When trying to do something at a high level, it’s easy to feel like you need to approach everything with the utmost seriousness. After all, your pursuit is important! If you aren’t serious, then people will think you aren’t really into what you do.
The drawback is that we can become caught up in our own sense of importance. We start to see our work as world-changing and critical for humanity. We then get upset when something goes wrong, treating it like a tragedy instead of a minor speed bump.
When we take ourselves too seriously, we stop playing with the world and start trying to control it.
As you might imagine, this doesn’t work well. We don’t approach our work with a lightness and curiosity anymore. Furthermore, other people notice how we act differently. We become less fun to be around.
The truth is that your work will likely not change the world. We may seek to make an impact, but in the grand scheme of things, all our efforts only have minuscule effects. To some, those effects are large. But overall, we don’t have more influence than a droplet of water in an ocean does.
This can understandably lead to a sense of hopelessness. If you take yourself too seriously, you might even refuse to accept this. However, we can approach this in a different light. Instead of trying to be serious all of the time, approach life with a sense of play. You aren’t going to make a huge difference either way, so take the opportunity to try new things and embrace challenges. Who cares if you fail? For the most part, failure isn’t deadly, so we shouldn’t be as worried about it as we are. The fact that we do worry so much is probably a sign of being too serious and not playful enough.
Life has full of moments which will be filled with seriousness. Don’t go and dump even more seriousness onto the whole thing. Your work is not the most important thing in the world, and it’s okay to just relax and enjoy yourself.