It is sa(i)d that children laugh about 300 times a day, while adults get to mere 5 times. How can we change that?
Simple: make life more miserable for children!
Ah, but of course not. Laughter is important, it relaxes us and frees us from pain – and it’s damn funny.
Somehow on our road to adulthood, we unlearn how to laugh. Why is that, and how can we regain our laughter?
#1 – Scarcity instead of abundance mentality.
People who suffer from scarcity mentality believe that what they have right and where they are right now is all there is.
Therefore, they adopt a mindset of protecting what they have. They believe somebody is there to take it
Since they believe the future holds nothing but reduction for them, they fear the outside world.
They focus on holding on to what they have right now and see potential danger looming everywhere.
As George Carlin used to say about possessions we have:
“Did you ever notice when you go to somebody else’s house, you never quite feel 100% at home? You know why? No room for your stuff! Somebody else’s stuff is all over the place!”
Humour means we have to distance ourselves from the situation – which we can’t do when we worry all the time about somebody taking “our stuff”.
How can we change this attitude? By working on our mindset.
Ask yourself: are you afraid of losing in your life? Or are you looking forward to becoming successful?
There is a quick exercise that you can do to get yourself a little less attached to physical belongings. Take some of your possessions and move them into your basement or storage space – essentially, have them out of sight.
After two – three weeks, ask yourself: am I missing these items? or am I already forgetting about them? I have talked a little bit more about strategies to let go in my Idea Machine article about how to declutter your life.
#2 – Judging ourselves too harshly.
In school, we learn that we have to please an authority (the teacher) to be accepted.
Therefore, when we have an idea, we too often evaluate it in our mind and then reject it because it may not be good enough.
This way of thinking also leads to “Imposter Syndrome”. People that suffer from this syndrome think they got to where they are in their career because of sheer luck. They think there is no way they could have attained that position because of their own strength.
In their mind, they are never good enough. Nothing they do will ever be truly great. They judge themselves as mediocre or weak.
The best way out of that mentality is by shifting our focus. Instead of pleasing someone, we ask “do we want to do this? is this work in line with my goals?”
Who cares whether what we do is “good enough”? Actually, besides us, no one.
So when we want to laugh or make a joke, we should do it because we want to. Not everyone will like our sense of humor, and that’s ok. The most important point is whether we like what we are doing.
We all have dreams and desires in our mind. We also have the capability to judge. But unless we are about to do something that puts us or others in immediate danger, or that is detrimental to our goals on the long run, we must forget about that judge.
Let’s focus on putting our visions into practise. Let’s not find ways to place our inner judge into the courtroom.
#3 – Political Correctness
In a society where more and more people think we need to be protected from uncomfortable feelings, no humor can thrive.
If students make a simple joke, they get expelled from campus because of ‘abusive behavior‘ and ‘Disruption of college activities’.
Is that really an atmosphere where we can still laugh?
#4 – Being afraid to die.
It’s a sad fact of life – as we get older, we start seeing our friends die.
And we become aware that we, too, are not immortal.
If we let it, death casts a shadow on anything that we do.
But let’s think about that for a moment – does death not make our lives so much more precious? If we lived forever, life would not matter anymore.
So let’s fill our time on this world with fun and laughter. We can’t change the fact that time progresses.
We die any way. Let’s have some fun while we live!
#5 – Taking what society tells you is the safe road.
People don’t push themselves easily to get out of their comfort zone.
That’s why it’s called a comfort zone. We have somehow gotten accustomed to the fact that being comfortable is a goal.
If we want to start living, we have to get out of our comfort zone.
This article is a brilliant manual how to precisely get out of your comfort zone.
#6 – Replacing humor with snark.
Some people think they are witty and funny.
Yet their humor is akin to impotent sarcasm, only there to signal that they belong to the same group as their peers.
You know how we often start laughing when somebody else smiles?
Some of our neurons are called mirror neurons; they enable us to pick up the emotions somebody else feels. That’s why laughter is often contagious.
We even often start laughing when the other person is smiling – even before the joke has been completely delivered.
This means that humor is also a tool to reinforce the connections within our group.
Likewise, some people use ‘snark’ – sarcastic quips that are supposed to be witty – to elevate themselves and their friends above others. They literally think they are better than those whom they look down upon.
This kind of humor is detrimental to your mental health. It eats you up inside. If you create a narrative that you are better than others, then you must not make any mistakes yourself.
Don’t watch “Two Broke Girls”, because then you are no better than those “hicks” in middle America!
What a stressful way to live.
Instead, see life as “live and let live”. If you disagree with someone, don’t make it a big deal. Simply walk away. Who knows, at some point you may be in the same situation as him or her. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
#7 – Not being present.
When we are working on something and our mind is already on to the next item, we are not present.
In our desire to do as much as we can in an as short as possible amount of time, we are half-assing a lot of our actions.
When we live our life without presence, there is no grounding, no fundament on which we can develop humor.
Do you notice how children are always present in their play? Completely sunk.
Somehow on the road to adulthood, the capability to be present vanishes. But we can train ourselves to become present again.
One way is meditation. When we meditate, we learn to let go of all the thoughts in our head that compete for our attention. The real peril is not that we have these thoughts, it is that we try to suppress them – because then we just think about them more.
Headspace has a great startup series where you can learn to meditate in only 10 minutes per day.
Another way is to reserve a time during the day where you do nothing more than listen to music or read a book. Chose a room with only little distraction and let go of everything beyond your podcast, music or book. Just 30 minutes a day will train you to be more present.
And third, Mike Cernovich has an entire chapter on presence in Gorilla Mindset.
The more present you are in your everyday life, the more you can let go and laugh,
#8 – Not being financially independent.
Kids laugh all the time because they can.
They have a strong sense of security because their parents basically provide their shelter. The equivalence to that security is being financially independent – meaning that you have enough money to survive and thrive – even if you stopped working today.
If you don’t have to think about food and housing, you can completely let go and lose yourself in play.
#9 – Wrong nutrition and lack of health.
If we are constantly prodding along in a sickly way, we don’t have the energy to be funny.
One way to get more energy is to become healthy and fit – to workout and take care of your nutrition.
Enough sleep is also a good way to become healthier.
#10 – Living in isolation.
If we don’t have enough friends, or are not meeting enough people, we are simply not exposed to as many opportunities to laugh.
#11 – We are not training our muscles.
Children don’t magically drop the laughter on the 18th birthday.
It’s a gradual progress. When we laugh, we engage around several facial muscles.
As with all muscles, we probably have to exercise the “laughter muscles” in our face more often.
Some of those muscles we only use for laughing and smiling. And if we don’t use a muscle, it atrophies.
#1 – Aliens have invaded and taken our humor from us.
Unfortunately, they can not give it back anymore because they laughed themselves to death. Now laughter has diffused into the Universe and laughs back at us every time we try to play a trick on Karma.
If you want to have a good laugh right now, try these clips:
This guy here is also funny. A little bit.
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