Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

June 10, 2007

You are not the center of the world so relax and live a little

          Everywhere I turn I run into uptight people who take themselves too seriously. They talk incessantly, as though everybody is dying to hear what they have to say. They appear to be totally focused on themselves. They have but one theme: me, me, me, and me.

          If one of these dear souls would ever stop talking I could offer some good advice: “Good buddy, relax and live a little; you are not the center of the universe. Stop taking yourself so seriously and you may live a little longer and have more fun along the way.”

          The first step is to realize the world does not revolve around you. That does not diminish you in any way. You are still a person of worth. You are even unique; there is no one else quite like you.

          That thought is a good place to begin. Have a good laugh about it. Admit that all of your friends, everyone of them, are thankful there is no one else like you. They would hate to have to put up with two of you.

          If you don’t have a sense of humor, then give yourself one this very moment. Without a healthy sense of humor you can never enjoy other people or be fun to live with. Work hard every day not to be stuffed full of yourself. Nobody enjoys being around you if you think you are hot stuff.

          Being around a person who is devoid of humor is like being in a desert with no water in sight. The humorless life is one of misery filled with tension, friction, anxiety, and restlessness. Those who must live with such people are always thirsty for laughter. They are always looking for an oasis – a caring, smiling person who is genuinely interested in other people.

          It helps to simply enjoy being the person God made you. Throw away those visions of grandeur about yourself and accept the truth about yourself. Be thankful for what you have and stop wishing you had the stuff that other people have.

          Realize you are not the smartest dude in town. Just be glad that you are smarter than a rock. When you do something dumb, laugh at yourself. Be satisfied with the brains you have. There is a good chance you have not worn them out yet. Use what you have instead of wishing you had more.

          Take a good look in the mirror. If that does not give you a good laugh, you may be brain-dead. So what if you are not the best looking guy around; just be thankful you don’t look any worse. Decide to enjoy the way you look. After all, what you see is all you’ve got so enjoy it. You don’t have the money to get another face – and it might turn out to look worse than the one you are wearing now.

          Stop cold turkey getting uptight about the behavior of other people. You have a full-time job trying to control your own behavior. Laugh when someone else makes a stupid mistake. Remember it has not been two days since you made one yourself. Laugh with people, not at them. It can be good therapy for the soul.

          As for mistakes, be real. If you don’t think you make at least one a week, then you had better see your doctor. You may be truly sick. Learn to do more than giggle and smile; throw your head back and enjoy a belly laugh now and then. It will do you good.

          My mentor and friend Ken Callahan likes to describe the origin of “Rule 63.” In the early days of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), Bill and Bob met with a hundred recovering alcoholics to develop a charter for the organization.

Eagerly, almost addictively as Ken describes it, the group formulated rule after rule until they had 62 rules and regulations. Suddenly they realized what they had done. "Their compulsiveness and addictiveness had run rampant in yet another way," Ken said. So, with good humor amid healthy laughter, they created Rule 63: "We will not take ourselves too seriously."

Wisely they scrapped the other rules and began the movement without the excess baggage of many rules. The great success of AA teaches us how helpful “Rule 63” can be in all our lives.

If you are "the Boss" where you work, Rule 63 will help you become a better leader. People will simply enjoy you more. However, if you constantly have to remind everyone that you are "the Boss," you are in real trouble and no doubt too tense for your own good.

Observe the strings on a guitar or violin. They must be tightened in order to play well, but they will break if they remain tight all the time. Loosen up, be a real person, laugh a little, and lead by example.

There is wonderful freedom in not taking yourself too seriously. Hard work becomes drudgery unless it is mixed with humor. But when the balance is right, life is enjoyable and other people usually delight in being around "fun" people. Even if they don’t, you will enjoy your own life a lot more. + + +