Rule Number 6: Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously
Given all that's going on in the world, let alone in your work and personal life, you may find it difficult not to take things seriously. When you've got way too much to do and not nearly enough support, it seems only natural to take things seriously—and to react accordingly.
Yet, a case can be made not to take yourself overly seriously. After all, worrying isn't productive and your time is limited. Furthermore, seriousness is often associated with stress, and stress, if too intense or prolonged, can damage your health. Here's a test to help you gauge whether you worry too much—though if you really do worry too much, you probably don’t need a test to tell you.
Some people suggest that one way to lighten up is to step away from your digital devices. It’s not as if we haven’t heard that advice before, though for some people, of course, the very thought of stepping away will counteract any lightening up.
Fortunately, that’s not the only way to lighten up. It can certainly help to laugh more and to hang out with people who laugh—and to avoid spending time with people who themselves take things too seriously. By the way, a smile, even if you have to force it, can reduce your stress level, and nowhere can you find a stress reducer as inexpensive and readily available as that.
For some people, having a pet serves as a great antidote to seriousness. Owning any of these dogs, for example, would be certain to take your mind off your worries (except perhaps for worrying how you'd be able to afford to feed them)! And if dogs aren’t your thing, maybe kittens—or at least photos of them—can help you lighten up, even if just momentarily.
My favorite story about not taking ourselves too seriously is the one about Rule Number Six, as described by symphony conductor Benjamin Zander in his book, coauthored with his wife, The Art of Possibility. I challenge you, and myself, to adopt Rule Number Six to keep from taking ourselves too seriously.