Remember Rule Number 6

Remember Rule Number 6

Ben Zander

Lighten up, Matt. Stop taking things so seriously. Relax once in a while.

I hear that too often.

General managers face the brunt of many things. Mislooted items, irritated players, you name it. Their frustration inevitably transfers over to me. Aside from that, I put up with random ribbing, name calling, insults and all sorts of flak that rolls in. On a day to day basis, my stress levels are being constantly tested. To the raid, it’s like a game. How shall we pop one of Matt’s veins today? Trains are dropped just to set me off.

“My love for someone is directly proportional to how much I make fun of them.” Says an officer.

Of course, at this point, I’m thinking the guild must really like me.

I have a history of being uptight. My friends are always telling me to calm down and relax. I hardly take any time to rest or relax (probably because my idea of relaxing is doing work). Have a glass of wine, they say. Except, I haven’t quite acquired the test of it. White wine I can handle. Red? Not so much.

A guildie recommended me a book by Benjamin Zander. I blogged about him before. His book’s called The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life.

Rule number 6: Don’t take yourself seriously. Lighten the mood up.

Humor helps. Laughing can unite everyone’s personality, flaws, and mistakes. Especially when we feel like we are entitled to something, insulting someone, or just wanting to wring that other guy’s neck.

Here’s a funny story from the book that inspired the title of this post.

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so g—damn seriously.” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Now I just need to remember this rule myself. In the end, it’s a game with real people people behind the avatars that you’re playing with. I can’t always approach problems with a scowl on my face.

Watch this other video by Ben about leadership. It’s a talk he conducted in 2008 in the World Economic Forum. It’s only 9 minutes long. Some if it overlaps with the TED talk I linked above.

How fascinating!

And he got a whole room to sing Ode to Joy. I think. Is that in German? I wonder if I can get my guild to pull that off.

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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