Stop Taking Life Too Seriously – Part 3 of 3


Daily Life, Humour, Way of Life


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Taking things very seriously can be a great quality, showing that you are earnest, caring, and hardworking. But, taking things ”too” seriously can cause unnecessary stress and worry over things that aren’t worth the effort. By learning about why we tend to take life too seriously and how to spread some humor and lightness into life, you can stop being so serious and spend more time enjoying life.

This is a third and final part of this serie about how to stop taking life too seriously.

Reflect on the pursuit of perfection.

Excessive seriousness can sometimes come from trying too hard to live life in a particular way. Say you are highly focused on the goal of eating well, preparing only gluten-free, super-food meals for yourself. Chances are good that if somebody offers you some cake at a birthday party, you’ll get stern, uncomfortable, and give a long-winded explanation about your diet. Imagine what the person who offered you the cake is thinking: “Geez, it’s just a piece of cake. What’s the big deal?”

  • While goals are great, pursuing them with such fervor can make tiny setbacks seem like enormous hurdles, causing the things that you take seriously to become more and more minute.
  • Research actually exposes that perfectionism is linked with ”less” success and productivity because it often comes along with procrastination.
Question if you’re trying to prove yourself.

Sometimes seriousness happens when we see everything as evidence of our abilities and value as people. Remember that student who acts like every tiny assignment is as important as the final exam? Even one bad grade signals that he is a bad student, on track to fail.

  • When everything feels like a performance of your worth, even trivial tasks or errands become moments where you need to prove yourself.
  • Also try to pick up on whether or not vulnerability is difficult for you. At work and at home, we are subtly asked to put up strong fronts of high, expert functioning where all facets of life are concerned. The result is that we become reluctant to show any signs of uncertainty or emotional reactions to stress.
  • This can be even more pronounced if you have high expectations put upon you, or if those in your life already see you as high achieving. Are you trying to maintain your reputation of being a do-all hard worker?
Consider that our culture rewards goal-orientation.

With capitalist society’s great focus on efficiency and productivity, being able to set and reach goals is esteemed to the utmost. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that this is just one tactic that is particularly good for business. When it is applied to all areas of our lives, we get convinced that we know exactly what we need to do and how to get it done.

  • Being a product of your culture is a wonderful thing, but being aware of where this attitude comes from can help you use it more responsibly rather than compulsively.
  • This attitude can severely limit you ability to be a good student of the world and take what life throws at you with ease and the delight of pleasant surprises.
Notice when seriousness becomes defensive.

A major source of seriousness is a heightened sense of danger. After all, it’s impossible to relax and take anything lightly if you’re caught up assuming that you may need to defend yourself from the threat of harm. Try to ease seriousness by looking for the positive aspects in what you encounter and considering how you stand to benefit by encountering new things.

  • Many people are encouraged to develop a sort of overactive conscience by their parents. Even when parents’ intentions are good, constant warnings of potential danger and the importance of being careful can make you see (and focus on) the serious and threatening side of everything.
Learn the effects of excessive seriousness.

One of the main drawbacks of having a serious attitude all the time is that taking chances and thinking outside the box are severely limited. An overemphasis on seriousness lends itself to a narrow way of understanding what’s worth your time and what isn’t. When you ignore things that intrigue your or make you feel good in some immeasurable way, you stand to lose some of your natural ability to expand your horizons.

  • Ironically, being too serious can also make you even less productive by making you so nervous about one thing in particular. When we walk around with the mindset that the sky will fall if, say, dinner isn’t ready at 7p.m. sharp, we rush and neglect the joys of cooking that really motivate you to make your dishes more challenging and original.
  • Being serious can also impact your connections with others, making you more likely to judge and criticize what you see around you. You might love someone’s laugh, but a serious attitude will force you to realize that a nice laugh will not pay medical bills if someone gets into an accident.

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