“Laughter is an instant vacation.”
Happy Saturday friends!
Milton Berle: An Autobiography (Milton Berle & Haskel with Frankel)
Laff It Off! (George Wallace & Dan Ewen)
“Keep laughing. As long as you’re laughing you have hope.”
Happy Saturday friends!
A friend of mine got sick a few winters ago. In his 50’s, career Army retired. 1st Sergeant. Ranger Battalion for 6 years. A remarkable guy and dear to our family. I work with one of his sons, who is a chip off the old block and a close friend as well.
When my friend got sick, I was concerned. It was serious enough that it put a retired Army Ranger in the hospital for a few days. I asked the son about the father and he said that, though worried, his dad didn’t show it. The son, one of our managers, is pretty good under pressure. Just like his dad. When asked by one of our colleagues if he was a mess because of his dad being in the hospital, the son said, “I guess [like dad] I didn’t inherit the freak-out gene.”
Man, I’ve had to chew on that one. Why? Because I’ve not been great under pressure. Candidly, I’ve been lousy in the clutch. But the example of my even-keeled Irish buddies has been inspiring and convicting.
As I’ve thought about this, I realized that when stresses mount, one does not have to freak out. Cave. Bolt. Come apart. But I’m learning that a good deal of my responses to the tensions of life have to do with what I think about and tell myself. Right thinking and talk are one of the secrets to poise, grace under pressure.
It’s that simple and that powerful.
To be sure, we all face things much larger than we are. That overwhelm. That can sink the boat of the ablest mariner. But there is in our society entirely too much male drama and meltdown. It’s an effeminate thing that insults the high call and dignity of manhood. Great military leaders in combat are as scared as those under them but they mask it and charge ahead.
What to do when stress comes? Some hints:
I’m learning. Slowly. Very slowly. I hope you are too.
One of the most hilarious movies I ever seen—and a favorite of our family—is the 1991 motion picture, What About Bob? This delightful film portrays the comical interactions of a successful and slightly neurotic psychotherapist, Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), with his nerdy and phobic new client, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray).
The story features newly-published Dr. Marvin counseling his patients, especially the recent, irritating, and charming Bob–who is afraid of everything–that goals and growth can be accomplished by taking small actions toward their fulfillment. In Bob’s case, small, bite-size actions are the key to overcoming his fears and neuroses.
Bob succeeds in driving Leo Marvin to the brink and over. In the process, Bob grows and Leo regresses. Watch the film.
I’ve been thinking about goals and how to reach them over the past few years. If you’re like me and over six billion other bipeds on this sphere we call Earth, you probably find the goals you pursue often appear like giant mountains or obstacle courses. If you focus on the size of them, you may very well become discouraged and either suspend them or give them up altogether.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tze once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” My wife often reminds me of the moral of Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”: Slow and steady wins the race. Plodding. Patience. Keep on keeping on. You get the picture.
What to do:
You were meant to win at life, not lose, or drown in boredom. Do it!
Grandma Easterly—as she became known to me after she “adopted” me—had terminal cancer at the time. Yet, she had more energy than gals sixty years her junior as she worked amongst the Cree children. She had lived an adventurous life working all over the world as a missionary to kids. She was vibrant, humorous and kinetic as she stared death in the face.
Some months later, I was about to get married. Grandma Easterly sent Kath and I a very nice card with this advice:
“Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourselves.”
I have my share of faults and idiosyncrasies, just like you. One of them is I tend to be way too serious. About everything. (Kath doesn’t have this problem.) Those who know me well are no doubt chuckling, You’re just now figuring that out?
Easy now. Some of us are slow.
So I thought I’d pass on a few tips to help my friends who slip on the same banana peel:
Now lighten up!