Roger von Oech

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Michael Wagner

Great question Roger.

I worked for a wonderful sales director that was always under pressure from top management and good at protecting his sales team from what he had to face.

I asked him once how he handled the pressure because it was clear he knew how to loosen up.

He told me he had a refrain that helped him - "I was looking for a job when I found this one." Reminding himself that he could always get another job helped keep him less serious.

I have added a couple refrains I tell myself when I get too serious about people issues and need to lighten up:

- "if it involves people it doesn't have to make sense"

- "where there is light, there is bugs"

This gives me a new perspective and helps me loosen up.

Roger von Oech

Thanks, Mike. These are jewels — especially "if it involves people it doesn't have to make sense."

Roger (hanging loose today)


Hi Roger. I put on music - nice and loud - and dance while I sing along. Paul SImon's Graceland is a favourite for this therapy. I sing and dance all alone, in the kitchen or the office, whichever. If someone sees I don't care that much. It makes me laugh, it gets the blood flowing and it stops me taking everything so seriously.

Paul McEnany

I've got to second Maggi on this one, music is the ultimate loosening up tool. Just relax and see where it takes you...

Roger von Oech

Maggi and Paul: I agree with both of you . . . music works wonders.

Do you think the iPod is making the world a looser place?


I'm not sure about that (and I don't own an iPod!!) - for me, having the music out loud is really important. not just in my ears. I think the private space an iPod creates is a totally different, interior thing, and for me loosening up involves getting in touch with "out there" - getting outside of my head, not further into it.... thoughts?


I agree. The music should be loud, upbeat and singable. On my way to stressful meetings, I crank up the music, bang out the rhythm on the steering wheel and sing as loud as I can. Besides entertaining the other commuters, I work off some nervous energy and arrive at the meetings with a really positive attitude. Not really sure how or why it works...

Daniel Scocco

I think people should be able to make fun of themselves, if you are then invitably you will loosen up.

Nice post.

Timothy Johnson

Keeping around old sitcoms (my favorites are Frazier, The Dick Van Dyke show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Newhart) is my favorite way to loosen up. Watching things that I know will make me laugh is very relaxing.

The music suggestion is great - especially Susan's build that it needs to be singable. At this time of year, Karen Carpenter's Christmas CD is the most sing-along-to music there is. Sinatra and Ella work well year round.

Roger von Oech

Maggi: Good differentiation between the "out there" space of loud music, and the more personal -- perhaps meditative -- experience of listening to music with earphones.

Daniel: I agree: you've got a funny blog. (Just kidding! No, I'm not. Yes, I am.)

Timothy: Great suggestion. It reminds me that I collect old televison commercials going back to the late 1950s. When I watch them I get transported to a different space.

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