A humorous story has it that many years ago a soldier was sentenced
to be flogged. As if something hilarious were about to happen, he
chuckled as they led him away and laughed uproariously throughout
the whipping.

When the painful punishment finally ended, the officer in charge
demanded, "What's so funny about a flogging? I don't think it's a

"Why, the joke's on you," smiled the soldier. "I'm the wrong man!"

I know I wouldn't laugh about a flogging, but I'd like to take
myself a little less seriously. Like the Amish man who was driving
his horse-drawn carriage down a modern American street. The Amish,
of course, live and dress simply and shun most modern technology. So
he must have known he cut an odd figure on the busy thoroughfare.
But he had a sense of humor. Affixed to the back of his carriage was
a hand lettered sign that read, "Energy efficient vehicle. Runs on
oats and grass. Caution: Do not step on exhaust."

This man may have taken his beliefs seriously. And he may have taken
his work seriously. But he didn't take himself too seriously. I
believe that's key.

I think that comedian Jimmy Durante got it right. Durante was known
for his prominent nose and often referred to it in his comedy
sketches. In a moment of seriousness, he once said, "It dawned on me
that as long as I could laugh, I was safe from the world; and I have
learned since that laughter keeps me safe from myself, too. All of
us have schnozzles that are ridiculous in one way or another; if not
in our faces, then in our characters, minds or habits. When we admit
our schnozzles, instead of defending them, we begin to laugh and the
world laughs with us."

I don't always have the courage to admit my schnozzles; to laugh at
my short-comings. I am something of an expert at hiding them. But I
do know one thing: if I want to laugh at my foibles, there is plenty
of good material at hand. And I also know that when I get better at
it, I'll find myself living a happier and healthier life.

Steve Goodier [email protected] is a professional
speaker, consultant and author of numerous books. Visit his site for
more information, or to sign up for his FREE newsletter of Life,
Love and Laughter at http://LifeSupportSystem.com<http://lifesupportsystem.com