At work today I had a moment where I made myself look like a real bonehead. Someone had turned on an alarm light and I went to tell them off as it wasn’t to be turned on except in an emergency, which it wasn’t. I then forgot to turn it off as I left. I returned about fifteen minutes later to find the light still on and then started to read the person who’d turned it on the riot act. I was about to go into overdrive when they pointed out, quite rightly, that I hadn’t turned it off when I was there before. Face palm. After a moment of silence, I laughed my butt off.
I’ve learned throughout my life that looking stupid isn’t fatal. Its not even really embarrassing, IF you have a sense of humour. Nobody likes to be laughed at. It’s human nature. But if you join in with the laughter you are laughing at yourself and that’s a good thing.
I’ve been guilty of some of the most boneheaded, excruciatingly embarrassing gaffes in the world. I remember once when I was about twenty. I was in a hurry (I think I’ve previously mentioned that this was a bad habit of mine) and was rushing into a supermarket to buy some lunch. I ran up to the “automatic” door and stood on the pressure pad in front of the door and waited for it to open. The door stayed absolutely and resolutely still. I was perplexed. There were people in the store; tills were working and across the store I could see other folks coming in and going out using the exact same type door I stood in front of. I started getting impatient and irritated. I stepped off and back on the pad. Nothing. I then jumped on the pad and again nothing. Then like some demented rabbit I began jumping up and down on the pad. Still nothing. People on the other side of the door stood looking at me as if I were mad. As I looked back at them I then noticed that the door was the “out” door. Not only did I look stupid I felt stupid. I also fell about laughing at myself.
I used to tell my staff when I was a manager at an office supply store that they should never be afraid of looking stupid as it wouldn’t kill them. I’d been doing it all my life and I wasn’t dead yet. It always got the obligatory laugh and they would relax a little while they were trying something new.
I believe that the only time looking stupid can be even remotely uncomfortable is when you don’t have a sense of humour, or worse, when you take yourself way too seriously. Sure looking like a real bonehead can be incredibly embarrassing, but I’ve never heard of anyone really dying of embarrassment.
So relax, laugh at your gaffes and blunders. Scientist’s have proven that laughter is good for you and definitely not fatal.