By John Sonmez October 27, 2016

Why So Serious?

Funny title for a not-so-funny video. In this video, I have received an email from a reader telling me that he takes his life too seriously sometimes. He is facing some hard times because he finds everything and everyone is crap.

So, this is a difficult thing to address. How can he possibly make a shift in his mindset to stop taking things too seriously?

He'll have to change his mental associations to make sure that he stops taking things seriously and start enjoying more of life.

Wanna know more about stopping taking things too seriously? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript From Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what’s up, John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got this question that I’m not so serious about, but it’s called why so serious? This is kind of interesting here. It says, “Mr. Sonmez, I have an issue. I’m extremely serious about everything. I have began to recognize it more here lately throughout my day and it’s miserable. When I get real serious I start being more and more narcissistic, I think negatively about everyone; even my own family. As you can imagine it’s horrible. All this in contrast when I’m not so serious, I’m happy and couldn’t care less about how people look or how they act.

As a side effect of being so serious, I also put a lot of pressure on myself to perform with excellence and perfection. For the most part I normally achieve it too, when compared with most people. Being serious helps me take advantage of some hardcore self-discipline. However, things have taken a turn.

Since I’ve realized that I’m so serious and how stressful and miserable it makes me, I’ve been trying my best to get out of that mode whenever I can. In lieu of this as I’ve began to not be serious at times when I begin to lose structure that I had when I was serious all the time. I haven’t worked out, nor have I had a drive to work out. I haven’t eaten right either as opposed to when I was serious.

“I want to be able to force myself to do things that are hard just like I’m able to when I’m really serious but without all the stress and headache. It’s so disabling being serious all the time. I’d really love to completely quit and I know it’s going to take time.

“I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, and also what you think I could do whenever I got in that really serious mood to get out of it again.” This is from Konnor. He says, “PS, I love your content. You’re doing a great job.” Well, thank you, Konnor. Seriously, thank you.

Anyway, this is interesting. Okay, so Konnor, here’s what I would say is going on with you. You have equated, in your mind, you’ve set this—created this rule for yourself as probably Tony Robbins would say that equates being serious with being disciplined and successful. You’ve got 2 modes you operate in. you operate in this mode where you’re extremely serious and you’re disciplined and successful and you get things done and you eat right and you work out and you focus, but you’re also hypocritical and narcissistic and you are negative. It’s kind of associated. You’ve got this other mode where you’re not serious and you don’t get stuff done and you’re lazy and you let everything fall apart. That’s sort of an unhealthy association and those things don’t necessarily go together. You have equated this in your mind, but this does not make this truth. You can simply rewrite this rule and redefine what it means.

I think that you probably have this fear that when you’re not serious you can’t get work done and get stuff done that you just have to get rid. You have to get rid of this idea. This is a limiting belief that you have that is telling you this, but you have to realize that this is not true. This is just some association. At some point in your history you made an association. Probably what happened was that you recognized that you got good results at a time when you were really, really serious and so now you’ve always—you’ve associated those things together. Naturally, when you try to not be serious you start to lose those results.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have some amount of seriousness. You shouldn’t just take everything lightly. There are serious situations. I did this video I think on gravitas. You should have some amount of gravitas. You should be able to let people know when you’re serious and not just joking around all the time, but at the same time you’ve got to let loose and you’ve got to not let things bother you so much.

I would say that what you want to do is first of all you just want to think about times that you have been successful and you have been disciplined and you’ve gotten stuff done and you haven’t been so serious. Taking things seriously and being serious or being stressed out and worried are not even necessarily the same thing. You can take something seriously. You can have fun doing something but be disciplined about it, right? There’s definitely ways to do that.

Me, I’m a pretty disciplined person. I do a lot of work. I do a lot of things. Like I said, I fast until 5 everyday. I work out for 2 hours a day pretty much every single day and I’m pretty strict with my work routine and what I do but I take things very lightly. I don’t try and control things that are outside of my influence. Sometimes that can lead to being too serious or taking things too seriously if you’re trying to control all these things in life that you don’t have control over.

I take this approach of I’m going to do the best that I can. I’m going to control myself. I’m going to do what I can do, but if stuff happens I’m going to let it roll off my back. I’m just going to laugh about it. I’m going to have a good time doing this. When I need to get down to work I’m going to get down to work. In that respect I’m serious, but I’m not carrying that over to my personality, not dealing with other people if stuff happens. You’ve got to let stuff happen. You’ve got to be willing to accept fate. Whatever it deals you you’ve got to say, “Okay, so this is how we’re going to play it? Okay, let’s play it that way.” Roll with the punches. You know what I’m saying? That will allow you to reduce the seriousness but still get the effectiveness of the work.

But really, my big suggestion is that you just have, in your head, this mental association that says that seriousness means getting stuff done. As soon as you can break that and realize that those 2 aren’t necessarily equated. You’ve made this unnatural connection. A lot of people make this connection. Again, the best way I still think that you can do this is to think of times when you were successful, when you were disciplined and you weren’t serious. Or look at people who are able to do that and model them. Look for people that achieve a lot but do it in a very non-serious manner.

I think one person that I would say is Richard Branson. He’s an extremely successful entrepreneur but look at him, look at his personality. Look at what he looks like. Does this dude look serious? Have you seen him launch—when he launched Virgin Airlines and when he launches a new company he does all kinds of spectacles and stuff. I mean he gets stuff done. He works really hard, but he’s not serious. He’s jovial. He’s having a good time. He’s enjoying life while he’s working hard and being disciplined.

Look for people like that and look for those examples. That’s going to shatter that preconceived notion in your mind and it’s going to allow you to reform what you think about getting work done and being discipline and not necessarily tie it with being serious.

Anyway, great question. I hope that you—I seriously hope that you can stop being serious so much. I do have something serious for you, for you watching this. Seriously, you should seriously click the button below to subscribe and you’ll get some serious new videos where I’ll talk in a serious manner about things that you should do in your life. All right, anyway, I’ll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."