Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Number One Rule I've Learned--Seriously

"Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don't take yourself so seriously. "~Norman Vincent Peale
"It is not materialism that is the chief curse of the world, as pastors teach, but idealism. Men get into trouble by taking their visions and hallucinations too seriously. "~H. L. Mencken

Even "fun and games" has it's spot in life.
Ooooo.  You get two quotes today.  But I feel there is a need to emphasize the theme of taking oneself too seriously.  It's a slippery slope to discuss this topic because there are issues that are serious such a poverty, abuse, murder, human trafficking, etc.  We must approach them with a serious eye and solid mind before we can have an adequate discussion or even begin to work towards solution.  But taking oneself too seriously is another matter.  It takes us out of the realm of approaching serious matters into the world of pride (with a capital 'P') and inflated ego.

The number one rule taught to me by an adult tormentor: The minute you start taking yourself too seriously is the minute you give people permission to make fun of you.  How did I determine this?  Well, he told me. One day I had completely lost it.  He was teasing me about a pair of shoes I was wearing when I started yelling at him for being such a jerk. My rage jump away from the topic of shoes to attack him: He didn't take me seriously (not that I was really saying anything serious at the moment).  He had no idea how the world worked and he would be sorry for not seeing that I was right.  He was calm while I flipped my lid, sitting back and enjoying my outburst.  Then, after my final act of outrage in which I knocked his empty coffee cup to the floor, he shook his head and said, "You know why I make fun of you.  It's because you take yourself way too seriously."

And there it is ladies and gentlemen.  The number one rule.  I've seen it played out time and again in several office environments, with all types of personalities, and even recently on Facebook. It's okay to take an issue seriously. It's okay to speak your mind and mean it.  It's okay to declare something as so.  Yet timing (Law 35 of the 48 Laws of Power) is everything.  And really, so is the surrounding situation.  If there is nothing serious going on then taking yourself seriously makes you a serious target since your insecurities become blatant.  And while some people are malicious with their teasing, most people are just trying to help you "lighten up" and enjoy life while it's good.  They're trying to get you to pace yourself before the serious realities creep back into our lives and joy and happiness seems like a fleeting memory.

So to my friend Daniel specifically:  Yes, Christ in Christmas!  And yes, I am proud that you believe so deeply the way you do.  But don't spend your holiday break bummed because the rest of us are a bunch of "gluttonous, materialistic" (insert religious affiliation here; my self-deprecating words not his).  Because God knows we don't want you to be bummed about it.  Props to The Man on his birthday hombre and Merry Christmas.

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