Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why So Serious?

Life is funny, I mean really funny. If we take the time to step back and look at the things that stress or frustrate us, we can see the humor. You know, as if it was happening to someone else. Getting fired on your day off, running out of gas just as your trying to flirt with the person in the car beside you, to getting rear ended by an ice cream truck; all things that could make for a horrible situation, but still funny. It’s all about perception.

We’re all familiar with the Batman movie where the demented Joker laughs and utters the phrase, “why so serious?” Granted it was followed by some psychotic behavior and a homicide, it was still valid. “Why?” Why do we allow situations to have total control over our mind, body, spirit, and being? The reality is, regardless of how we feel about the situation, it is what it is. So instead of magnifying the problem with negative thinking, which usually leads to worse decision making, let’s change our mindset, our perspective.

I was given the best advice on how to see life situations; if you had to walk from Los Angeles to San Francisco, no one was coming to pick you up or save you, what would you do? You can yell, scream, curse at all the air conditioned cars driving by, you can even fall to the ground and cry, but in the end you have to start walking. How you feel about it has nothing to do with putting one foot in front of the other, so if you can’t change the situation, change the perception. You can talk to yourself, sing a loud, even count the steps. Really, you can whistle the theme to “Rocky” as you jog and air punch. It’s all about your mindset and attitude.

I can remember having to walk several miles home one night. It was late and cold. I could have easily filled myself with anger, frustration, and a host of other non-productive emotions. However, I decided to not let this consume me, because I knew I had to walk anyway. So I just started talking to myself. I must have performed 3 stand-up routines and the entire James Brown anthology on this adventure. By the time I got home, not only was I not tired, I was laughing as I walked in.

I’m not saying that every situation is as simple as walking home, but the same practice can be applied. When we approach the smaller things this way, it makes it easier to deal with the big stuff. Unemployment, illness, and injuries are all significant issues, but our attitude is what will dictate our ability to cope, bounce back and recover. I personally prefer to laugh at life, and it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve lost jobs, money, cars, and more relationships than I can count. But it’s been my ability to find a bright-side, the humor in the situation, that has kept me going and allowed me to laugh and learn.

It’s easy to lose focus and perspective. Sometimes we have to look at the whole situation, the big picture to find that reason to smile, it is there. Fired on our day off just means we didn’t have to waste the gas of driving down there to be laid off. Running out of gas might just be the ice breaker we needed while flirting, and I don’t know about you, but getting ice cream truck rear ended, sounds like a “push-up pop” opportunity to me. It’s all about attitude. “Why so serious?” Even when faced with impending doom at the hands of the demented Joker we have to remember…it’s a clown.

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