It’s difficult to take yourself seriously in a world where certain celebrities literally make millions of dollars a year by simply living their lives in such a manner that they provide frequent fodder for tabloid magazines. But then again, who says you have to take yourself too seriously? I think that many of us get in our own way sometimes by taking ourselves too seriously. Perhaps you take your job title too seriously, or maybe your hobbies you take too seriously? In one way or another, I think most of us are guilty of this.
It can be difficult to make progress when you are taking yourself too seriously. Let’s say that you’re a manager, and you spend all of your time micro-managing. When are you going to get your own work done? Are you working 70 hours a week, and blaming it on others, when you could be working 40-50 hours a week if you stopped taking yourself so seriously and micro-managing people who may in fact be perfectly capable of doing their jobs without your micro-management? Sometimes we simply stand in our own way, and I think that many of those times, it comes out of taking ourselves too seriously.
The Internet is full of people who take themselves too seriously. Just look around. You don’t have to wander far to find people arguing on someone’s Facebook wall or arguing in the comments section of a blog and so on. And that leads us to the #1 problem for a person who takes himself or herself too seriously:
You’re not open to advice, differing perspectives, or opposing opinions.
That might be okay if you’re the world’s leading authority on the subject matter in which you take so seriously, or even if you’re merely a renowned expert or perhaps an author on the subject. Let’s say, you know, just for the sake of argument… that you’re not. Shouldn’t you then be open to advice from those who are? What makes you think that you know better than them? For that matter, shouldn’t you be willing to listen to, acknowledge, and respect others’ opinions and perspectives?
Of course you should, but that’s a pretty tough thing to do when you take yourself too seriously that you’re arguing with someone in the comments section of a video on YouTube. And let’s not even talk about that Twitter war you had last week with the guy who said that Avatar is a terrible movie.
Think about conversations that you hear every day. A person is having a conversation about how delicious a new recipe that they tried last night was when in walks Mrs. Know-It-All, who immediately dismisses that recipe and offers up one that is “much better” which (of course) she also claims that she created (one simple Google search will probably prove that to be a fallacy).
Or the mild-mannered man excitedly telling a co-worker that he bowled 147 the night before, when suddenly Mr. Quasi-Alpha Male of the office loudly intrudes on the conversation to announce that he bowled 300 two nights in a row last summer (a story that everyone in the office has now heard at least a dozen times, and naturally, there are no witnesses). Everybody knows that guy. He’s the 40-something who was bald on top by age 28 with a beer gut the size of Texas who will bet you his mobile home and his ’89 Ford Mustang that he’s still the best athlete in town (nothing personal, Mr. Quasi-Alpha Male – you have a special place in, er…our hearts).
On one hand, it can be challenging to be passionate about something without taking it so seriously that you turn into one of the villainous people in the above examples. On the other hand, look at how those people come off. Do you really want to be like them?
If not, then I highly suggest that you take a close look at yourself and determine any areas in which you could be potentially taking yourself too seriously. When you isolate those areas, learn to lighten up over those things lest you behave like Mrs. Know-It-All or Mr. Quasi-Alpha Male the next time one of those topics comes up.
(Photo credit: One Man with Two Faces in the Mirror via Shutterstock)