I’m not actually here to talk about comedy exactly. Though I may say some words on that. But my discussion will be something more important than joke and comedy. Something that is crucial to your success in life.
In one of my textbooks back in school, I had the privilege of knowing about life of Charlie Chaplin and how he changed our perception of taking joke on ourselves. He was a person who often laughed on himself, making fun of his own appearance. But that is not the case with just anyone. Seriously, many people get offended if you crack even a simple joke on them. No one has the gut to actually laugh on themselves. We can’t sustain a troll. And man, that’s a big thing!
Now, let me explain why I took this matter and why it is too important for you all to know. Since my childhood, I have been a bit of introvert. Not completely introvert, but I was like someone who just crossed that line of ambiversion. Meaning to say I was a kind of introvert but I was also bit of extrovert. And that affected my lifestyle to some extent. I never participated in outdoor activities much. I was always unconfident in exams. I couldn’t withstand a verbal test or debate or quizzes. Someone had to push me to do so.
But I’m not here to talk about introversion either. Actually, I want to shift your focus to another aspect of that. If you are shy or an introvert or someone who are not comfortable with public activities, you face another problem – you can never withstand a joke on yourself or you never want people to laugh on you publicly. I mean, I was not comfortable if in an assembly of some 500 students, someone laugh at me or in class a teacher mock me. And that happen with lot many people. Let say in a family function like in marriage, there are some 10 of your relatives and you are also among them. And let’s say your mom told something about you and everyone there laughed at you. You blush and can’t actually handle that. Or you are celebrity and in a TV show, someone crack a joke on you. You may not be that comfortable with that. Or may be that you slipped over the escalator in the shopping mall and people started laughing at you. You may really feel embarrassment.
That character does not only show that you can’t take a joke on yourself, but also shows that you put your ego above everything else. Every time, something bad happens to you, something that you consider below your dignity, your ego gets hurt. If in a test, you score badly, you can’t tell your friends about that. There’s a level of uncomfortably you feel. And the same thing happens with me. Anyone who can’t actually laugh at themselves, who can’t take a joke on themselves, finds it really difficult to cope with failures in life as well as finds difficult to take risks. And yes, boy, you heard it right. That’s a big thing! In every situation, your ego comes into play. No matter what, for you anything below your dignity shouldn’t happen.
There’s a WHAT IF kind of stuff that always play in your mind. I mean you always become cautious about your activities. Every time, you step forward, there’s an inner voice that tells you that you should think twice otherwise what if blah blah blah happens. And that ghost of ‘what if’ always stays with you. You become less reluctant to take risks. Because you can never withstand falling down your current level. You feel like what others will say. What if they laugh on you, what if they mock you, what if things didn’t work out the way that should have. It gets harder for you to actually face such situation where your image is degraded. And these activities are evident from the fact that such kind of people feels very uncomfortable speaking a foreign language. Because they fear that they would make mistake and someone would laugh on them.
Let’s consider Steve Jobs. First he was successful with Apple. But then, when he was fired from his own company, things went seriously wrong. But he was strong enough to withstand failure, so he rose up and started Next, Pixar and then bought Apple back. Yes, he had a strong personality. That’s why he could, but for a normal person, failing once is a big thing. They find it hard to withstand criticism. And such people find difficulties in starting their own ventures. Because every time, that fear of being laughed and being mocked, prevails.
The reality of life is that many a times; people will laugh at you, they will mock you, no matter what. You may be the best in your field. You may be that person who never made any mistake. But believe me still people will mock you for something. It’s a nature we have got for granted. But that gut to actually withstand such jokes or criticism is a big thing. And that holds many answers for your success in life. You may have never taken that seriously in life, but it’s true that if you’re open to failures, your chance of getting successful increases. If you can take on criticism or jokes or trolls, you find it easier to start off with anything.
Let’s have a short list of stuffs you can try to check and eventually overcome your fear of failure-
- Speak a foreign language (let’s say English) with a person who knows it much better than you.
- Give speech in front of audiences who are much experienced than you are.
- Dance or sing in front of people you’re not closed to.
- Do something you are not good at and post it in social media. Like a drawing or poem or story.
- Promote your work or product to people you don’t know.
You can add lot more to the list. But these are some of the things we find uncomfortable to do. There’s that ego that always comes to play. There’s that fear of being criticized that stops you. Personally, I really felt a lot of these. Ask me to give a speech in morning assembly and am gone. There’s a version of me inside who tells me what if I can’t do well people laugh at me. So I always get afraid. This can also happen in exams. There’s a fear that what would happen if you can’t perform well. And seriously, if in right time, you don’t kill that fear, it really affects your normal living. Being away from home and family really helped me kill that fear. But still I find it little difficult to talk to someone I don’t know on phone. Just today itself, I had to talk to customer care executive. For a moment, a sudden fear prevailed. I thought what if I can’t properly talk or what if my words are not clear to her. But then, I killed that thought and proceeded and yes, I was successful.
Take small steps and eventually you will be successful in killing that fear inside you. Nothing actually happens if someone laughs at you. If you are mocked. If you are made fun of. Among friends, it’s very often that we get trolled. Then why can’t we take trolls from others? Take things normally. It’s okay if you’re the reason someone gets to laugh. And remember your failures are never counted. No one remembers the things you were not good at. People simply care for your successes. And those who once laughed at you will eventually appreciate you if you improve your situation. If you have the gut to laugh at yourself, you get confidence to confront any situation. Mark my words!
©Sandeep Deva Misra. 2016. All the images in the post are taken from internet.
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