Consider the entrepreneur, grinding toward his goals, pushing past the pain and battling against his lesser self. It’s a noble picture. But there's more to entrepreneurship than stress and strain.
Think of the elite marathon runners who have bathroom emergencies and let it loose in the middle of a perfect stride while they grind out the race. Or Alex Honnold, explaining how to go to the bathroom off of a 2,000-foot granite slab while conquering a mountain. Success is about the hustle and the grind, sure. But it can be hilarious too. So laugh at yourself. It’ll help you enjoy the journey.
Here are the top five reasons to not take your entrepreneur-self so seriously:
1. It makes you less attractive.
Despite what we’ve learned from all the ads with the glamorously unhappy supermodels who look like they’d sooner eat your soul than celebrate the US$ 1.2 million they just made, smiling makes you more attractive.
2. You look crazy staring at the computer.
It’s true. I get it, you’re saving the world and improving quality of life for tens of thousands of people. But you look crazy. Legit-crazy.
Your brow is furrowed, which can leave you with a semi-permanent old-man scowl. You forgot to blink 10 minutes ago. And you’re hunched over like Quasimodo looking for Jezebel on the Internet. Now take a step back and laugh. That’s not you: it’s your quasi-evil entrepreneur counterpart that forgot to relax, to breathe and to laugh.
Download the app – Stand Up! The Work Break Timer to remind yourself to snap out of the "psycho-killer stare." Then you can move around, unfurrow that brow and refocus.
3. You're going to have a heart attack.
Sitting down and frowning at the computer all day not only sucks generally, but it could be sucking the life from you. Unhappy people are more likely to have a heart attack than their jolly counterparts.
You wouldn’t want to croak before you break your first million, would you? Set some reminders to be silly. How you do that is up to you, but here are some failsafe resorts:
- Dog talk – you know that insane voice you use with the animals you adore? Try that with people. Or, if you're not that bold, just take a break and talk to your dog.
- Dance – try not to feel silly doing the sprinkler in public. Subtle pelvic thrusts are all the better.
- Juggle – no one can take themselves seriously while juggling. It’s also a good physical activity that synchronizes your left and right brain, leaving you more balanced, more creative and with an enlarged humor gland.
- Think of the most ridiculous inside joke with your friends – let it be dirty as you want or clean. Get yourself bubbling over about it, then walk into a room where you absolutely cannot laugh. Try not to laugh. You’ll be screaming for the door to unleash your guffaw.
4. You’ll bounce back faster if you laugh.
Laughing at yourself is a way to accept yourself and self-acceptance makes you resilient. People who cuss themselves and bark at others might seem big and bad. But they’re actually as brittle as the crunchy leaves you love stepping on in the fall. Instead of cracking the whip when you make a mistake, try cracking a joke.
Lightheartedly pointing out your mistakes and moving on beats the whole self-abuse thing with a stick. One is funny and resilient. The other promotes shame and brittleness.
5. Happy people earn more.
Happy people actually earn more money than angry and sad people – here’s the study.
When you’re on the ground-floor crew of business that’s about to skyrocket, there’s a lot that can go wrong and a lot that can keep you focused on everything but your achievements. But the decision to focus on the negative is up to you.
Keeping a gratitude journal can make you happy, studies suggest.
So, again, with the mindful app, remind yourself of all that you have to be happy for. Write it down. Congratulate yourself for your effort, and for your achievements. Pat yourself on the back. Or the behind. Take time out to give whatever self-love you need. Celebrate your accomplishments. Be thankful for the people who have helped you succeed. Then go out and hustle your first million.
Entrepreneurs take on super-serious personas to get by. But, counterintuitively, you’ll get more miles from a smile. So practice these five steps throughout your workday and be happy, be balanced, be rich.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by Entrepreneur.com.ph.