April Fool’s Day

Apparently, the idea of playing practical jokes or hoaxes on others on April 1st has been around for a long time and is celebrated in many countries including the US. If you can imagine, the BBC once put out a story which included pictures, to say that there had been a particularly good spaghetti harvest in Switzerland that year. The pictures showed people harvesting spaghetti that was hanging from trees. Many people called in to ask how they could get their own tree! Another famous hoax was when Taco Bell announced it had bought the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia which would, from then on be called the Taco Liberty Bell!! Then there was another in the UK that announced that Big Ben was going digital! Who believes this stuff? Apparently, a lot of people do!

I think that April Fool’s Day is a good day to remind us to not take ourselves and our work so seriously that we can’t laugh or at least smile! We are constantly reminded of how difficult life is and there is certainly a lot to worry about these days but couldn’t we take just a minute from our serious work and our sad world to chuckle at a harmless joke or prank?

A recent article in the Washington Post titled, “You’re Probably Too Busy to Read This” talked about how being busy has become a badge of honor. People compete over being busy. “Keeping up with the Jonseses used to be about money, cars, and homes. Now, if you’re not as busy as the Jonseses, you’d better get cracking.”

We all believed that with advances in technology that we would have more free time-- time to think, relax, and have some fun. What happened to us? This article says a couple of things factor into it—life got more expensive and work got less mechanical and more creative but work has also become less secure which compels us to work longer and harder. And, the worst part of this to me is that we’ve come to believe that taking time for ourselves is a weakness.

Flight Attendants on planes tell us to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help someone else. I think this is great advice for us all. We have to take care of ourselves before we can be the leaders we want to be. We have to take time to rest and recharge from our busy lives. We need to occasionally take time away from work to think. We need to spend time with our families and our friends to stop doing and just be.

Last weekend, a group of us went to see an improve group perform and we enjoyed laughing at the funny scenes they created out of absolutely nothing. This reminded me of how freeing it is to laugh and how good it feels, even after the laughter is over, to have taken time out of our busy, hectic lives to enjoy ourselves.

So, have some fun on April Fool’s Day. Enjoy a laugh or two and maybe even go home early and spend some time with your family or friends and laugh! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking being busy is a badge of honor!

Our challenge to you is to lighten up and see what happens in your life and your workplace! Have fun!

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