Merv Neal from Melbourne, Australia has always been a great help in spreading the laughter movement. We share our moments of highs and lows and inspire each other in good times and bad. Last month, he wrote an e-mail saying he was invited to appear on a popular reality show on TV called The Apprentice. He was also asked to conduct a Laughter Yoga workshop for the show. Merv was very keen on the publicity and the awareness that the show would generate as it enjoyed a large viewership. He asked me for some guidelines and I explained what we can do to make the best of this opportunity. He was so excited as I called him the CEO of Laughter Yoga - Chief excitement officer - ha ha ha.
But alas! A few days later, he wrote back- Oh Shit!! TV people decided to drop the segment on Laughter Yoga. Sensing his disappointment, I wrote to him about a similar experience I had a few years back when I was unceremoniously dropped form a show which was even a bigger shit ha ha ha ...
Heres an excerpt from my letter:
I can understand how you must be feeling, but since I am a born optimist let me explain that every shit which happens, it happens for a reason and it is good for you. You can view it from a different perspective.
In fact, with this shit you have moved one step towards greatness. You must be wondering what is so great about being dropped from a show. Well then, just read my story which will tell you that I had faced a much bigger mess some years ago in UK.
I was invited to participate in a talk-show Richards and Judy which had a viewership of millions. I was thrilled. A black Mercedes limousine was sent to take me to the studio in London. After a hearty breakfast, I spent nearly half an hour getting my make-up done. I invited all my laughter leaders from London to join me and demonstrate Laughter Yoga. Everyone was excited and well prepared. We all waited in anticipation of a call, which never came. I was in the Green room with make-up for nearly 2 hours wondering what could have happened. Suddenly, all lights were put off in and the show ended. Now this was something we were not ready for.
After an agonizing wait, the producer finally appeared and profusely apologizing broke the upsetting news that due to lack of time our program had to be canceled. That came as a rude shock to all of us. Some leaders started fuming and fretting. They felt terrible and thought the whole thing was ridiculous.
As the negative energy was building up, I started laughing loudly and soon everybody joined in. People in the studio were stunned at our behavior. Instead of being angry, here we were all laughing. As the news spread to the hosts of the program, they requested us to come back the next day for the show. But, the leaders were adamant not to return. On the contrary, I thought that if we did the show, we would still be able to promote Laughter Yoga to millions of people. We should not dwell on what happened.
Against everybody's wishes, I decided to go back the next day. It was the same long travel of four hours in the limo, make up was done, but this time we were on air. The show went very well. People appreciated the positive attitude despite all the mess that happened. As a result, we got enormous publicity and more opportunities to spread laughter clubs in UK.
In retrospect, I wondered if I had taken the fiasco to heart as it hurt my ego, it would have done no good to the laughter movement. I would have lost out on the great exposure and promotion we got. Therefore, it is wise to convert our frustrations into fascinations as there is nothing more valuable than being positive and maintaining a calm attitude in the face of a crisis.
So, dear Merv, it does not matter if they dropped the LY show. One thing is sure, they are now aware of Laughter Yoga, and this will manifest sometime later. It might even bring even far better awareness. Who knows?
I totally believe we have no control over what happens to us, but we have full control on what we do when any sort of a mess happens.
Remember-whatever happens; happens for a reason, and it is good for you. And this I have learnt from Laughter Yoga.