During my spring trip to The Baltics, we stopped in Riga, the “Paris of the East.” The city lived up to my expectations. The old city was beautiful. The cafes were alive. The food was outragiously delicious.
In a part of the world known for political drama, oppression and economic distress, what I found most profound, was the humor and joy with which the people go about life. Certainly, Latvians have had much to be happy about. Since the demise of the former Soviet Union, Latvia has experienced remarkable economic growth and political freedom. Still, when the United States suffers a cold, the world catches the flu. That was true in Latvia as well, where huge numbers of people lost there jobs in the last few years. Nevertheless, in Riga, people were out in the streets having fun, funny fun, downright silly fun.
Our first day in Riga we discovered that they were celebrating “Everyone Loves A Blond Day”
There were teenagers rocking in the downtown park in Riga.
And there were some very good musicians who must have majored in marketing, because they were brilliant when it came to creating a unique image for the band. Check out the young men dressed like babushka (grandma).
The Rigans provided a good lesson for us on how to enjoy life. With all the problems they face, they still know how to have fun, to make light of problems and most of all, to laugh out loud! Their humor is not a pessimistic, defeatist humor. These Rigans know how to work – they make it so much fun that they can work and work and come home laughing.
For us in America, perhaps the problem is that we have had so much abundance for so many years. Why it should be a shock that we have been living on credit is surprising. In business, especially real estate, the manta has always been to grow rich on “other people’s money.” But we have realized that the underlying proposition is that to live on other people’s money we had to live on other people’s credit. So, times are not what they were.
But let’s take a lesson from Riga. There still is so much to be happy about. So much good in the world. Even in work, we often find friendship… and sometimes even love. If you don’t think life is funny, just watch Jay Leno or Chris Rock, Everyone Loves Raymond or The King of Queens. There is always something good for a belly laugh.
Something funny happens every day at my office. Sometimes I have to laugh … for want of a better alternative. Life goes on, lessons are learned, we grow a little wiser. Every business should have a minimum quota of funny bone moments. It’s one of those intangibles that keeps people employed and your customers coming back for more.
Was your business funny today?