In a world where people are regularly commended for things such as hard work, dedication and focus, the idea of not taking life seriously can sound preposterous. But is a serious mentality really at the core of the previously mentioned good habits? Or is it what's potentially getting in the way of you having a more enjoyable life? Here are 5 good reasons to consider not taking everything in life so seriously.
It's a trap that I've fallen into more often than my mind would like me to admit. I have no intention of being this way, but the busyness of life can often get me there for extended periods of time without even realizing it. The trap I'm referring to is a state of mind where I take and make everything in my life way more serious than it actually is or ever needs to be. I was most recently reminded of this by a new friend of mine -and an incredible practitioner, healer and teacher amongst many other things -Danielle Fagan.
As part of a session, Danielle not only pointed out my tendency to make things very serious but also assisted me in realizing how this seriousness rippled out into so many of the core issues I had been facing. Issues that once not taken so seriously, suddenly became a lot easier to move on from, to let go of, or even better to see them for what they really are.
Here are 5 of the many reasons that you may want to try being at least a little less serious:
1. Really serious people can be a real downer to be around
On the surface, seriousness may make you come across as the most focused and level headed, but beneath that surface is a buzz kill waiting to happen. Nothing stands out more in a group than one person that isn't willing to be in the moment and enjoy whatever life throws at them. In saying this, I'm not trying to sell you on some "free-flowing hippyesque" attitude towards life, I'm just trying to remind you (and myself) that you can still be level headed and make sound decisions in a non-serious state. And heck, without the seriousness consistently in the way, you may even have some fun!
2. Seriousness can actually make you less productive
Seriousness and productivity seem like they should be synonymous with one another, and they certainly can be. We've all experienced those days at work or around the house where we were serious about the task(s) at hand and accomplished them both efficiently and effectively. But taken too far, and seriousness can just as easily do the exact opposite. The trap lies in what seriousness tends to come packaged with -things such as expectations and self-inflicted pressure. These can be motivating for some, but for most these can be catalysts for a mental and physical state that are not only less productive but also unenjoyable to experience.
3. A serious outlook can lead to missed opportunities
When taken seriously, your mind will always have a library of past experiences, anecdotes, comparisons and a million other things to throw at you in hopes of holding you back from stepping outside of the box. This is because the serious mind only likes to do what it can fully calculate and feel safe within. We may not all be able to control the mind from throwing these things at us, but we can certainly control the impact that they have on us and our decision making. The less seriously we take things, the more likely we are to have access to our intuitive feelings towards something, which I can say from experience has often been a much better guide. Besides, even that which we now see as safe and within the box, was once new and outside of it, it just took a little non-serious curiosity to let it in.
4. Being serious can impact your ability to connect with others
The more you take yourself seriously, the more likely you are to take and look at others seriously. Last time I checked the serious filter when it comes to meeting or even just observing people can often be a lot more harsh and closed off. Remove the filter and you're a lot more likely to see and get to know people for they who truly are. You also tend to come across as a lot more inviting and easier to be around. I'm sure we all have at least one person in our life that on the surface we make little to no sense being friends with, but have now grown to love and/or appreciate, so don't let seriousness cut you off from getting to know anyone.
5. Life's too short to be taken seriously
There is one fact that is undeniable: in this life, you will never be as young as you are right now. That being the case, do you really want to spend right now being serious? Life is an awesome adventure. The fact that we are here on this planet, in a body that we do and experience things with can still trip me out at times. The more we get caught up taking things seriously, the less likely we are to enjoy them and all that they offer. Plus I personally believe in the theory that perpetual seriousness will age you a lot quicker than a free-flowing state of mind, but that, like pretty well everything in this list I cannot substantiate scientifically. Nor do I want to. They are simply something to consider.