Dress Less Formal - Grasshopper
Just had a dream about being in a beach community and wanting to take a run along the water. But as I looked down I had on a shirt that didn't lend itself to running. I was too formal for what I wanted to do.
A number of questions arose after my dream:
What façade prevents us from doing what we want to do?
What obstacle have we donned that puts us in our own way?
What conditioning that happened way back when is no longer useful today?
What's the most efficient way to get reconditioned?
I won't pretend to have "the" answer, but here's one that came up: Notice your formality.
Formality usually contains a pat answer – a hard and fast prescription for an affliction. That rarely, if ever, works.
I look at two branches of the entertainment industry for examples of outgrowing formality: Movies and Broadcasting.
Movies ("Films" for the formal reader) before Marlon Brando and James Dean had stilted (formal) actors. Once these barrier breakers came along, less formal actors and actresses followed and movies became more real and relevant.
Arthur Godfrey was the father of the modern day DJ. Before him, all "I"s and "T"s were verbally crossed and we had very formal announcers. Godfrey would offer greetings like, "How aah ya, how aah ya, how aah ya?" People gravitated to his informality.
Do you have a formal façade? If you have to remember to be a different personality with different people, yes you do. If you have to appear a certain way, you are getting in your own way. It's like the advice Mark Twain gave us: "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
What mantle are we wearing that needs to be shed? It starts by noticing our mantle.
There may be a good reason we got this way but that's never a valid justification for standing pat. How we got this way is a history lesson and as we learned in school, history is about the past. Noticing what happens in the present is the ticket to a different future.
To remove the stick from the mud we have to notice it's in there. The key is to take notice every time we display our formalities. With each notice, we weaken our formal selves and eventually become more comfortable in our own skin.
Was your favorite teacher in school a fuddy-duddy or a lot more free form? My guess is most of us would gravitate to the more comfortable of the two.
Are you formal or informal? To go from one to the other start noticing which category you fall into. And did you notice I informally ended the previous sentence with a preposition?
All the best,
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