I’m flying to San Francisco on United out of Boston. I have nearly four million air miles, but I watched the video of the flight safety demo because it was so appealing: United employees having fun and determined to have us understand how to put on the life vest and oxygen masks. I found it engaging (there was a colorful dinosaur and an occupied golf cart simulating turbulence careering down a hill) and also ingenious. Other airlines are attempting the same thing (I understand one of them with some nudity).
One Halloween I walked into my bank and all the tellers had costumes on. My UPS driver always has biscuits for the dogs (after their obligatory barking). I told my Bentley service manager that I wanted a fun loaner, so she sent over a high-end Porsche sports car. The new Teslas, when put into their highest performance mode, ask, “Would you rather call your momma?”
Deadly serious is usually just deadly. We need to stop taking ourselves and our work as if we are deciding on the fate of civilization, stop regarding every meeting as a high holy day. I give the benefit of the doubt to those who don’t take themselves too seriously (which is why I loathe people in restrooms talking on their phones, awash in self-importance, as though they are brain surgeons on call when, in fact, they’re insurance adjustors on vacation).
So here’s my mantra for this week: Don’t take yourself too seriously and have some fun. In so doing, I guarantee you’ll bring joy to others.
In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins. — Ulysses S. Grant