How To Be "Easily Amused And Impossible To Offend"
HOW TO BE "EASILY AMUSED AND IMPOSSIBLE TO OFFEND"
I saved the most important step for last. Over the course of your lifetime this final step will have more of an impact on your health than any of the previous 5 steps, and if you follow the advice in this chapter just watching a stranger cross the street could make you laugh more than a 2 hour movie that was designed to make you laugh, and it will be so difficult for anyone to effect your mood in a negative way that even if there was a world wide great depression going on you could be completely immune to it. So without further ado below are some personal tips that I have learned over the years that have allowed me to become a person who is "easily amused and impossible to offend"...
1. BE YOUNG AT HEART
The Average Child
Smiles 500 times per day
Laughs 400 times per day
Asks A Question 300 times per day
The Average Adult
Smiles 9 times per day
Laughs 8 times per day
Asks A Question 7 times per day
One time a man who was in his 50's said to me, "I don't know what to get my dad for "Father's Day"... He's so old that he hates everything!"
So why is it that babies are so "easily amused" that just taking a piece of paper and ripping it in front of them can make them start laughing hysterically, (if you don't believe me click HERE) if an adult started laughing that hard if you ripped a piece of paper in front of them everyone would think there was something seriously wrong with that person and that they needed to be put on psychiatric drugs?
The problem starts when children become adults and they purposely start to hold back smiles and laughter during certain situations out of a fear of looking "childish". It then gets worse when they stop asking as many questions as they used to because they worry that by asking a lot of questions like a child does it will not only make them look "childish" but also less intelligent, and they would rather be viewed as a person who answers questions then a person who has to ask them. So I encourage you to start catching yourself whenever you feel the urge to hold back a smile, a laugh, or a question and to start letting your inner child express it's self freely.
As people grow older and closer to death they tend to get very irritable and grumpy, and end up becoming the exact opposite of the easily amused children that they once were. So I believe that it is important to not only take on a more humorous and curious outlook on "life" but also on "death" as well... (I have no idea how or when I will die, but I intend to go out laughing, and at least I will finally get to know the answers to all of the big questions that nobody could answer while I was alive like, "What happens when we die?")
2. LEARN ABOUT THE VERY BIG AND THE VERY SMALL
I think it's amazing to look at things that we can only see through a microscope as well as things that we can only see through a telescope and to know that we are somewhere in the middle of it all.
So what does this have to do with our attitudes? The more that you look through a telescope and realize just how big the universe is the more that you realize just how small and insignificant you and all of your problems really are, and the more that you look through a microscope and learn about the microscopic world (especially in your own body) the more that you realize just how big and important you really are...
"Wisdom is knowing that I am nothing. Love is knowing that I am everything. And in between the two, my life flows."
- Nisargadatta Maharaj
3. LET GO OF ATTACHMENTS
Being "attached" to something means that you will suffer and feel immobilized without it...
How did you react the last time the electricity went off in your house? Did you feel overwhelmed with disappointment the instant it went out? And did you feel that without electricity there was nothing to do except wait for it to come back on?
You were born with no possessions and you can't take any of your possessions with you when you die, (including your body) so the most freeing experience that you can have in life is to let go of the feeling of attachment that you have to the people, the possessions, and the circumstances in your life now while you are still alive so you can spend the rest of your life free from the fear of losing them, and be accepting of the fact that nothing stays the same forever.
If you want to have a lot less stress in your life try letting go of the feeling of "ownership" over things... (For example: If you hear a story about someone that you don't know who lives 1,000 miles away getting their car stolen it probably won't matter to you, but if someone steals "YOUR" car it will probably be a very big deal to you, and the amount of suffering that it causes you will be in direct proportion to how attached you are to it.)
If you can't let go of a past relationship you close yourself off from starting a new one, and if you fill your home with things you don't need it can become difficult just to walk from one room to another, so start by letting go of that which no longer serves you in life and when new people, new things, and new experiences show up in your life you don't have to refuse to let them in, but deep down know that everything is temporary and that in the end the best thing that you can do with your life, your talents, and your resources is to share them with others before you die.
4. REALIZE THAT NOBODY CAN OFFEND YOU WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION
If a film maker wants to use a well known song in their movie they need to get permission from the artist first, and if a person wants to offend you they must also get your permission as well. (If someone criticizes you about the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you look, etc, it is ultimately your choice whether you decide to get offended about it, laugh about it, learn from it, or simply ignore it.)
Also keep in mind that not everyone who offends you is necessarily trying to offend you. Have you ever had the experience of having someone get really mad at you because they took something that you said or did the wrong way? If so you know that it doesn't feel good, so if someone is behaving in a negative way around you for no apparent just know that there is probably a very good explanation for their behavior that you simply aren't aware of and try not take it personally.
When we are in public we are all expected to act a certain way regardless of what is going on in our personal life and sometimes people who are going through a really bad experience simply find it too hard to pretend that nothing is wrong, and we need to try not to be so quick to judge their behavior or join them in it, because the possibilities are endless as to what they might be going through.
5. BEWARE OF BECOMING A "CHRONIC COMPLAINER"
Imagine that a man dislikes the president of his country so much that he writes a book about how terrible he thinks the president is, and that he goes on talk shows and publicly criticizes the president, and that he even has a website where he sells T-shirts, bumper stickers, and coffee mugs that have negative slogans about the president on them... The question that I have is if a person has built such a strong reputation of being a person who criticizes the president what are the odds that they would actually want to see the president do something great that made everyone happy? And how likely is it that deep down the critic WANTS the president to continue to fumble and make poor choices?
The more time and energy that you "invest" on trying to convince others about how bad your boss, your ex-lover, or someone else in your life is the more that person will become a person that you "love to hate" and the more that you will want to protect your "investment" by continuing to find evidence to show that you have been right about that person all along.
Not only can you become addicted to things like drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, but you can also become addicted to complaining. (And you can even get addicted to watching YouTube videos of other people complaining!) Some "chronic complainers" end up spending several hours a week mentally rehearsing arguments that they expect to have the next time they run into a certain person that they don't like, and the most effective way to stop complaining is to
become aware of just how much time and productivity you lose because of it, which is why I strongly recommend that you take the "21 Days Without Complaining Challenge" which will help you to realize how often you complain and force you to find more positive and productive ways to respond to life's challenges.
6. IMITATE PEOPLE
There are few things that are more powerful and healing than imitating others in a funny way. Think about it, even if a person hates president George W. Bush with a passion and they get angry every time they see him on TV giving a speech, they will laugh hysterically if they turn on "Saturday Night Live" and see someone dressed up like him and who is mimicking his voice and mannerisms perfectly, because there is just something about a really good impersonation of
someone that makes people laugh and feel good in a unique way, and the healing power of this can be unbelievable.
If you have a stressful job imitating your co-workers can provide an enormous amount of "comic relief" for yourself and your other co-workers. (If you have a co-worker who stand way too close to you when they talk, or who swears a lot, or who is a habitual liar, or who is constantly talking about their dog please realize that they can be your greatest source of amusement while at work if you simply choose to see it that way.
I want to stress that I'm not encouraging you to make fun of people in a mean spirited way, rather I'm just encouraging you to learn how to imitate your friends, family, and co-workers and just have fun with it when they aren't around. (Unfortunately most people only imitate people that they don't like and rather than doing a realistic impression of them they will simply talk in a dumbed-down voice to mock the person which won't provide the same health benefits.)
When you do a realistic impression of someone it is like you become that person. (Female actors who pretend to be pregnant in a film will often start to get cravings for certain types of food the same way that a pregnant woman will, and when you play the role of another person you start to imagine what it must be like to be that person and through that experience you develop a greater level of understanding for them.)
I refer to the 12 years that I spent in public school as "Acting School" because the one thing that I really learned how to do during those years was imitate the teachers and other students that I went to school with, and I now talk in other people's voices more than I do my real voice.
Any time that I've had a regular job that I was only doing for what it gave me in return rather than viewing the job as only for money I viewed it as 1/3 for money, 1/3 for physical exercise, and 1/3 for comedy. This attitude has made any job I've ever had fun, and I want to encourage you to take on this attitude as well. If you don't like someone start imitating them and they will quickly become a reason that you laugh and feel good.