. One example is my friend Dr. Irving Bennett.

Irving Bennett, O.D.

There is not space to list all of Irv's accomplishments that benefited the optometric profession. In addition he not only had a highly successful practice but also an innovative one.

The lectures he gave on practice management were laced with humorous illustrations. I remember one of the stories he told in order to illustrate how easy it is to be misunderstood in communicating if you're not careful:

“Do you have any Chinese Jews?” asked the customer of the Chinese waiter in a Chinese restaurant.

“No,” replied the waiter. “Only orange juice and tomato juice.”

Ben Milder, M.D.

Dr. Milder was an exceptionally successful ophthalmologist, with a delightful sense of humor. Among his accomplishments was coauthoring the book, The Fine Art of Prescribing Glasses Without Making A Spectacle of Yourself (Triad Publishing Company, third edition 2004), which was awarded an “Ammy” as Best Medical Book of the Year in 1979 by the American Medical Writers Association.

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ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

Such was his whimsy that he inserted funny poems in an otherwise very serious book. For example, his “Introduction” began with this:

By now you all know it's a fact: There are machines that can refract.

That's progress, and it must be faced,

But you will never be replaced.

There are some things machines won't do:

Complaints will still come back to you!

Jim Thomas, editor

The editor of this journal, Jim Thomas, takes his humor to the stage by doing stand up comedy.

Jim is editorial director of not only Optometric Management, but also of Ophthalmology Management, Retinal Physician and Ophthalmic Professional.

Some of his stand-up comedy shows a great understanding of the vagaries of life in general:

▸ “Yesterday while I was peddling my bike as hard as I could, an 85-year-old woman passed me. Yes, it was embarrassing to be beaten by someone more than 30 years my senior. But what really hurt was the fact that she was jogging.”

▸ And my favorite: “I'm not good with technology. My kids gave me a smartphone for my birthday, and every time I try to answer it, I take a picture of my ear.”

Lighten up

“Take your work seriously, but yourself lightly,” is the way noted authority on humor in stress management, C. W. Metcalf, puts it. OM

JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: November 2013, page(s): 66

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