Levity: Don’t Ever Take Yourself too Seriously
I want you to deeply ponder the quote in the above image. “Levity is the lubricant of a crisis.” This point is crucial for leading a fulfilled and happy life. All too often we take ourselves too seriously; people feel more important than they are, make mountains out of mole hills and put far too much pressure on themselves in many situations that carry no real pressure at all.
If you recall from the previous post, we shared that “happiness is greater than or equal to your perception of the events in your life, minus your expectation of how life should behave.” Given this “happiness equation,” our perception of the events in our life is a key aspect of our personal sense of fulfillment. How you perceive yourself and your situation is equally as important as your actual situation!
If you analyze any elite performer from the SEAL Teams, to professional athletes, to your startup CEO, you will find that they are most effective when they have achieved their “flow state.” The flow state is the space where our breathing and heart rate are controlled; our senses are elevated, but not so much so that they impede our ability to perform, think or act. In other words, we are stimulated but not overstimulated. The reason that any of this matters is that getting too agitated or too overexcited can actually be detrimental, and not helpful, to performance in any medium.
Levity, allows us to dial back our external stimulation and “lubricate a crisis,” whatever that crisis may be. We can expand “crisis” to encompass any negative, or stressful, situation we could potentially encounter on any given day. Stressors are a fact of life and are oftentimes unavoidable; however, we can control the additional stress that results from our responses to these situations.
Failure is required for success, so charge forward with your best efforts and realize that sometimes that won’t be enough. Realize that sometimes you will fall short of your goals, or disappoint those you love, or make a mistake in one of the infinite number of interactions that we experience in our lifetimes. Instead of taking these things to heart or acting like every decision you must make is a matter of life and death, step back and smile. Laugh off the disappointment, because it will pass, and adjust course with the knowledge gained from your blunders. At the end of the day realize that our time on this planet is brief, and none of us are as important as we may believe ourselves to be.
So next time something bad happens, or you slip and fall, take a second to smile and realize that, in the grand scheme of your life, this moment is not as important as it may seem. Always be able to smile and laugh at yourself, because at the end of the day we are all human.
Until next time.