Happy Independence Day I hope you are all enjoying the summer so far! So, I’ve had this blog post in the hopper for a few weeks. My husband is really into stand-up comedy, so I usually go with him to see different shows or comedy festivals. Most recently we went to the TBS “very funny” comedy festival and saw quite a few hilarious shows including Nick Offerman, otherwise known as “Ron Swanson” from the show Parks & Rec. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it ended up being a comedic take on a motivational speech peppered with musical numbers in which Nick gave “10 Tips for Prosperity”. I thought they were good tips for the most part, so I thought I would share! See below for his 10 tips with my commentary in italics.
Nick Offerman’s 10 Tips for Prosperity:
1. Engage in romantic relationships. Developing a connection with another human being, making that connection a priority, and taking care of it is one of the most meaningful things that you can do. And from the perspective of mental health, loving connections with others protects us from things like depression and anxiety. Love that he started with this one!
2. Say please and thank you. This one is so simple, yet something easily forgotten. Treat everyone with kindness and courtesy. In Shambala Buddhism, this concept is so important that entire meditation practices are devoted to practicing loving-kindness towards ourselves and then extending it to others as we are ready (including our enemies….eventually)
3. Get a hobby or discipline. Cultivating meaningful activities turns out to be an essential part of human happiness according to the research. I wonder if Nick has read the latest happiness research?
4. Eat red meat. Ha! This one is hilarious because I am a vegetarian. However, I think this tip is about enjoying, savoring, and being grateful for food. Things like “farm to table” and the “slow food movement” are all about restoring our connection to food, where it comes from, and the people who cultivate and grow it for us.
5. Have a relationship with god (especially if it gets you sex). Another comedic tip, and this one was accompanied by a juicy story from Nick’s adolescent years! But in all seriousness, cultivating our relationship to a higher power or a larger meaning for our lives, however you understand that, is also an important ingredient to emotional well-being.
6. Go outside and remain there. Connecting with the outdoors in a culture where most of our lives are lived indoors is another factor in feeling content, grounded, and connected.
7. Avoid the mirror. This was my favorite tip of the night. He talked about representations of physical beauty that we see in film, TV, and magazines and the impossibility of measuring up to those representations. What we look like could cause us suffering, or we can choose to accept ourselves and believe we are worthy of love and belonging because of who we are vs. what we look like. This makes me think of a song by Ani DiFranco where she sings,”Love is all over the place. Nothing’s wrong with your face.”
8. Carry a handkerchief. The girl scout motto – Be prepared! Personally, I always make sure to have a wad of paper napkins somewhere in my car and in my bag, and it is amazing how often my napkin supply has saved me!
9. Use intoxicants. Of course he said this, he’s a comedian entertaining at a bar! As a therapist I would never encourage the use of intoxicants, but I think Nick’s point here was similar to the red meat point. In moderation, there are many things in life that can add to our joy and be a source of gratitude. Also there are many everyday things that can be intoxicating – like swimming in the lake, a belly laugh, petting an adorable puppy, or breathing in the scent of the summer air – so ok, use intoxicants!
10. Paddle your own canoe. Be responsible for yourself and your life. It’s so easy to waste time blaming others or being angry with others for things that have happened in our lives, especially because these feelings are often quite legitimate (i.e. other people have hurt us). However, Marsha Linehan (creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and someone I’ve written about before on this blog) states, “you may not have caused all of your problems, but you have to solve them anyway”. When we do take on responsibility for ourselves, we feel better because we are empowered.
So, there you have it! I hope these tips inspire on this 4th of July holiday!
Thanks for reading!