Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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Laughter in the Wild!

Over the last few weeks, I shared memorable experiences that left an impression on me during my sabbatical. These experiences were invaluable because they gave me fresh perspectives about life, others, and myself. And while the experiences were intense, they were punctuated by several bouts of 
laughter that infused enthusiasm into the journey!

First, quick question for you: Do you laugh a lot? 😊
Sound like a strange question? If so, perhaps that’s because it is a question we don’t ask a lot nowadays!
I think of laughter often because I love to laugh. And I believe laughter is vital in life. Throughout my adult life, I have intentionally scouted for opportunities to laugh. – By spending time with people who amuse me or investing in crafted experiences such as comedy shows. In years past, I was frequently a member of comedy clubs. And during a specific year, I went to a comedy show almost every weekend! By the way, I am that audience member that cracks up at every joke while desperately trying to appear inconspicuous to avoid being picked on by the comedian. But the fear of being picked on was never strong enough to dissuade me from chasing the next laugh!

Why laugh?

Before we go further, I must acknowledge that some people don’t care much for laughter. And who can blame them?? After all, at times, life seems to be filled with more opportunities to cry than laugh. Also, jokes can be hurtful, especially when inappropriately timed or insensitive. While this is all true, such missteps are usually born of a lack of awareness or sometimes callousness. But before we let others’ actions drive our decisions, the worthy question is: What is the value of laughter?

Laughter is an activity that most of us enjoyed as children, but as we aged and the worries of life overcame us, our tendency to laugh drifted away. And several studies corroborate this point. One study, in particular, suggests that healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. The Health Benefits of Laughter (verywellmind.com)

Besides the significant difference in the numbers above, what also catches the eye is the notion that healthy children laugh – a lot! Also, this leads to a natural question: What does laughter have to do with being healthy? As it turns out, a lot! – From relieving pain to bringing greater happiness and increasing immunity, it seems the benefits of laughter are both external and internal. The Health Benefits of Laughter (verywellmind.com).
And these claims urge us all to laugh a little more!

Admittedly, I am not the best rule follower, but I chose to adhere to this sage advice when I went on my sabbatical. Fortunately, opportunities to laugh popped up at every corner during my travels. And I don’t mean etiquette laughter or nervous laughter. I am talking about the real thing – belly laughter!

There’s always a reason to laugh!

One individual who added color to my experience through his sense of humor was an elderly gentleman whom I regard as an uncle. This man is well-educated, intelligent, and accomplished. Also, he has built an impressive reputation as a medical doctor and professor. But surprisingly, buried in the grandness of his professional accomplishments is a wittiness that suddenly and frequently emerges. Because regardless of how ordinary or gloomy a topic of conversation is, he has a knack for inducing humor.
And I experienced this firsthand – many times!

While I was visiting the town he resides in, he hosted a dinner party. And during the get-together, I narrated my experience in a small village town that did not have electricity. As I shared a couple of weeks ago, the experience was trying! Fresh Perspectives and New Expectations – BLOG – akesatia.com

And those who heard the story at the dinner party were sympathetic, and some were even apologetic.

However, the gentleman’s response was very different. He teased me mercilessly about my inability to survive in the wild as he said that I was too westernized to make it in rough terrain. Clearly, he wasn’t aware of my Wonder Woman persona! 😉 But I appreciated his light-hearted tone because it added a smile to everyone’s face.
Notably, his jokes are never mean-spirited. They turn dark moments into bright ones. And that is the gift of humor. Humor enables us to perceive mundane everyday moments and challenges from a light perspective. 

A little spread of Humor and Optimism

In addition to riveting conversations, another source of humor and joy on my journey was a little indulgence I hung onto. – A podcast that I refer to as a dark chocolate morsel because I absolutely love dark chocolate! The podcast is called A Bit of Optimism. And as the name suggests, every episode provides a glimpse into the reality of everyday life – the matters we all face and sometimes struggle with. More importantly, it offers a perspective we can consider to better our lives and the lives of those around us.  

Delightfully on my journey, while in Paris, I listened to an episode called Digging Up the Past with Sarah Parcak. In the episode, Simon Sinek interviewed Parcak, a space archeologist who has seen and done things most of us never would, such as excavating pyramids in Egypt. Ironically, one of Parcak’s main takeaways from her unique experiences was: Those who came before us left signs that let us know they loved and lived. And isn’t that what most of us desire today? To provide value, to care for our loved ones, to know that our lives matter, to leave a worthwhile legacy, and let future generations know we loved and lived. Worthy desires seem so simple. Yet we have a knack for complicating the path to achieving them. Lessons like this and others make this podcast a gem! 

Live, love, and laugh!

And I leave you with this: If you have the gift of humor, I hope you use it to encourage and enrich the lives of others. And if you don’t think you are funny, I hope you laugh with those who use their sense of humor to brighten the days and lives of others. Live, love, and laugh!

Until next time!

For you and to you,



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