Check out the new video clip and new pictures on my website. Special thanks to Mike Pirollo and Dream Photography in Penn Hills, PA, and to Mike Henderson for the great photos! And to Willie Gerson, Eric Roberts, and Tom Hopkins for posing with me~! What do you think of the new additions? firstname.lastname@example.org
“People who succeed the most often fail the most,” so say authors Cloud & Townsend in their book, “It’s Not My Fault.” This is precisely where our sense of humor can help.
When we take on a humorous perspective, we take on a lot of courage. We are not afraid to take risks, even if they lead to failure. That’s because we are not attached to outcomes. We are not aiming for perfectionism.
When we look at the humor in our everyday lives, we are looking at reality. Not what or how things ought to be, but what they are. We are not afraid to be politically icorrect. We are not afraid to make spelling mistakes. We are not bogged down by denial. We are committing ourselves to raw reality.
This is what the great comedians always have done. George Carlin told it like it IS. But, how he saw the world was how we usually aren’t encouraged to describe it. Jerry Seinfeld made the ordinary extraordinary by holding it up to the light of scrutiny. Suddenly even the most mundane aspects of life were up for grabs. Nothing was sacred, and we were allowed to question everything.
This openness and freedom is the key to trying new things, failing, and yes
Randy Pausch, former Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of The Last Lecture passed away last week. To see his last lecture, go to:
See Tom Hopkins in the upcoming “Shannon’s Rainbow”–it will be great!!
and he’s the perfect image of perfectionism. After all, the bride was ’supposed’ to show up. That’s ‘common sense’. She ’should’ want to be here with him. She ‘ought to’ be ashamed of herself for not being here!
Not a real lighthearted scene. Not a scene where humor can crack the icy stone of perfectionism and expectations.
This Bob Dylan song led me on an adventure to visit the Rock of Gibraltar. And my trip is an example of how Not to be perfectionistic. And of how we can begin to allow the humor into our lives.
There were no ’should’s, ’shalls’ or ‘oughts-to’ on this trip. Only trusting that everything would, could–not should–fall into place and everything would be all right. And it would–IF I had no expectations or hopes of a perfect outcome.
After I heard that great Dylan song, I made it a goal to see the Rock of Gibraltar. I wasn’t even certain if it existed–I thought maybe it was something like Dylan’s ordering some ’suzette’ and instead getting crepes. But it would be great to be on top of this Rock of Gibraltar on New Year’s Eve. Very symbolic–of what, I didn’t know, and maybe it wasn’t even something I could stand or sit on. But still I wanted to see it.
There weren’t any steps that I had to follow, besides buying a plane ticket and landing.
After asking some of the locals in Spain about it, I found out the Rock really did exist. In fact, it was located inside the small country of Gibraltar. I did eventually get to see the Rock, but it wasn’t on New Year’s Eve. Several incidents and people happened in between the time I landed and the sighting of–and standing on!!–the Rock. But, I got an even better New Year’s Eve because I went with the flow of the trip, the flow of the people, the flow of the travel itself.
The trip turned out much better than if I would have had and followed a ’should do’ plan:
1. I got to meet some of my neighbors on a midnight train to Marrakech.
2. I got to meet a new friend from Chicago whose presence allowed me to have a safe and enjoyable trip into Morocco.
3. I got to see a lot of places that were featured in various James Bond movies.
4. I got to trade my heavy, hard-back Hemingway book for a Moroccan rug.
5. I met Canadian friends Gordo and Philip who later visited me.
6. Philip’s aunt knew the Gibraltar area and served as our tour guide.
7. I got mistaken for Gabriela Carteris on the ferry from Morocco (this was during the heyday of “Beverly Hills 90210, and pre-nose-job days).
The benefits of just going with the flow of the moment were numerous. Probably more than I can remember just now. Including,
8. Gave me a focal point to remind me of how much fun it is to not have expectations, to be living in the moment, and to allow the creativity, fun, humor, and aliveness to permeate life’s moments. What’s YOUR favorite example of when you learned to “Get Your SHINE Together?”
One way to teach yourself to not take things so personally it to realize that we are all the same. We humans are much more alike than we are different. We don’t know someone’s motives for saying or doing a certain thing. But we attach what we think are their motives, to their behavior. We in essence create our own misery and pain (did Dante write this before? Or someone else?) when we think we are either better or worse than other people We are all the same.
I realized this when I entered the world of the cell phone. Previously I had been a pay-as-you-go phone user. The half-price clearance rack of technology. That type of phone is tremendously useful for emergencies. My problem was that friends would call me to tell me urgent things like, “Trina did you hear about the girl in India who was born with 5 arms and 5 legs?” And I got tired of telling people, “You are wasting 30 units just to tell me this stuff.”
I had always been annoyed at those people who carry their cell phones everywhere. They take them out and talk. They take them out to check and see if someone wanted to talk to them while they had the ringer off. They don’t turn the ringer off. Their phones ring during meetings. They are self-righteous, completely oblivious human beings who are so self-centered that they don’t even realize–or care–that they are talking so loudly that everyone else can hear their ‘private’ conversations. They are spoiled, rich Americans who are uncaring in the amount of radiation they are putting into their heads with each phone call.
Then an interesting thing happened. I became one of those people. I didn’t aspire to this role. I didn’t even realize it was happening until yesterday when my phone rang. During a meeting. And this time it was I who said, “Is that me, or is that you?” A sentence that for me capitalized on the selfishness of these cell phone owners/users! Yet I couldn’t stop myself from asking it, because it was what was needed. I had to say that in order to dive onto my phone to stop the sound (I haven’t figured out how to turn it off yet, so I just throw myself onto it so I will be more inconspicuous).
Now I am the person who calls everyone. I check my phone several times a day to see if I missed anyone’s call. Other people (the pay-as-you-go users) will tell me, “You are wasting my units. And besides, there is a lightning storm going on right now.” To which I reply, ‘Oh, that’s OK, I don’t mind. Let’s talk about ‘us’.”
No matter how annoying someone in your life is, no matter how caustic their behavior or words are, just remember–we are ALL capable of that bad behavior. And no matter how saintly or giving someone is, we are also all capable of that type of behavior. So let’s not take anything seriously. Think about the opposite, and have a good laugh.
And, Call me!
“When you’re relaxed.” That’s what my friend, motivational speaker/magician Tim Piccirillo told me. And it’s true. Think of a time when you weren’t worried about the outcome of a situation. You weren’t trying to be perfect. You were satisfied with playing second fiddle–whether it was a job interview, a first date, a company party. You weren’t nervous, because you literally had nothing to lose. Or at least, you weren’t thinking of what you could lose.
When we relax, we can focus, and we can achieve our best results. Paradoxically enough, it is when we aren’t trying so hard–when we relax–that we give our best performances. And, when we can relax about a situation, we can more easily see the humor in it. Then we don’t take ourselves or the situation so seriously. Then we are free to notice other humorous things in our lives. It is cyclical, and self-reinforcing.
ASK YOURSELF THIS: If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like? That’s what Scott (The Nametag Guy) asked me in his e-newsletter today. Besides everyone getting off my back, letting me get the good parking spots, letting me merge onto the interstate, here is a sampling of what the world would look like:
People (beginning with me) would stop taking things personally.
People (starting with me) would not act on their first impulse to take things personally.
People would recognize, appreciate, and encourage the humor they hear in others’ conversations and behaviors.
People would hire me as their after-dinner speaker.
People would love my humor, and laugh at absolutely everything I say, even if it is just directions to the venue.
People would appreciate creativity, rather than censor certain things based on various philosophies.
People would feel free to dissect, deconstruct, and then recreate their belief systems and play with the language and ideas they usually take as “common sense”.
People would realize that “common sense” isn’t so common.
People would stop using their cell phones when they are behind me in traffic.
My phone bill would decrease considerably.
My car would be paid for.
Also my tuition.
I would have dial-up.
Burning-bans would be replaced by neighborhood bonfire parties.
I could sell aluminum cans at $50/lb.
I would write very useful stuff on my blog.
What about you–how funny would YOUR world be if everyone did exactly what you said???? Let me know, share you comments, and “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Remember him from Sex & The City? Watch for him in Shannon’s Rainbow, coming out soon! Filmed at Meadow Lands Racetrack!
Yesterday we said goodbye to our voice-over teacher as our class finished. During our class times, we learned not only how to speak, but also how to read, listen, breathe, relax, and–flow.
Flow means those moments in life when everything goes along smoothly. Those are the times when we had no expectations. There were no ’should’’s and no requirements of us or of other people. We just acted in the moment because we enjoyed what we were doing, and the people we were with.
It’s kind of like comedy: If we don’t think about the outcome of a ‘joke’, but only about the desire to communicate a funny idea, then it usually kills. It gets laughs. When people know that we aren’t fishing for laughter, so they give it to us freely.
We also learned to not punish ourselves for the mistakes we make on the way to our goal. When we chastize ourselves, we ruin the enjoyment for other people. That is sort of selfish, our teacher Amy Hartman told us. What a concept! If we envelope ourselves in perfection and in expectations, we not only limit our enjoyment of the task, but we ruin it for others, too. Maybe they would have had a good laugh at our ideas.
We shouldn’t focus on perfection, we should only focus on the RELATING.
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