When I started my business, my self-appointed title was Emperor of Fun and Games. I wanted everyone know that I specialized in selling fun. What I didn’t realize was the stress that would follow. Now, I had to be the FUN guy, happy all the time – smiling through all of my problems, trying to reflect my brand. If I was selling fun, I had to live the title, right? But if you came into my real world you would hear my wife exclaim from time to time “ok Emperor” dripping with sarcasm as I bitched about every little hiccup. My kids love to refer to my alter ego as “Crazy Dad” when I let my temper get the best of me (insert the scene from Christmas Story where the father is fixing the boiler in the basement). My temper has always been my Achilles heal and it wasn’t congruent with my messaging. I felt inauthentic but when my wife and kids would poke fun at me, we would all end up laughing. Them at me and then me with them. It has always helped me control my temper ever since and got me thinking about how laughing at yourself is a powerful tool to deliver happiness.
Let’s look at Grittymania for the most recent example of this tool in full effect. Ever since Gritty, the Flyers brand-new mascot we helped develop, was rolled out the first question every single media outlet asked was why Gritty was accepted so quickly? After some reflection the tipping point was very clear to me. Gritty and the Flyers didn’t just ignore the initial negative response he received. They in fact, embraced it! During Gritty’s debut at his first Flyers game he slipped and fell on the ice during a period break. The Flyers fans pounced on Gritty with a series of nasty tweets. Gritty tweeted back “Why didn’t anybody tell me the ice is this slippery?”
It was a brilliant response and after Gritty signed off Twitter that night, he had gone from zero followers to over 15K in less than 8 hours. As of December 2018, he now has over 200K followers! Gritty laughed at himself and the Flyers have the best mascot brand roll out since the Phillie Phanatic’s debut in 1978.
Laughing at ourselves when others are delivering critical review with vitriol makes us the bigger and stronger person. That strength in turn make us more resilient and that resilience will make you happier. If you are a leader and exhibit the ability to laugh at yourself people will respect and want to follow you. If you are a parent, teacher or coach, no demonstration will have a more lasting and positive effect on your kids and players than showing your ability to laugh in the face of insults. Laughing at ourselves is another sharp arrow in our quiver to attack our tempers, insecurity and sensitivity.
Remember we all can practice our way to happy!