I’ve never been a big fan of April Fool’s day, probably because I’m so gullible . I’m a trusting, curious person. So if you spin me a tale, or tell me to try something, I will do it. I will fall for it. Every time.
One would think, since I grew up with an older brother who loved to trick me, I would be more leery about these things, but I’m not. I think it’s because I’m optimistic, always looking forward to a great experience and I’m a Pollyanna. I try to be a pretty good sport about it too, but I have been known to get a little upset, especially when I was younger. I used to get so mad. Why? Well, of course, I didn’t want to be a fool or made fun of for it…who does? right?!
There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do. – Amy Poehler
What are we so afraid of?
Think about your best moments, the most memorable ones? When there was a great night out, it usually included a moment of someone doing something silly, outrageous, or kinda stupid. You tell those stories over and over again because they were great. We don’t go on and on about the routine stuff or the safe times. The times we are living, the times we are brave or bold. We are learning, feeling, growing, having fun, doing the things that make life memorable.
It seems funny then that we are so afraid of being made a fool, when a lot of times, those are the moments when you feel most alive! Yes, you can argue that a lot of those times you were drunk or weren’t thinking or you never were going to see those people again so you didn’t really care…but you always look fondly back on it because you felt alive.
So why don’t we make more of these moments?
We are scared. We don’t want to be a fool or different or fail or take a different path than other people in our family or friends. We don’t know what will happen because we’ve never done it before. We have heard “horror” stories, those urban legends of people who tried it and never recovered. It’s all doom and gloom and fear and other people’s opinions and fears and doubts. We let it seep in and take over, we feed it, we fight it, we get lazy, we make excuses.
What’s the worst that could happen?
If you fail or some things don’t turn out the way you wanted them to, more often than not, it’s not that bad. Your life isn’t ruined. Sometimes you get a chance to redeem yourself. Some times you don’t. You learn and you move on. You actually feel good about the attempt. You feel good you put yourself out there. You feel alive.
So, just go for it! Whatever it is that you are hesitant about or scared of, just go for it!
Fake it till you make it
Let’s face it, none of us really know what we are doing, right? We get and give advice and we figure things out as to how they work for us. We share that knowledge thinking it will benefit others, but most of the time, we have to try it for ourselves to really know.
Think of someone you admire. Do you think their life is perfect? That they never experience fear or failure or frustration? Do they have it all figured out…
My Aunt was an Assistant High School Principal for over 30 years and she told me a story of the day that she retired. She said she remembered leaving the school thinking “good, they never figured out I had no idea what I was doing.” This woman is highly regarded in her community as a leader and educator and had those thoughts. It made me laugh and I’m glad that she shared that because it made me feel better about my own insecurities. It has since made me feel comforted at times when I question my abilities. We all feel like that sometimes, even the most successful people, even the people we admire the most.
So we are all faking it. There is no right way. We are all foolish. and if that’s the case, let’s at least have fun while we do it.
Over ride it
Most of the time, when you hear that phrase “oh, don’t fool yourself” it’s a warning. It’s said as a concern that you’re not seeing clearly, that you are living in a fantasy, you are being naive. But sometimes I think it can work for you. Sometimes it’s good to fool yourself. It’s good to fool yourself into thinking the best things about you. It’s good to fool yourself into believing you can do it, whatever it may be. It’s good to fool yourself because sometimes your brain needs to be tricked. It needs to get out of it’s own way, it needs to override the fears, the negativity, the doubts.
So don’t fool yourself into thinking the worst will happen, into making excuses for your self, talking yourself out of doing the things you want to try, thinking you will look like a fool.
We love the fools
There is a certain vulnerablity that we love, when we see someone put themselves out there. When they aren’t afraid of making a fool of themselves, because they totally own it. There’s a reason we can’t look away. I think of it like the Lip Synch battle effect ( before they had all of the props and special effects.) I remember the first time they did that segement on the Late show with Jimmy Fallon. It’s the episode with Paul Rudd. I remember watching it and thinking, that’s it, I want to be like that. Whenever I give a presentation or take on a new project, I want it to be like that, some of it thought out, some of it spontaneous, and going all in. It’s hilarious and fun and crazy and admirable. It seems weird that something like that can be described as admirable, but it is!
We admire the fools because we want to be brave and put it all our there and not over think it. We admire the fools because they aren’t afraid. Love them or hate them, they aren’t afraid.
Don’t be afraid to be foolish. Don’t be afraid to go for it. Don’t be afraid to be alive.
What is a time you felt foolish, but it worked out in your favor? I’d love to hear about it!
Thanks for helping me to be brave here… I appreciate the encouragement!