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July 10, 2022

S01E06 - Humor with Elisabeth Cardiello

Did you hear the one about the candle who quit his job? He was burned out. Yup, that was a dad joke that we’re certain substantially decreased your MTBFP (mean time between face palms). Check out our next episode coming July 10th, where we dig into how HUMOR can be used in cybersecurity, business, leadership and life. We chat with Elisabeth Cardiello, founder of Brave Conversations Over Coffee about humor, leadership, empathy and coffee. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and listen in!

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Did you hear the one about the candle who quit his job? He was burned out. Yup, that was a dad joke that we’re certain substantially decreased your MTBFP (mean time between face palms). Check out our next episode coming July 10th, where we dig into how HUMOR can be used in cybersecurity, business, leadership and life. We chat with Elisabeth Cardiello, founder of Brave Conversations Over Coffee about humor, leadership, empathy and coffee. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and listen in!


S01E06 Humor with Elisabeth Cardiello.mp3 


Jason[00:00:12]Knock, knock.  


Paul[00:00:14]Who is it?  


Jason[00:00:16]It's offsides.  


Paul[00:00:18]Yeah. Who? Who?  


Jason[00:00:21]You know, Offsides. The Podcast, man.  


Paul[00:00:25]What? What podcast you're talking about?  


Jason[00:00:27]The Cyber Humanity podcast.  


Paul[00:00:30]Oh. Oh, that. Oh, so. So. Hey. Oh, sorry. That podcast totally forgot. Hey. Yeah. What's up?  


Jason[00:00:37]You know, we're actually having our podcast, like, right now. Now?  


Paul[00:00:41]Oh, okay. Let me put down my lunch. You know, I hope that you can hear me. This thing's on.  


Jason[00:00:47]Yeah. Yes, Paul, you're on. And you're also up for the intro.  


Paul[00:00:50]You know how I love doing the intro, but. All right, sheesh. All right. So, hey, welcome to F Sides.  


Jason[00:00:57]That was Paul.  


Paul[00:00:59]And I think that was Jason.  


Jason and Paul[00:01:02]And this is F-Sides 


Jason and Paul[00:01:04]The cyber humanity.  


Paul[00:01:06]Take it. You took my line. You took my line. The cyber identity got.  


Jason[00:01:11]Really rowdy, unintentionally being funny, which is coming up to the topic. This is the Cyber Humanity podcast where we focus on as we're showing the very human side of cybersecurity. We have a really exciting show for our listeners today.  


Paul[00:01:24]Yeah, I'm super excited. Yeah, I'm always excited about our podcast, but even more excited about, you know, this topic in particular.  


Jason[00:01:34]Yeah, I'm especially excited. I'm so excited. I peed my pants.  


Paul[00:01:38]Well, well, let's move on. Today we're going to talk about humor. 


Jason[00:01:42]Humor, what it is. How do you get it? How can I be funny?  


Paul[00:01:46]Yeah. So being funny is actually interesting. I'm typically not known as a comedian, so this will be interesting to me. Not that we're going to have a show talking about like, okay, these are the 15 jokes you should insert into every presentation, but we're going to have a good conversation about introducing humor and so forth.  


Jason[00:02:06]Yeah. And really around how humor can be used to motivate that elephant, to move that, to get people to change either as a leader or as a practitioner. And how you can inject humor and comedy into some things that you do as a cybersecurity practitioner, just deal with cybersecurity. Paul, Did you know that studies have shown that leaders who have a good sense of humor are seen as being 27% more motivating?  


Paul[00:02:27]Yeah, that's always interesting to me because I'm wondering, you know, like The Three Stooges, would they be the greatest CEO of all time? I mean, is it all humor? All the time kind of thing, but possibly.  


Jason[00:02:35]But a pretty, pretty crazy turnover with Curly just saying if you want to keep flipping over your CEOs every couple of years, not just CEOs, but really at all levels, humor is this powerful tool you can use to move that elephant motivating people, teams or elephants to change. You know, because I feel like in cybersecurity, fear is often the easy way out. Yeah, it's just too easy.  


Paul[00:02:58]Yeah, and I agree. I think fear's too easy. And oftentimes, especially earlier in your career, like earlier in my career, I leaned on fear, uncertainty and doubt a lot like, Oh, we have to do security because X and Y and, you know, you would get malicious compliance or short term compliance. It's when you really engage people got them interested and made it approachable that I saw that people really took it home and actually took the behaviors that they learned in work, took them home. And then I knew I was being successful and I use humor to do that. And being self-deprecating and things like that.  


Jason[00:03:30]Was that fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  


Paul[00:03:32]So you said that was fear. Uncertainty in doubt? Yeah. It's like.  


Jason[00:03:35]The three horsemen of the cybersecurity apocalypse.  


Paul[00:03:37]Know why you.  


Jason[00:03:38]Don't want to do those three. Man. Some of the pros of humor that I've had in my experience is humor is disarming. It helps mitigate bad news. It can help build teams. Having fun experiences together creates a sense of community. It can be a useful to build a safe culture. I've had a lot of use out of it building safety in my cultures because it's a great leadership tool to provide closure. So like humor can be used to build that safe culture by providing a way to break the tension. Like, you know, you rarely laugh about something that creates tension. Let's say we had a big cybersecurity incident caused by one of our team members three months ago. Somebody left an open S3 bucket and had a potential to have all this data out there. And it's not until you really you lower the ID around it till you can joke about it that it becomes safe and that tension about the incident is less. So. I use that a lot, especially when it comes to human error.  


Paul[00:04:29]Yeah. And being a harbinger of doom, you know, that's not going to get your calls picked up if you're the always the person who is sharing just bad news or, you know, eventually people aren't going to want to want to deal with you.  


Jason[00:04:40]Yeah, yeah. No one wants to talk about the sourpuss. You know, use of humor also can affect creativity in decision-making. There's this classic creativity problem called the candle problem. Are you familiar with that, Paul?  


Paul[00:04:53]Is that where you walk into Yankee Candle and you can't smell anything afterwards for a couple of hours?  




Paul[00:05:00]Oh, no. Maybe. I don't know what, but.  


Jason[00:05:03]Maybe that is a candle problem. That's just a whole different candle problem. It's quite a problem.  


Paul[00:05:08]Yeah, go.  


Jason[00:05:08]Ahead. This is a, this is a thought experiment. It's pretty popular. It's you give people a candle, a box of tax and some matches, and then they're asked to attach the candle to the wall in such a way that the wax doesn't drip down on the table below. When the candles lit.  


Paul[00:05:25]I had no clue how to solve that problem. That's a yeah, that's a super interesting problem.  


Jason[00:05:31]It is. Well, you know, this one psychologist, Alan Easton, and her colleagues, they asked the participants who were solving this problem to watch a short video before the problem. Half the participants watched a neutral video. The other half watched a funny video, while only 20% of the participants in the neutral condition solved the problem. But over three-quarters that 75% of the people who watched the funny video did solve the problem. So it's not that laughter, like, makes them smarter. I wish it did. Well, I'd like to say I'm pretty smart, but I'm not that funny. It's not that that laughter made them smarter. It's that it allowed them to relax more and feel emotionally safer. Humor loosened up their mind and helped them see connections they previously missed.  


Paul[00:06:12]Well, I'm curious what the funny video they saw was. I'm sure that's. Did they tell that in the study?  


Jason[00:06:18]No. I was curious, too, because, like, I do kind of go like, well, not everybody finds the same thing funny, you know?  


Paul[00:06:23]But yeah, I mean, I would hope it'd be like cartoons or stuff from when we were kids or, you know, something like that. But it would be interesting to see what they consider funny because everyone has a different sense of humor, right? So one thing I do like to do that helps is like being lighthearted during security awareness training, because security awareness, you can walk in a room and people can start rolling their eyes because like, okay, I need to do this many character passwords, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right. But if you interject humor, it makes people it resonates with you, especially when you start to tell stories like we've talked about in previous podcasts, wrap stories around this, but interject humor with those stories. I think people retain it a lot longer.  


Jason[00:07:04]Yeah, it could be mandatory security awareness training can be the most eye gouging, eye bleeding, boring training I've ever seen. And it's probably one of the one of the easiest places to inject some humor and some comedy and find more engaging security content if you can't build it yourself. So I'm a big fan of that. What is it you use in animation? I've used animated. Oh, yeah, yeah.  


Paul[00:07:26]Right. Like when I first started out, I just did simple PowerPoint slides that just threw facts up onto the page. I wasn't telling a story. First of all, that's the first problem that I had. I wasn't visually telling anything interesting, and then I didn't put any humor in. And, you know, nowadays, when when I'm doing it, it's you have to be very comfortable with yourself because typically security, you know, people expect it to be very corporate and so forth. But when you when you tell stories and put in humor, you know, people are dreading it now. They're not acting. I mean, we haven't gotten so good yet that people are like, hey, I want to see this on my free time. Can I can I see a copy of it? But, you know, they're not dreading the annual security awareness training or the monthly things that we do as much.  


Jason[00:08:10]Yeah, they'll see. I found success where I have had I've deployed security where it is trading that the executives have asked to show their families. So I think if you can build maybe that's a goal that's a good like high-level goal where a big, you know, big, hairy, audacious goal for your training is make it so good and so awesome that they want to share it with their family members or share it with other people instead of just having to get through it.  


Paul[00:08:33]So not just the people on the security team. So, you know, ultimately, you know, that is the ultimate goal is get people to relax. Not not not take yourself so seriously that you can't be open to input and feedback. And humor is a great way to do that.  


Jason[00:08:49]That that center because what's the best way for a leader to build trust? What's the first thing for ability? Vulnerability aren't a great place to start with being funny. You make fun of yourself first. Self-deprecation always works because you only risk offending o me myself. Yeah. Yourself. Yeah. In that case, yeah. You know, I just I'm very passionate about this because I feel there's this misconception that cybersecurity has to be serious. I think we see it all the time when people get concerned about the next hack and cybersecurity teams having defend against more attacks. I get that. It's kind of serious business. You know, we have less resources and there's really just not a lot to laugh about in cybersecurity. At least it can feel that way. But cybersecurity can't be, like you said, it can't be about browbeating peeps or scaring them with punitive actions for security to be a team sport. People have really just got to want to play.  


Paul[00:09:37]Yeah, yeah. And participate. Right. Because otherwise you get malicious compliance, right? Yes, I will comply. But only to the letter of the law. Right. Versus, hey, I see something. It wasn't specifically told to me, but I it's the right thing to do this right. And when you when you build that approachable security program again, using humor, stories and so forth, people go above and beyond what's written down in. Your documentation.  


Jason[00:10:01]Right. So that brings us to our next guest. And for listening. No, we do not have a standup comic. Seinfeld declines. He said no. We actually wanted to talk to this guest first before signing up. Our next guest is a communications expert, and I'm going to do my best to try and paraphrase this guest's extensive accomplishments. But it's literally like trying to give Cliff Notes to someone like Elon Musk or Leonardo da Vinci. Like there's just so much that this person's done. So here's for a fast and not comprehensive overview. Our guest is a TEDx speaker. They've been on Forbes, Netflix, NBC. They've been in front of Congress. Yes. Congressional briefings. Wow. Yes.  


Paul[00:10:47]Telling jokes?  


Jason[00:10:49]Probably not.  


Paul[00:10:50]Oh, okay.  


Jason[00:10:52]Of their many pursuits, they've created the brave framework. The brave framework helps organizations, leaders and families having difficult conversations or be able to have these difficult conversations to build trust, inclusion and improve overall well-being from starting in business at age six. What were you doing at age six?  


Paul[00:11:09]Paul Wow, I don't remember. It was so not inconsequential.  


Jason[00:11:14]You were probably writing one of your 11 books as well. I, like both you and this guest, are overachievers, but okay, so I was probably still sucking my thumb, playing in the dirt and probably peeing my pants like I just did, but not necessarily in that order. From age six through college, Wall Street and landing where they are now, providing leadership and consulting all with this cool coffee theme. And if you if you read about their biography and you understand which we may or may not go into during this conversation, coffee plays a lot with how they started. So I've had the pleasure of working with her in leadership consulting and immediately knew we need to have her on her show somehow, some way foolishly. She agreed it may have something to do with me misspelling my name as Christiane Amanpour when we first met. But hey, we're going to go with it. We got her on the show. Please welcome Elizabeth Cardillo.  


Paul[00:12:05]Wow. Welcome.  


Elisabeth[00:12:06]Ready, laughing.  




Elisabeth[00:12:10]Thank you so much. It's an honor to be here.  


Jason[00:12:13]So excited to have you.  


Paul[00:12:16]So this is interesting because when we started talking, you know, a little bit humor. Wow. Tough, tough topic, right? It can be tough talking.  


Jason[00:12:25]Some jokes.  


Paul[00:12:26]Yeah. So let's hear your best work. Appropriate joke.  


Jason[00:12:30]Oh, boy.  


Elisabeth[00:12:31]Okay. So I know you guys like the elephant and the writer, so my my joke has a little bit to do with that. So what did the doctor say to the man who had an elephant sitting on his brain?  


Paul[00:12:43]Okay, what? What did he say?  


Elisabeth[00:12:45]Looks like you have a lot on your mind.  


Paul[00:12:48]Oh, all right. That was a good one. And I know it's whole.  


Elisabeth[00:12:54]Well, it ties what you do with what I do. And I talk about the brain a ton, and so I wanted to incorporate the two of them.  


Jason[00:13:00]Yeah, that was awesome. And the elephant. Not only the brain, but. And the elephant. I love it. Yeah, I'm a big fan of that one. Awesome. So how did Elizabeth talk to us about how you've seen humor used in what you do?  


Elisabeth[00:13:12]I mean, I think so. The interesting part is when you when you think about having hard conversations, what is the hardest part starting them right? And a, if you have, you know, a structure to do that and you know, if so, when I mentor is he he constantly says people like us do things like this. And when I'm inside of a company, you know, essentially helping them reconfigure their culture, what we what we tend to need is people like us do things like this. And that's a structure for how we have conversations, how we create, how we make decisions, how we deal with conflict, how we do things right. And when you think about like what makes you able to have some of the and address some of these difficult issues if you can make fun of yourself and how much you sucked at starting that conversation, like if you can make fun of yourself and say like, Hey, we have this brave framework that we know how to do, but like, I just I just didn't do that. I didn't follow it. Can I have a do over? Wait a minute. And to your point, the more you can be self-deprecating, the more you can just be humble about like growth is hard. I'm a leader. I'm always growing as a leader. And if you can make fun of yourself as you're growing, you a make it easier to correct, to course correct and two, you make it easier for the people around you to be like, Oh, they're imperfect, but they're trying. Meaning I can fail and I can get up and keep trying too. So I think humor is just an integral part of growth and leadership and culture and making it okay to fail.  


Jason[00:14:41]That is that's you know, I bring that up when I talk about with my teams about humor. You got to be okay to fail. He's brought up a great point because it and I'm not your elephant truck was awesome but the ability to say to look I made a bet you know my joke bombed it's that you know getting over that. Here and showing that vulnerability of like, hey, even I don't even I don't tell the best dad jokes, for example. That's a great use. I've never thought of, of, you know, my in the failure of humor going over sometimes as a leader can even be, hey, at least I'm taking shots on goal and I'm trying to make this fun. And having being - showing that vulnerability is huge.  


Elisabeth[00:15:18]Yeah. I mean it's it's a really good in like it's a, it's the gateway drug to vulnerability, right? Like if you can make fun of yourself, you can start outing yourself. And it doesn't have to be I mean, it could be a deep, heartfelt thing, but if you're way if the only way you can muster to do it is to laugh at yourself and laugh about it and be like, Wow, this is bad. Well, that was embarrassing. If you can do it with a smile, it actually makes everyone around you feel more comfortable with it too. I mean, you know, until you can take on a, you know, the persona of, you know, doing it, you know, more seriously or whatever, whatever works for you.  


Paul[00:15:52]Well, that's super interesting. So I'm typically an introvert, meaning I don't I can talk to people, but I get tired, you know, after in big crowds and stuff. But you actually I just had an epiphany based off of what you said and that that's a great way to even start a conversation. Right. Like I hadn't actually I don't know why. I hadn't actually thought. Start with a joke. Even even a bad joke. Well, disarm somebody just to start that opening conversation. So. So. Oh, go ahead.  


Elisabeth[00:16:22]I was going to say, I mean, I wouldn't I wouldn't classify myself as funny, but I you know, like there are people that are like, I'm funny. I make good jokes. I like, you know, my one liners are awesome. My puns are great. You don't have to be someone that identifies as I'm a good joke teller. It's so you can open a conversation with a joke or you can just open a conversation with like like a light. It could you could just be more lighthearted about things and kind of laugh things off in a way that's like, Well, maybe we can do it better next time. Right? So, like, it doesn't because I would, I would feel uncomfortable if someone was like, start this with a joke because I'd be like, I don't it's that's not that feels.  


Jason[00:17:04]Like we like we did with you. That's great. We go all.  




Elisabeth[00:17:07]It works for you. It works for you. But there's there's something interesting about I mean, something else I will say, well, I'll, I'll hold this till later. But there's, there's a really fun fact about laughter that is really, really helpful in the workplace, but I'll I'll save that to later.  


Paul[00:17:22]Yeah. Well, you know, one thing I think about with humor, right, because sometimes humor can be taken the wrong way, is what are how do you think about humor and keeping it inclusive of others? Is there anything you do like or that you consider with that?  


Elisabeth[00:17:38]I mean, I so the brave framework essentially walks you through how to listen to someone in a way that creates psychological safety. So, I mean, everything we do is around inclusion. I mean, I can I can tell you the neuroscience behind. So in in brain science, there is something that essentially is inclusion. But in science, it's actually called integration. And the definition is essentially honoring and maintaining differentiation, but promoting linkage. And so differentiation and linkage. So what is inclusion? We're different. We're being connect. Like we're connecting, right? Like we're coming together. And that actually happens in our brains, the different parts of our brains that do different things. The more connections there are between those differentiated parts, the more, well, we are literally physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, emotional well-being, all kinds of wellbeing. And so it's an interesting thing to think about when you're thinking about like inclusion and how do you make something more inclusive. And it's really just about like and are we honoring the differences and are we building connection? And laughter tends to be something that builds connection unless you're the butt of the joke, right? I mean, some of it is just like, don't be dumb. Like, some of it is just like, open your eyes, open your heart, be aware. I mean, the the Chinese character for listen is literally character is contains the symbol for one eye, one ear and one heart. So it's like, look at people when you're making a joke. And if you make a joke and it was bad and someone winces, Call yourself out, make fun of yourself. Now, like, wait a minute, did I just messed up majorly? Like I think I might have. What happened for you? Like you didn't like that? What have I done? I didn't mean that. I apologize. You know what I mean?  


Jason[00:19:26]That that Chinese character thing is I am. Louie found myself furiously taking notes and then thought, Wait a minute, we're recording this. I can go back and listen later. That is amazing. But it has I ear and a heart is a graphical representation of that is fantastic.  


Elisabeth[00:19:42]Mm. I love that it's, I mean and when you think about the way that the brain framework teaches leaders and teams to listen, we are teaching you to listen. You're used to listening with your ears sort of passively while doing something else. Right? Listening is not just a function that happens with your ears. If you're if you're looking at people I mean, 55% of communication is facial expression and body language. More than half is just looking at people when they're talking and seeing their posture, seeing them. I mean, like our micro-expressions are wild and our brain picks up on them almost immediately. So if you're funny, people will know if someone finds you funny, you will know if they don't, you'll know that, too. So it's and it's this interesting thing of like, you're listening when you're seeing you're listening when you're hearing the tone of voice, you know, like it's not about the words you say, it's how you said it, right? Like you said that thing to me. But I still think you were drunk because if you said it with a sweeter tone, well, then it wouldn't have felt as bad, right? And with your heart, like you can. You can tell sometimes we're just close to it. But you can tell if. If something's not okay. Right? Like. So listening with your heart is a, I'll say, a not professional way of saying, like, this is the stuff we have to do. If you're not thinking about it, there's something wrong.  


Jason[00:21:06]It is the whole the elephant is meant is moving the human emotional side of what people do. So that's the entire thesis of our podcast is how do you get that emotional heart side in cybersecurity? How do you get it moving?  


Paul[00:21:20]Well, and you bring up a great point that and I'm guilty of this, it's very easy to not turn on your camera when you're in calls, especially as we the last few years right I've been guilty of was like, you know, I don't feel like, you know, putting a hat on or doing anything like dressing up. So but if a lot of the communications is visual, like you had just mentioned, we miss a lot of the interactions that we used to have in person. I mean, there's so that's a fascinating point. How how do you help or what some of the strategies you've thought about in your workplace to help reinforce that visual communication is turning the cameras on and so forth?  


Elisabeth[00:22:02]I mean, any time we do a brave conversation with the team, you can't I mean, we we send out communication beforehand, no matter if it's a team, if we're bringing individuals together that don't know each other, no matter what it is, you you essentially have to be exclusive to be inclusive. So we say very clearly upfront, if you think if you're planning on doing something else and you think you're going to passively listen to this, A, the brain doesn't learn that way. You learn when you're engaged, when you're actually engaging in the process. This is if you want to listen to a TED talk, go to that on your own time. But we're live. We're actually here together. We're all spending this time. And it's so we basically say, like, if you're planning on doing something else that's really important, go do that important thing. It clearly need you. So let it have all of your attention and come to this when you're ready to completely, 100% engage because otherwise there's no point. There's just the don't do it. I mean, it's it is impossible, like so much of the very framework in self-reflection and getting really, really self-aware about what you're what you're doing, that's not creating a culture that is psychologically safe and essentially how you're derailing your teams. And so if you're getting really self-aware about these things because it's all we always want to say, it's about them. They're not doing this. They underperformed. They they, they. Right. But when we actually can turn the mirror, when you're in a brave conversation, you need to be fully present, not doing other things. Because if you don't, you need there's there's no point in doing it. I mean, this isn't a passive learning. This isn't passive instruction. Right? So it's it's important that everyone is enrolled and actually actively says, I would like to do this. And so if someone comes in kicking and screaming that, you know, is going to play.  


Paul[00:23:52]Well, you bring up the self-awareness portion. And that's like personally, one of the things I always worry about, because we've all seen the leaders who think they're the best and everyone looks at them as like, Oh, I hate dealing with that person. What's one of the what are some of the things you do or you talk about to help people, leaders especially become self-aware and to recognize, you know, where, where they have opportunities.  


Elisabeth[00:24:18]So, I mean, we can go into the entire Bray framework, if you like, because that's really like those are the pieces of it. But one of the most foundational things that applies to everything is remembering that it's not about you. We think we make I mean, our dear, sweet little ego's really like that. Everything's about us. The whole world revolves around us, right? No, it doesn't. And so when we when we hear someone say something, someone who is superior to us, someone on our team, our partner at home, whatever, we take that thing that they said and we we see it through the lens of it being about us nine times out. Ten. It has nothing to do with you. Even if they're super frustrated. So a lot of what we work with is. So the V in the Bray framework stands for vulnerability. Not shocking, but it's not vulnerability in terms of, how do I make you be vulnerable? How do I make my team be more vulnerable? Because that doesn't exist. That's not real. You can't ask anybody to be. Everyone always says you're like the Brené Brown of Coffee. Brave conversations over coffee. Right. And as much as I love that and I love her like we're talking about a different vulnerability, more and more talking about how do you identify vulnerability? Because we think of it as, oh, someone said, oh, someone needs a shoulder to cry on. Someone's embarrassed, someone's scared, right? The definition of vulnerability is just the sharing of an emotion. And so that emotion could be anger or frustration or defensiveness. When was the last time you met someone's defensiveness with open heartedness? Right now you don't. You get down, too. You get frustrated, too. You meet them with your thing because you're making it about you. It's their emotion. You're just the one that they're sharing it with. Which is actually an honor. So it's it's an interesting. So that obviously that doesn't happen overnight and it's not a one time thing. So that's why I mean, work with companies for two and three and six months. So but it's it's a process. But the most foundational piece of it is that it's not about you. And it's, it's a really hard habit to break because it is in us to make everything we're I mean, our brain is searching for threat. Right. Constantly searching for threat. Searching for, you know, confirmation bias, which is I believe this. So I'm going to scan the world to prove my ego. Right. I mean, there's a whole the the reticular activation system in our brain is a part of our brain that essentially, you know, when you decide to buy a car and you design the model and then like all of a sudden they're everywhere.  


Paul[00:27:01]Yes. Yeah.  


Elisabeth[00:27:03]How did. I thought I was the first person. Like, why are there? Why? I don't know. Toyota is everywhere. And so there's a part of our brain what you focus on, you actually do start to see more of. So our attention is really important. And so when you're it's important people people tend to talk about it in terms of focus on the good things. Yes, absolutely. But it's interesting to see that focusing on the threat is a version of confirmation. Bias is a version of us trying to prove our egos and ourselves right and making them better.  


Paul[00:27:39]Yeah. And you bring up I mean, I'm so in the security world, vulnerability is a bad word, right? It's weakness. Right. So, I mean, it's a total shift in thinking. Your description of vulnerability is really amazing. And, you know, one that I think for security people especially, we have to understand that vulnerability and security is not the same as vulnerability and communications and relationships. And and that's a really profound statement. So, wow, I you blew my mind on that one. That was.  




Elisabeth[00:28:09]Well, I mean, if you if you think about what would you rather your team that is securing data for however many you know would you rather someone getting, you know, a version of vulnerable and saying like, hey, I'm not actually sure this is working. I'm not actually sure this is secure. I don't know what it is, but I have too much respect for this to let it go unsaid rather than it's fine, I'm great. And then get defensive when it's broken. Right. Like small bits of vulnerability. Small, brave conversations prohibit you from having to have the big ones generally. Right. Like there's there's less powder in the keg to explode.  


Jason[00:28:53]You mentioned part. I want to go back to some things you said about the from framework and how you know that initial engagement about how can or humor can be used to sort of drive that engagement and cybersecurity. I like leading a lot of my meetings or presentations with something that's funny. Either it's a funny trivia question and a trivia contest that I'm doing, I'm learning or some way using some analogy and metaphor. But it got me to think that we'd also talked about inclusivity. That humor can be exclusive because take John Oliver, for example, as a comic who uses a lot of metaphor, an analogy, really funny, a metaphor and analogies. But unless your you've read the book or you know the reference, you're going to get a lot of stuff will just go right over your head with that. And I guess I'm going to challenge that. You don't necessarily need to have everything hit with everybody, and that's actually kind of goes against what I think Paul and I talked about earlier, where you want to go to your lowest common denominator. So you're talking to your audience like a TED. You want 90 over 90% of the audience understand what you're talking about. Right. But I'm going to argue I'm going to throw back that it's okay if you because I'm thinking about cultural jokes. Let's say I have I might have a remote team in India that isn't going to understand a very Western reference to something like Ozarks right there. And I have no idea if I mention a TV show. Hey, so what are you. I forgot the guy's name, but you do a reference like that, they're not going to get it. But what I do, what I recommend doing is you can still do jokes like that, but then make sure that you're doing some sort of joke or reference that is worldwide or more of a chance of that cultural identity getting it, or that could be sexual identity or something of somebody who's going to understand the joke, if that makes sense. I don't know. What do you know? I just talked for an hour and I wasted. Yeah. What do you what do you think about that? About that idea?  


Elisabeth[00:30:40]You know, I mean, I think you're right. I mean, when we so the way that I think about inclusion again is I think of it as it's called integration, but it's the same thing. But the definition is maintaining and honoring difference while promoting connection and linkage. And when you think about it that way, we're not all trying to become. Homogenous. We don't want to all be the same. That is wildly boring. We want to be different. We just want to be able to be respectful and honor differences. And it's hard when someone consistently feels disrespected or left out. And so, I mean, whether it's a joke, whether it's just being more lighthearted with people. I mean, there are a lot of different ways to laugh. You don't have to make a specific joke about a thing that people will get or not like. You can be funny in your tone. You can be funny in the way you deliver something. You can. You can put on a funny voice and just be silly, right? Like you can. You can make people laugh in a ton of ways. And I mean, I would even say so one of the things that I want to mention before. So there it's really important for. Essentially our emotional resilience to do something called completing the stress response. So, you know, when a wild animal gets attacked and then if you see them afterwards, you know, if they survive, what happens? They shake all over. That's a trauma response. And they're resetting their system and getting rid of it. We don't do that. And we go through little micro things every day that we just stuffed down and hold and and say, I should be fine. It's not a big deal. You're fine. People have it worse and you don't do anything about it. Well, there are technically seven ways to actually take that stress response that you felt all the way to the end and then release it. And laughing is one of them. It's I mean, it's like laughing, crying, like deep breathing, moving, doing something creative, having a heart to heart, having a brief conversation, just some kind of, like, fun social interaction. So there are and they're very simple things. It's not it's not rocket science. Just go be human and allow yourself to be fully human and you will actually complete the stress response. And so laughing, I mean, even if you make a bad joke and you're like, look, guys, this we've like we've all been really stressed the past week. I'm trying to make a joke because I really want you guys to be well, I just fell flat on my face and the laugh at that. Right. So at the end of the day, like I tend to, I am also horrendous at pop culture references. I don't know who celebrities are. I don't know what TV shows are. So I wouldn't get it either.  


Jason[00:33:20]Did you get Ozarks?  


Elisabeth[00:33:21]I've seen it, but I couldn't have told you who what the guy's name was.  


Jason[00:33:26]So I go, squid game means that. I'm like, I'm testing the waters. Like, No, no Squiggy. And that's a worldwide phenomenon. But I guess that's exactly the point. Like, not everybody is going to get everything right. Yeah. With references like that. I got it. Yeah.  


Paul[00:33:38]Yeah. Yelling. I heard a takeaway I took. Is that for humor to land effectively? It shouldn't be mean spirited. Right. And I think that's as long as you it's it's with positive intent and it's not degrading to somebody.  


Jason[00:33:54]Never punch up. Never punch down.  


Paul[00:33:56]Yeah, exactly right. And that's a key thing because unfortunately, it seems like a lot of humor comics or whatnot today are in the past, it was always about denigrating, you know, like your spouse or your in-laws or, you know, there's always you don't have to do that for it to be funny.  


Elisabeth[00:34:15]Yeah. I mean, that's to me, that's sort of cheap humor. I mean. Yeah. So laughing essentially replaces the cortisol, which is what happens when you're stressed, the hormone that we use to create more stress. It replaces cortisol with three things with dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. And it so and those are important. I mean, for people that aren't such a dork like me, dopamine essentially helps us learn and motivates us. And so it's pretty important in the workplace. It's also it also helps with the tension. Oxytocin is the empathy hormone. It's it's the chemical that bonds us. So if you can laugh together, I mean, you're not going to laugh together putting someone else down. Like, that's also like if you're in high school, you should be gainfully employed. Like, grow up, we're good. Let's just be adults here. And then endorphins essentially are. So when people feel endorphins, they're they're essentially are the triggers of our feelings of pleasure. And so we can actually endure, I think it's like 15% more pain if we laugh a few minutes beforehand, which is wild, like our immune response goes up. Like we're we're more immune. Like our immune system is stronger. It improves our heart health. It reduces anxiety. Like it's wild how much laughter does for us. But to your point, it is really hard. Two. I don't like that. I think that's why I steer clear of making jokes, because jokes so often are at someone's expense. But it's like, how can we just laugh together? Like, and it's usually making a funny voice make about yourself doing something that is that you can completely own and whole that has nothing to do with, you know, anyone or anything.  


Paul[00:36:03]So before a tough workout or before a long run, like a marathon, what I'm hearing is we should watch like some cartoons. And, you know, half an hour ago you.  


Jason[00:36:11]Heard it wrong. You heard it wrong. And exercise gets you some of that what you should the next time you solve the candle problem. This is the neuroscience explanation of why those people performed better because of those release of those chemicals and why they were able to do that is because they were relaxed. They had the trigger of the pleasure and empathy in their. Oh, yeah.  


Elisabeth[00:36:31]Yeah. There was a there was another study that was similar in positive psychology. They talk about a study where there were two sets of I think it was like high school students and one watched a video about like aging and death and the other one watched literally a video about like puppies and butterflies. And then they watched them walk out of their classrooms and go take a test. And the ones obviously that watched something about aging were hunched over, were walking more slowly, and they did worse on the test than other people. And the other ones who walked out, like jumping, skipping, laughing, and they aced the test.  


Paul[00:37:07]Oh, I wish I had done that before in high school. And so I wouldn't have listened to so much depressing music. I probably would have listened to something much, much more light. So interesting.  


Jason[00:37:19]And I've I've read I'm going to up my last study, but I'm I'm a big case. I don't believe it until you give me a case study that shows and it's a peer reviewed case study. Oh, yeah. This is this is this is more fact than than than just somebody saying, hey, this is really going to that, but do it specific to computers and cybersecurity in the development world, there was a study studies done on using metaphor and analogy and specifically comedy in the metaphor, in the analogy to very difficult concepts within programing. And the retention went over 50% when they would use for example, one was about development concept, where they use what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And the team that had that is the framework of the analogy for it versus another analogy that was not as funny as the idea of what goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas with some off color humor, interjected like 50% improvement in retention and learning through the concept. So the more you make things funny, again, this goes back to cyber awareness training. The more you make it funny and engaging like that, the better it's going to be there. Is that okay? Now I'm doing my last case study was the I've often used from a movie called Spaceballs. It's a very famous although I'm looking at the audience who does a what.  


Paul[00:38:27]I've never heard.  


Jason[00:38:28]Of talking.  


Elisabeth[00:38:28]To. Oh, it's so funny.  


Jason[00:38:30]Oh, it's great. Okay, I got one. Elizabeth knows that. Knows the movie was a famous Mel Brooks movie from the eighties to play on Star Wars. And in the scene they have where the guy who plays Darth Vader has to get a secret code like, i.e., a password, and they find out that the password is one, two, three, four, five, and they make this big joke of it in it going, Oh, who would have that as a password? They're an idea. That's like something you'd have on your luggage. And that was the joke. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, here it is, 2022. And guess what? The number two password was that Twitter released it like the most common password is still one, two, three, four or five. So there's a video that I used that. So it's combining an analogy because it's another thing about a about luggage, not necessarily a password use. It's funny because it's Mel Brooks and bringing this story that engages people about wow, there is like password is really a problem anyways that's a great another great use of you don't need to come up with the humor in cyber you don't need to like we're talking about how can I be funny sometimes you don't need to be. Sometimes you just need to find something else. It's funny and say, Hey, did you hear about that joke? Did you hear about this? Hey, did you see this clip? This is a pretty funny clip and apply it to something.  


Paul[00:39:37]So this I can tell you that I think anybody listening to this is going to be very surprised at the direction our podcast on humor took. So it's actually super fascinating, you know, and it's there's there's a lot more behind it, right? I think we people instinctively think, oh, you are fun, right? Let's add it in. But it sounds like there's a lot of data behind it on just how effective it is.  


Elisabeth[00:40:04]Yeah, I mean, I think many people would probably not think about laughter in the way that I do. And if it don't work.  


Paul[00:40:12]You know. But yeah, I mean, I've learned a lot, doesn't I? Like when I came into this podcast, this week's podcast, I was totally thinking in a different direction. But I am it's it's been very fascinating to me.  


Jason[00:40:27]Well, Elizabeth, I think if if you're not completely I was going to say disgusted isn't the right word, but like, oh, I never want to be on this thing again, but we need to have you back, especially when it comes to when do we want to talk about cyber? Security leadership, which is another topic that we're very.  


Elisabeth[00:40:42]Keen and down.  


Jason[00:40:44]We'd love to have you back. This has been fantastic. Thank you for your insights. Thank you for the science. Bring it back to science and talk about why these things are important. And I definitely readers like readers, listeners and readers. If you're reading this, listening to this, check out her brave framework. Brave. Can you I'll let you take it from here.  


Elisabeth[00:41:06]It's brave conversations dot com and you'll find everything.  


Jason[00:41:11]And and my wife is a coffee aficionados, so we are buying that coffee pot. So you're into it? Yes. I need to read a little bit more, but it's it's a really good place to check it out. It really should also check it out. Check out the story about her father and the coffee. And there's a Netflix documentary, too, on it, correct?  


Elisabeth[00:41:29]There's a Netflix documentary. It's called Coffee for All. I mean, we're one of three stories, but it essentially is about how coffee connects humanity. I mean, in a quick aside, why why brave conversations over coffee? Because what we're trying to build a safety and what is the one thing I mean, I'm not sure there are many other things that so many people across the world see and immediately feel safe. It's let's go for coffee. I mean, like, how many times have you said we need to have a really authentic comfort, like a really real conversation? Let's go to the boardroom. Like, never, ever you say let's go for coffee. And so on top of the fact that I own a coffee company and have for ten years.  


Jason[00:42:05]Great. Elizabeth, it's been fantastic having you on. Thank you so much for taking your time out to talk to us.