Here are some practical things you can do in order to be better at living in the present: Continue reading “Living in the present #5: concluding”
Sabotaging the present:
We’re often prone to squandering the present moment. Do you ever find yourself doing one thing (washing the dishes, Pilates practice, making love), but thinking ahead to the next or later activity (wondering what to cook for dinner, next week’s Pilates practice making love with someone else), perhaps wanting it to stop, or wanting a process to end, being impatient to get on to something else yet carrying on with the present thing? Continue reading “Living in the present #4”
“I laughed my head off. This is a wonderful look into the “New Age” movement. Tongue-in-Cheek, but cutting through to truths. This is a wonderful time to raise endorphins with a good guffaw.”
– The Editor, The Messenger
The problem with dwelling in the future
Of course, there’s a very important place for looking into our future so that we can follow a structured plan and anticipate certain eventualities; but we must always come back to the present in order to put plans into action. Yet how much time to we often spend dwelling on the future, in a way that is fearful or worrying, rather than constructive? If you look back over say the last week or month, how much time do you think you may have spent fretting over eventualities which in the event didn’t materialise, or which turned out very differently? Probably something like 90% of our suffering is over something that isn’t happening right now. Even if you have well-founded concerns about a future eventuality, spending excessive time worrying about it isn’t going to help. Continue reading “Living in the present #3”
The problem with living in the past
Of course, there’s a very valid place for reviewing the past in order to learn lessons and process issues, but most of us a disproportionate amount of our time dwelling on the past in a way that:
- causes suffering in the present
- doesn’t move us forward
- can actually obstruct our progress
When you find yourself incessantly mulling over the past, it’s tempting to wish things hadn’t happened as they had, or that you had done something differently, or married a different person, or become a best-selling novelist, millionaire or supermodel rather than a booking clerk. But these conjectures are totally fruitless. It would clearly be more valuable to ponder constructively on matters which you can do something about, or at least learn something from. Continue reading “Living in the present #2”
Most of us could be a lot happier and get our lives to work a great deal better if we were just able to live in the present moment more than we currently do. It’s very common to have a somewhat dysfunctional or negative approach to the passing of time, and many popular sayings and modes of expression reflect this. There are really only two kinds of problem here: Continue reading “Living in the present: #1”
People we describe as having a ‘sense of humour’ are basically people who can look at things differently from normal. Comedians are people who have trained their minds to do this routinely – not to just follow the normal interpretations and associations but to go somewhere different from the usual. And every DIY comedian can get into this habit.
Comedy-minded people constantly have part of their mind on the alert for something happening, or something said by themselves or someone else, that they can do an unusual ‘take’ on, and so create a humorous observation or start a funny train of thought. Looking at things differently is the other side of the coin of recognition. Together, they form the key to almost all comedy.
This difference of perspective can apply at all levels from one-off individual observations to overall approaches to comedy. And the shift of perspective can range from slightly unusual to totally weird or surreal. Groucho Marx was a comedian who used this device all the time. He said, for instance, “Outside of a dog, a man’s best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read anyway.” He’s looking at the concept of ‘outside of a dog’ differently from the conventional. In this case he’s taking literally something which his audience would be used to interpreting as a metaphor – a highly effective version of perspective shift which is used by many comedians.
Three Characteristics of Pessimistic Thinking
Dr. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, identifies three characteristics of pessimistic thinking:
The first is permanence. In other words, regarding temporary, passing events as being lasting and unchanging states. For example, your boss chews you out about something. You react by thinking, “I really hate him,” and you go on from there to think of all the things you don’t like about your boss. Your boss’s reprimand is a single, passing event, but you turn it into something permanent by thinking, “He’s always like that,” and “No matter what I do, he’ll never change.” On the other hand, the optimistic person thinks, “The boss is in a bad mood today. Something must have happened,” limiting the event to that day and not extending it any further. Continue reading “Optimism and pessimism: #1”
Great comedian Omid Djalili recently said this, in answer to the question:
Q. What brings you back to stand-up after three and a half years away?
It was the love of it, surely -and the opportunity to evolve as a human being. I really believe that if you tak comedy seriously, in a holistic way, soyou work on yourself; it’s the one art form where you can transform actuallhy as a human being, and I felt I needed to do that.”
– reported in Latest magazine
No Going Back: a humorous diary about moving away from the bright city lights of Brighton, England
Episode 1: Driving over lemmings Continue reading “No Going Back: a humorous diary about moving home #1”
In this series of blogs, I take a look at the basic mechanics that are used to create comedy – the fundamental ‘building blocks’ of humour. For the purpose of understanding how comedy works, they’re presented here as separate items, but in practice they nearly always merge together and overlap; virtually every piece of humour that you can think of has more than one of them going on at the same time. Continue reading “How to be funny: building blocks of comedy: # 1”