It was one of the usual night classes. We had an exam that morning, and have been in class since 8 PM reading. It was now 4 AM, and we decided to head back home. It was still dark and cold – it was hardly twilight. The morning was also dead silent, and there was pitch blackness due to a blackout.
We wobbled towards our lodge in the dark-quietness. But on our way, we realized the security building was closed (deserted). It was unusual, so we left a comment about the anomaly, but were too tired to think much about it – our minds have been soaking up knowledge for hours now.
Then it happened.
Home was barely two stone throws away when a man emerged out of the darkness armed with a deadly metal. It was a gun. We turned around – in a knee jerk response – only to face a double-barreled weapon pointed at us (from behind). We’ve walked into an ambush.
That day our laptops and phones were taken, and we were sent home empty-handed. It was a terrible night. It is not a nice experience standing behind the deadly end of two guns wielded by angry thieves – especially when they ram the heavy handle on your scalp.
However, a few months later, we looked back at that day and laughed. We were dumb to have walked in such a notorious environment that early in the morning. Especially after commenting that the absence of the security posts might mean the presence of thieves. We laughed how we shivered and knelt as we were robbed.
“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it”– Charlie Chaplin
HOW TO TAKE PAINFUL EVENTS IN LIFE – benefits of laughter
We laughed because today we have better laptops and phones. We laugh because the guys who robbed us are probably in jail, dead, or robbing someone else. Most importantly, we laugh and use the story to keep ourselves cautious – to avoid dangerous situations.
There were several ways of taking the incident, but we took laughter. We chose laughter over regret, anger, and vengeance.
Laughter, in our world, makes it not just tolerable, but enjoyable. With it, we can look at life not blinded by anger, regret, or shame, but rather an exciting and weird curiosity. With laughter, we can see our stupidity and that of others. With laughter, we can see what was beyond our control and what we could have done.
With laugher, we can learn from life’s harsh lessons without being trapped under its lashes.
Laughter is the ultimate way to live life.
“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful”–Bob Hope
Under the sun, under the rain, under rejection, under persecution, under torment, laughter would save you. It may not save you from the pain, but it would save you from the trap of shame, regret, and anger.
“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.– Marcus Aurelius
If you walk into trouble and get burnt, it is up to you to laugh at yourself, and learn from it, or to hate yourself, the burner, the fire, and the day.
If you can laugh at yourself, then no one can shame you. If you can laugh at yourself first, you won’t feel embarrassed.
I still remember the ridiculous things I’ve done, but I laugh at myself because I am the only one who gets it replayed in his mind – not anyone else. Everyone else is busy thinking about their mistakes and embarrassing moments. The trick is to learn to laugh at yours, shrug it off and continue your life. Because no one else remembers it – at least, not until it is mentioned again.
So, why not laugh at it. Why not see it for what it was – a mistake?
WE LIVE IN WORLDS APART
There are different circumstances we would find ourselves in life.
Different people in different situations, but it is all the same nonetheless.
We are all dealt a challenge, but whilst some enjoy the adventure and live, others are crushed by the effects of the events – effects they allowed to harm them. While some live happily in impoverished societies, many take to being unhappy in wealthy places.
What is it that causes this?
It is because we live worlds apart.
Whilst we may physically live in the same environment, we live worlds apart in our heads.
To one, a lady chewing gum whilst talking is an insult to his personality, to the other being greeted makes them uncomfortable. To one, being violent is powerful, to the other being gentle is admirable.
We live worlds apart.
- The other sees an apple fall and thinks about a gift from the gods, whilst the other think about gravity.
We live worlds apart.
- One claims there are no jobs, the other sees it as an opportunity to start a business.
We live worlds apart.
- One sees the boss as mean, the other sees the boss as committed.
- One feels life is about deceiving people to get their money, the other think about giving them something valuable in return for money.
- One thinks life is about accumulation, the other thinks it is about contribution.
Whether sun or rain, some would complain and others would rejoice.
We live worlds apart.
- One sees charcoal stains on white paper, the other thinks about art.
- One sees troubles, the other sees opportunities.
In my life, I have come to see that there are no troubles, no problems, no challenges, no obstacles, only perception. And I choose to laugh.
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy”– Catherine Ripperger Fenwick
They are all part of the game, all part of the adventure, all part of the things we desire along with every passing breath.
Our only duty is to conquer the level, the game, the obstacle, the problem, the challenge…
No game is a game if you move in a straight unbarricaded path to the finish point. You need obstacles. You need limits. You need a time constraint, you need a life span, you need death. And you need to enjoy it – you need to laugh –, else it’s not a game (else, it’s not life).
It is all part of the game: the suffering, the pain, the misery, the embarrassments, the losses, the love, the gift, the freedom, the anarchy, the war, everything. They are all part of the game.
Your only duty is to play. You do not remove obstacles from a Mario game, you learn to overcome them.
WHY YOU MUST LAUGH AT LIFE – reasons to laugh more
You cannot stop death, sickness, loss, embarrassment, hindrances, or any pain. But you can conquer them. You can conquer the obstacle even if it would mean, enduring, going through, going around, or changing routes. You must play.
It is a game with only one exit. Death.
But why quit? Why give-up whilst you can turn your pain into lessons and inspiration for others? Why quit when you can use the memories of the things you’ve gone through, the monsters you’ve slain, the attacks you’ve survived, to propel yourself up to the next level and the level after that?
Life is a game.
ONE MUST IMAGINE SISYPHUS HAPPY
It is like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down.
To stop pushing the boulder up is to give up on life. It is to stay poor. It is to quit pushing for greater heights in life. It is to die.
That is why you must learn to laugh at your worse moments. You must learn to laugh at the pain.
Albert Camus put it perfectly in “The Myth of Sisyphus”.
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the king of Ephyra who was punished by the gods for his greed and wisdom by being forced to push a massive boulder up a hill forever. Every day, Sisyphus engages in this difficult task of pushing the boulder, only to have it roll back down the hill, hitting him on the way, and forcing him to start the process all over.
Side note: I wonder if this has any similarities between the story of Adam and Eve. It appears the gods don’t always like smart people.
Sisyphus as we can imagine was trapped in a mundane and pointless existence where the only escape is eventually, inevitable death. But Albert Camus came along and gave us a fresh view of the situation – a new perspective to see Sisyphus and his struggles.
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain!
One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well.
This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”– Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus.
SUFFERING AND SMILING – why you should laugh every day
It takes a certain enjoyment of pain to enjoy life. It is the reason when you see someone crying, you just have to walk up to them and tell them that it is going to be fine.
Because, how would they ever know joy if they don’t know what pain is? How would they know sweet if they don’t know bitter? Besides, it would surely be fine – at least everyone rests in peace.
Maybe they may lose their homes, their lovers, their companies, or everything, but then again, the obstacle would pass. They would get a new lover, find a new home, meet or realize people who they can call family, and find a new reason to live. And when they find these replacements, they would realize that those too are precious and worth living for.
It takes a weird enjoyment of pain to lift weights, read all night, sacrifice for a business, or be there for weak people (the children, ill, or aged).
But it is all worth it.
It is why we enjoy life.
HOW TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE
Your aim should not be to live a painless life – a life without obstacles or challenges – but rather to live a life in which you are proud of the pain, sacrifices, and suffering.
One that you are proud that you did your best – it doesn’t matter what the end was.
Playing the best you can is all that matters.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fail or lose. What matters is that you played.
As much as I am tempted to give you a motivational quote like “Pressure turns charcoal to diamond, fire purifies gold, etcetera”, the truth is that sometimes suffering may just be all there is – the fire, pressure, and X may be all there is. No diamonds nor gold, nothing…
But it is still okay.
It is enough to live.
So, if that is truly all that matters – considering you do not always control the outcome of things – then it matters that you play this game well.
It matters that you play this game smart.
It matters that you enjoy this game while it lasts.
It is good that you learn how to play this game, right?
This is why several books have been written – hoping to teach people how to live (i.e. how to play).
EVERYTHING WOULD FAIL YOU IN LIFE – SO LAUGH
You know this already. The book teaching how to crank a dynamo to make electricity that can be used for lighting up a city. The holy books (the Quran, the Bible, etcetera.) teach how to live a good life. My book teaches students how to live life in school and so many other books.
But what most of the books won’t tell you is that none of the information in them is infallible.
One day, in a particular situation, during a certain weather, at the heat of the moment, it would no longer be advisable to
- – “love your neighbors as you love yourself”, because you now hate yourself, and want to kill yourself
- – “Give to the less privileged”, as this creates a dependent and helpless mindset in them.
- – “Drink plenty of water” because you’re stuck in the middle of the salty sea
- – etcetera….
If life was easily predictable – if it was easy to do Y and get X – then there wouldn’t be poor people. The person that pulled his family out of poverty could have repeated the process to help out the whole world.
Soon, you begin to realize that there is a lot of things to put into consideration – the climate of the people, their culture, their habits, their skill, their resources, their values, etcetera.
You must learn to be adaptive. You must learn to make mistakes and learn. You must learn to enjoy the pain that comes with life. You must learn to laugh at it all.
This is why “life” has chosen evolution as its ultimate weapon for conquering the untamable world we find ourselves in. The fish with its gills, the birds with feathers, the bears with furs, humans with brains.
Life has conquered nature by being flexible, ever-learning, and willing to let go (survival of the fittest), and with this approach, it has delivered wonderful, and outstanding results – the wales adapted to water, the monkey to trees, lions to savannahs, and moles to holes.
You are to learn and adapt.
But you must give yourself the permission to laugh whilst at it. Because, failure is the rule, whist success is the exception.
You must learn to maximize and enjoy the journey rather than hope for the result to make you happy. This doesn’t mean forgetting about the future, but rather living a life that you enjoy.
This could mean finding a way to squeeze singing, dancing, painting, sewing, swimming, or whatever you love into your everyday life.
It means that you have to stop hoping to be happy someday, but rather bring the things that make you happy into your everyday life.
Go out, do the things that interest you. Find love. Find happiness. Don’t wait any longer.
Enjoy the process. Enjoy the game. Enjoy life.
Laugh at it all.
“I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable”– Viktor Frankl
SO, WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS LAUGHTER?
The idea is not to stay relaxed. It is not about enjoying helplessness, but rather about learning to remain hopeful.
“One must imagine Sisyphus happy”Albert Camus
You have to be the person that keep going again and again. Not the person who sits at the bottom of the hill crying. You have to be the one who simply enjoys the game, and go at it again and again, and again.
You must be able to separate yourself from your mistakes as well as your success.
You must learn to just enjoy the game and nothing more.
Not even success should mean everything to you. The game is all that matters.
How do you live daily?
Do you laugh daily?
“A day without laughter is wasted”– Charlie Chaplin
You must laugh, not because you are crazy but because it is the best choice you have.
So, smile, tell yourself and everyone around you that it would be okay because it would be.
Enjoy the game while it lasts, because soon, it would be game over.
“I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can”– Linda Ellerbee
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