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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lighten Up (and Laugh at Yourself)

A long time ago, my dad told me a joke.

A cowboy walked into a blacksmith's shop. As he hustled around the shop, the busy smith only had time to yell a gruff "Be careful!" to the tenderfoot.

After a few minutes, the cowboy moseyed over to where a horseshoe sat, fresh out of the forge. And...

He picked it up. And dropped it immediately.

"Hot, wasn't it?" the blacksmith ribbed.

"Nope," replied the cowboy, trying to save face, "it just don't take me long to look at a horseshoe."

Even a man in boots and jeans can be a stuffed shirt.

Here's the thing: If we can't laugh at ourselves, we shouldn't be allowed to laugh at anyone else. Laughter at others is just plain mean coming from a person who thinks he or she can "do no wrong." I'm far more comfortable with taking a ribbing from someone with a firm grasp on self-deprecation.

We could just call it what it is: "humility."

So lighten up. Laugh at yourself. Encourage others to do it, too. Stop taking yourself so seriously. And the next time you screw up, it'll probably bother you less.

And you'll be happier.

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