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Research Finds That If You Can Laugh At Yourself, You’re A Potential Leader

Research Finds That If You Can Laugh At Yourself, You’re A Potential Leader

We have all had those moments when we do something silly and then pause; should we laugh or should we cry? If, in those moments of embarrassment and awkwardness you choose to laugh chances are you are a satisfied and fulfilled person.

Two distinct studies have shown that people who have the ability to laugh at themselves displayed positive and desirable qualities. The first of these studies con conducted by Ursula Beermann and Willibald Ruch people who know how to laugh at themselves tend to be more cheerful and less serious than those who remain solemn. The second one shows a surprising link between the ability to laugh at oneself and your leadership potential.

The First Study: You’re More Cheerful And Less Serious In Nature

The study consisted of seventy undergraduate students. The students were asked to rate their ability to laugh at themselves. They then selected on or two peers to provide their external opinion on the issue. While the participants were filling out their questionnaires on a computer the screen camera took a picture of them; without their knowledge of awareness. The researchers then manipulated and distorted the photos.

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They participants were then shown six distorted images of themselves. The facial responses of the participants were videotaped and analyzed. The researchers looked for four signs: experienced funniness, smiles, Duchenne displays (which are symmetrical smiles that involve creasing of the muscles around the eyes), and laughter. Fake and masking smiles were also studied and recorded.

80 percent of participants showed a genuine smile at least once when viewing their distorted image. The participants who stated in the survey that they were able to laugh at themselves proved to be correct. Furthermore, their peers’ perception of them supported their correct self-assessment. These people also showed fewer signs of fake smiles and  negative emotions.

Those participants who laughed more at themselves tended to be more cheerful, less serious in nature and were in a better mood on the day of testing.

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The Second Study: You’re A Better Leader

A Study conducted by Researchers Colette Hoption, Julian Barling, and Nick Turner found that in the workplace, leaders who are able to laugh at themselves and not at their colleagues were viewed as more likable, caring and trustworthy.

The researchers hypothesized that when a leader joked about themselves in a critical way people would view them as someone who values jokes and shows concern for others.

“We chose humor as a mechanism through which leaders express their concern for others (vs. the self) because of the potential for humor to be both a weapon to harm others and a tool to build relationships,”  the researchers wrote.

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By making fun of themselves the leaders showed disregard for the difference in status between them and their workers and this was viewed as concern for others.

The study consisted of 155 business students. The students were place d in one of four humor conditions:  making fun of yourself, making fun of someone else, making fun of a common trait between the leader and the employees, and a control condition with no humor. The participants were then asked to read a speech that introduced a new employee. The line the participants read out was changed according to the group they were placed in. For example, the people in the making fun of yourself group read out a line that joked about themselves: “I am so glad that Pat took this job despite knowing all about me!”

The leader who poked fun at themselves was rated as more trustworthy and a better leader.

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Numerous Benefits

Poking fun at yourself is a trait that has many benefits. It builds up a sense of trust in the workplace; makes you more likable and gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. If you are a person who knows how to make a good joke about yourself then you may already be reaping the benefits. If, however, you tend to be more solemn, why not try cracking a few self- deprecating jokes here and there?

Featured photo credit: The Body Is Not Anapology via thebodyisnotanapology.com

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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