“If you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right” is a line I have used for many years. If I’m working at a project or spending time with my family and I start to get uptight or stressed out, I say to myself “Ben, you’re not having fun any more. You’re not doing this right.” It forces me back to living in the present.
Forget about how happy you’ll be after you have gone through this crisis, or after you have reached some goal—perhaps paid off the mortgage or accumulated a retirement nest-egg. You may not live another week, let alone another year. Learn to put some humor into everything that you do and especially into everything that happens to you.
There are many situations in which a little humor can help us to calm down and allow us to make a rational judgment. Jerry Lee Lewis says the best wedding gift he received was a videotape of the entire ceremony. When things would get rough in the early days of that marriage, he would go into a room by himself, play the tape backwards, and walk out a free man.
If you don’t like some of the signs of aging that are showing up, or some physical feature God has blessed you with that you wish He had not, make a joke about it. Have fun with it.
I’ve lost almost all the hair off the top of my head and it is as shiny as a billiard ball. I don’t mind. I tell people for Halloween I put on a turtleneck sweater, roll it up over my ears, cover my scalp with baby oil, and go around as a roll-on deodorant. Relax and have fun; you don’t know how much time you have left. You don’t lose much hair after you’re dead.
Have fun with whatever is happening to you. Learning to laugh at yourself is really important. You will then stop taking yourself so seriously and start having a little laughter in your life. What an excellent and easy way to control your reaction to the stress you face every day.
“There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third.” – John F. Kennedy
Take your job seriously…and take yourself lightly. You can be serious without being solemn. In a recent survey of 737 CEOs, 98% said they would much rather hire somebody with a good sense of humor than somebody without one. In the words of Don Seibert, former CEO and Chairman of the JC Penney Company:
The most senior people and virtually all of the chief executive officers with whom I’m personally acquainted have highly developed senses of humor. Humor is a common thread I’ve seen in thousands of meetings in different companies on the most serious of subjects. Humor helps you keep your head clear when you’re dealing with the most highly technical information or difficult decisions where choices are not that clear.
Without your health, you’re dead. Humor not only keeps you living longer but lets you have a lot more fun while you’re at it. According to William Fry Jr., M.D., who has done research on the physiology of laughter for 45 years, laughter is like “internal jogging.” He says laughter enhances respiration and circulation, oxygenates the blood, suppresses the stress-related hormones in the brain, and activates the immune system. It is also a powerful antidote for stress. Laughter is indeed the best medicine!