“Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.”
~Vaclav Havel

Recently I read a story excerpted from a book called The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. The punch line of the story was to “not take yourself so $#@!* seriously.” That advice has stayed with me this week.

When a project at work didn’t gel correctly; when a meeting with a potential client took a “wrong” turn; when a difficult conversation ended badly – all of these moments were opportunities not to take myself so seriously. By fiercely holding on to my view of things, treating each moment as a matter of life or death, or focusing on the “drama” of it all, I simply take myself and my life too seriously. When I can let go, relax, and even laugh at myself, I feel calmer and there is more room for things to work out.

The project turned out beautifully. The disastrous meeting had a surprise good ending. The next conversation brought us closer. All of these situations in which I first chose to feel completely angry, defeated, and frustrated had endings that weren’t horrible. I do believe my choice to stop taking myself so seriously, and to even laugh at my foibles, helped bring about better solutions.

Where are you taking yourself too seriously? Where can you lighten up and laugh at yourself?

The next time a situation appears hopeless or disastrous, take a moment to pause, take yourself a bit less seriously, and perhaps even laugh at the situation and yourself.

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