One of my favorite anecdotes I repeat is the one about going to the recreation center to exercise and to lift weights. I point out that I had to cut down on the weight lifting because I was bulking up, and many people thought that I was taking steroids. As a general rule, that gets quite a good laugh, and at age 70, when I tell this story, it is funny. However, if a young, husky and healthy 30-year-old were to follow my example, it would not be funny. Instead, it would sound like his ego had gotten the best of him.
The same is true with ethnic jokes. Jews can tell jokes about fellow Jews, and everybody laughs at the stories. African Americans can tell jokes about other African Americans, and again, audiences will laugh. Some of us can joke about "Bubba" and people will laugh, but when someone outside the circle tells a joke about those inside the circle, it comes across as "racist" and insensitive. The same is true when we tell certain stories about members of the opposite sex.
All of the above is true -- unless we use the humor to put down our own sex, race or surroundings. Here's an example: A judge in divorce court declares, "I'm going to give the wife $200 a month." The husband responds to the judge, "That's really nice of you, Judge -- I'll try to send her something from time to time myself."
The point is that everyone enjoys a good joke, but we must pay attention to the way we tell the joke. It must be in good taste, and we must make certain that we are not offending anyone in any way. Remind yourself that humor should be taken lightly, and it will always help you in your climb to the top. See you there!
To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.