I’m consistently amazed at how serious people are.
Or maybe I should say, at how ‘seriously they take themselves’ and their work.
Somehow humor and levity seem to have been sucked out of our homes and the workplace. The world seems to have an air of heaviness and thickness that permeates pretty much everything.
Who doesn’t want to feel good? Who doesn’t enjoy a laugh? I’m not talking about being the class clown. I’m not talking about ill-placed and poorly times pranks. I’m talking about allowing yourself and those around you to enjoy the humor that is frankly everywhere in life.
The best way I have seen this manifest in the workplace is through self-deprecating humor. One of my favorite people that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with is a man named John. John is an incredibly accomplished individual, a jack of all trades who has made a name for himself in the business world, and in politics. John is driven. He’s methodical. He’s got a razor-sharp wit, and even sharper tough (only employed when needed). But the best thing about John, particularly as it relates to his leadership; is that John has a wonderfully infections sense of humor. Even in the most serious of circumstances, John is able to see the absurd, to point out the silly, to allow his staff to breath in the light of a funny moment. John would make fun of himself, he would openly acknowledge when he did something poorly or when things didn’t go well. And it made his staff love him for it. He made himself human, and that made his leadership all the more potent.
Again, humor is not the same as goofing off or becoming an unnecessary distraction. Levity, silliness and laughter are a part of our human condition that should not be excluded from our ‘workplace selves’.
Humor can be a game changer. It can literally change a heated exchange on a dime, it can instantly thaw a cold and tense debate. Humor is a powerful tool that successful people tend to leverage liberally. I encourage all of you to listen to successful people speak. Listen to the way that they talk about their road to success. Listen to the way they describe their journeys. The vast majority of self-made millionaires and achievers will be fun to listen to. You will hear the humor in their voices as they describe their misadventures on the way to fame and fortune. They rarely seem to take themselves too seriously. Listen to podcasts. Listen to a Brendon Burchard, Michael Hyatt, Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson and others. Those guys are funny! They sound fun to be with! They openly embrace their humanity, their shortcomings, their lessons and their failures as they know they are all part of their story.
It will make you more limber in your dealings with the world. It will lighten the load of your burdens, as it humor is designed to help us carry on. It is a tool and a gift that most people neglect to cultivate and develop, and it is an essential part of any meaningful success.
What is achievement if you aren't enjoying your journey? What are relationships if you can't engage in fun and levity? A dose of humor can do wonders. Try it!
How do you 'lighten up'?
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