11 Aug

Fear Disguised as Practicality

A blog post written only for me. (But I’ll let you read it 😊)

I’m freshly back from vacation in Denmark and Scotland. A delight filled and also challenging trip as expected. Biking, hiking, trains, planes and automobiles with the wheel on the wrong side. A great mix of fun and the natural discomfort from driving a manual rental car on the wrong side of the road and shifting accidentally into third gear.

On day one of my trip, I awoke in Copenhagen to jetlag and while slurping on some coffee I found these two great videos from two very different philosophers.

Alan Watts and Jim Carey.

“But Jim Carey isn’t a philosopher, Anthony.” You might say.

Give me a moment, I promise Jim has deep thoughts to share. 

But first Alan. Give this video a watch as a primer.

“We are always thinking of the satisfaction of life is coming later. Which is to say only suckers put hope in the future.” – Alan Watts

We can choose to drop the last sentence if we chose but don’t wait for the future to provide you satisfaction. Alan lived an interesting life and his talk called “The Great Discovery” is sampled in one of my favorite songs.

So, what about Jim Carey? Youtube made a suggestion based on Alan Watts’ video and I thank The Great Algorithm for pandering to me. Jim Carey has done it all and his message deeply resonated with me as a fellow funny person.

A nugget from the video: “I was chasing becoming a famous idea.”

For me that means letting go of metrics. Letting go of the next bigger stage. Being famous. If fame comes, great, I promise to further leverage my positive influence. I just want to be of service and to add more chapters to the story of My Book

“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.”

Whoaaaaaa. I used to speak on “Communication” because it felt practical. And here I am today focused on human happiness. Gallup’s misery index shows we are less happy than most would expect and the trendline is going in the wrong direction globally. What I really hope for is to inspire people to want more from life and to then craft it. Crafting is an active process. Work is a part of that and workplaces that recognize their people are exactly that, people, will invest in the whole person and their happiness.

Again, from Jim Carey: “You spend the first half of your life chasing.”

As I am about to enter age 50, with only mild kicking and screaming, I’ve let go of the need to be “a stand-up comedian” as a label. I still “do” stand-up comedy I just do it differently by standing on stages where my keynotes weave comedy with the deep diving content on happiness. The culmination of this weaving is my traveling show called Get More Happier that blends a comedy show, a happiness workshop, trivia and a keynote presentation all into a “happiness smoothie.” It’s ridiculous and impactful and you can request it in your city.

Ok, so I’m no longer chasing standup comedy. And that’s a good thing because the act of chasing is a neurochemical beast. The brain elicits a “Rebel Yell” and always wants more more more. The rare Billy Idol reference in a happiness blog, you’re welcome. Letting go of that chase has been powerful.

Jim speaks also to his mission as an actor or comedian: “My purpose was to free people from concern.”

But people always presented their best self to him. He was acting. So were they.  

I have a different purpose. My purpose is in part to entertain you, yes. I’m funny and that’s what Jim Is saying about “freeing you from concern.” Laughter is tool to open you up to hearing the message, to build trust and rapport. But if all I do is make you laugh and then you go back to reality and the best version you felt possible in that moment of time we share together will fade without crafting new habits. And the magic of honoring the “Hard Parts of Happiness” is that the crafting of fulfilling and meaningful life is your choice.

Jim and Alan probably never met but I’m glad they landed together in Copenhagen when I did.

Anthony Poponi is a happiness expert, energetic professional speaker, workplace consultant and founder of Focus on the 40 programs and resources. He specializes in putting joy in our workplaces and in our communities through workshops and keynotes that leave his audiences buzzing. Being a hard act to follow on stage is always his goal.