Being funny is an interesting phenomenon. Why are people funny? Why does it matter? Sure it makes you feel good when someone is joking around with you, but so do back rubs and compliments. Why do we like it when people are funny?
One theory is that humor is an indicator of intelligence, and we like intelligent people because we can learn from them and rely on them. And unlike other examples of intelligence, humor is really hard to fake.
For example, I could memorize a lot of facts about marsupial animals. If I were to rattle those facts off at you, you might think that I'm pretty smart. But at the same time you'd know that maybe I just memorized them. Memorization is easy, so we don't necessarily think people who know some facts are intelligent.
But humor requires taking unrelated concepts, relating them, and putting them into a familiar context. That's really hard to do, especially in real time. If someone recited a bunch of copied jokes you wouldn't think he's intelligent, but if he made some funny off-the-cuff comments you would.
Physique is another good example. It's hard to get into great shape. I can tell you that I'm really serious about my health, but if I'm overweight or rail-thin and look like I don't know what the inside of a gym looks like, you might not believe me.
In most cases, the proof is in the pudding. It doesn't really matter if you believe that I'm smart or in shape because I'm the one to whom those factors matter. But what if I'm asking you to trust me? Or hire me? How can you know if I'm representing myself honestly?
One way is to look for evidence that I've done hard things in that field.
For example, a friend of mine recently paid me a large debt that was rather ambiguous. By the letter of the law, I don't think he really owed it to me. Sprit... maybe. Either way, I had totally forgotten about it and would have never thought to collect. But he brought it up and paid me.
This is a friend I already completely trust, but even if that wasn't the case, that one action would cement my trust in him. It's a really hard thing to pay a large debt you know the other person isn't expecting.
A girl I'm coaching is applying for a job. She told me that she's identified weaknesses that the company has and is going to do the work to fix them and present that with her application. How does that look to the company? It's one thing to believe her if she says she'll do a good job, but it's a whole lot easier if she's already done a good job.
I'm sort of writing this post just as an excuse to once again tell you to do hard things. Everyone looks for the easy way, but the hard way is where the action is. Besides helping you grow and challenging yourself, it provides reference experiences for people to know that you are who you say you are.
The bees are from my friend's beehive. I dressed up in the crazy beekeeper suit and helped/watch her take care of them. Very interesting!
I'm only going to be in the US for around 2 more days until at least November. Crazy!
". . do hard things. Everyone looks for the easy way, but the hard way is where the action is.. Besides helping you grow and challenging yourself, it provides reference experiences for people to know that you are who you say you are."
In addition, doing the hard things sets you apart. Anyone can do the easy things. Not everyone can do the hard things. It's nice to be the person who can. :o)
Sometimes as a plane takes off, or a line for a bus inches forward, I occupy myself by making a mental list of things I'm grateful for. The list is never-ending, but the item on the list that I'm always most grateful for are the people in my life, my friends and family.
I don't think that I'm a grand expert of friend making, but I must have done a few things right to end up with such great friends, and I think I can tease out some core ideas.
The first is to not annoy. When I think about great people I'm not good friends with, the reason for the distance is always some level of annoyance. And it always seems to be a shame-- such a great person, but so hard to spend the time with them that it would take to become friends.
I'm sure I do plenty of little annoying things, but my time in pickup helped me develop a self-awareness to seek out those things an eliminate them as best as possible. If you have trouble making friends with people you think should otherwise be your friends, it might be time for some deep introspection and work on awareness.
All my life I have been terrible at following through. I'm great at saying things and then doing the complete opposite; I'd agree to go to a party and then bail last minute (often knowing full well that was my plan all along); I'd go to the gym twice and not go back for 3 years; I'd start non-fiction books and abandon them three pages in; the list goes on. I stuck to things only when there was something making me, like a friend, or an angry professor, or the threat of losing my job if I didn't turn up. I never really saw this as a problem. Until now.
I realise that committing yourself to a course of action and then following up on that isn't just a good thing to do; it's the only thing to do. All my flakiness, last minute decisions, and lack of a firm answer didn't just paint me as unreliable to other people, but they made me think I was unreliable. I had no trust in myself to follow through on tasks, so I stopped starting them. I stopped trying to do things that were difficult because I knew I'd procrastinate them away until it was far too late. To not be able to trust yourself is not a place you want to be in, because there is no chance you will do anything. Ever.
This has changed recently. I've managed to stick to my no-sugar, no-carb, no-dairy, no-anything-that-will-shorten-my-life-span diet; I'm keeping up with my French practice; I'm going to keep blogging here Mondays and Thursdays, regardless of readership; I'm in the process of "Paring Down" (that's for another post); I make sure that I answer yes or no to plans made with friends, and stick to what I answered. Ultimately, I'm setting myself tasks and I'm seeing them through to the bitter end.
This might seem like rehabilitation, and that's because it is. I was (am by nature, I suppose) lazy, flaky, and generally looking for the easy way out. I've been reading about how this is a hard-wired phenomenon in our brain to take the easy route, do the immediately fun thing and not the long term fun, worthwhile thing, but I don't know how much of that I believe yet. For me, right now, it's just a case of sticking with what I'm doing to the point at which it's completed, or until something physically stops me doing it. As I build my trust in myself, I can start to set myself bigger tasks and more meaningful goals.
It's going to be an interesting few months (years).