Taking yourself seriously by Matt Appling

I’m excited to have Matt Appling from The Church of No People guest posting for me today.

Many of you already know Matt, especially all you folks who found your way over here via some snarky comment I left over at Stuff Christians Like.

For those of you who don’t already read Matt’s blog, I would highly recommend it. He blogs about the Church, culture and how the two often clash–always with a healthy dose of sarcasm, humor and intelligence. I appreciate Matt’s ability to act like a jerk even though he’s not. I think you’ll see what I mean…

Here’s Matt:

Hey everyone, I’m really excited to be a guest on Kathy’s blog today. She’s been a dedicated reader and encourager of mine for three years, and writing for her is way overdue.

So when she and I decided what I should write about for her, we thought of the most serious, solemn, amazingly mind-blowing topic we could think of…

…me.

Lots of people like to take themselves rather seriously. Most of us think pretty highly of ourselves, even if no one else does. And when you’re as drop dead awesome at everything as I am, it’s really hard not to take yourself seriously.

But, taking yourself really seriously has a few drawbacks. If you want to stroke your own ego at all times, there will be a few things you will have to give up…

Religion, Politics, and Pretty Much Everything

Everyone likes to toss around controversial topics and have some friendly banter, whether it’s politics, religion, scandals, philosophy, diets or whatever.

If you want to have a conversation, or blog about controversial things like I do, you’ll probably have to have some facts or logic up your sleeve. Facts and logic come naturally to me because I am a genius. If people agree with me, great. If I encounter the rare person who proves me wrong, I am eager to congratulate them.

However, if you lack the necessary mental skills needed to have an intelligent conversation, there is an alternative. You can just be a big fat blow-hard, barge into a conversation and assault everyone with your overwhelming belief that you should be taken seriously.

People like this are stuck in a vicious cycle. They groin-punch everyone else’s egos. People give up talking to them because they cannot be reasoned with. Thus, they feel they win every argument they start, so it encourages their behavior. Then they get a talk show contract with MSNBC or FoxNews.

You Got Served

In olden times (why it’s “olden” and not just “old,” I don’t know), it was a point of honor that once a conflict started, neither man backed down until they had dueled and one of them was dead.

Even though most gentlemen don’t duel with pistols anymore (fortunately) or wear handlebar mustaches or mutton chops (unfortunately), many of us still go through life thinking that it’s a point of honor that we never back down from a disagreement.

I’m pretty sure the first qualifications for landing a spot on reality TV is a big, fat ego, a propensity for starting conflict, and a complete lack of ability to resolve conflict. Oversized fake boobs are the second set of qualifications, because they always help people take a woman as seriously as she obviously thinks she deserves.

Of course, the more seriously you take yourself, the more impossible it is for you to back down from a conflict…even when the likelihood that you are right becomes more and more remote. Go ahead and keep insisting that you are “winning.” Everyone else knows the only thing you are winning at is being an ass.

Being In On the Joke

The funny thing about taking yourself super serious is that it’s a zero sum game. The more serious you are about yourself, the less seriously others will take you. People don’t make jokes about funny people. They make jokes about Americans, Asians, Polaks, Mexicans, Christians, Muslims, Al Gore, Charlie Sheen, and anyone else who thinks a bit too highly of themselves.

Rather than being respected, you will be alienated. Rather than being offered constructive advice, people will talk about you behind your back. Rather than laughing with you, people will laugh at you. The more seriously you want to be taken, the funnier you will be to others. The less you laugh at yourself or admit your mistakes, the more others will do it for you.

You can be serious about yourself all you want, but you can’t ever make other people be serious about you.

Tell us about someone – a boss, a friend, a relative you know who takes themselves way too seriously.

To read more from Matt Appling, head over to his blog The Church of No People and follow him on the twitter, @MattTCoNP.

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18 Responses to “Taking yourself seriously by Matt Appling”

  1. Carolyn September 23, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    Hi Matt! Nice to meet you Kathy. To answer your question, Matt, I did know a co-worker (he was my team lead) who took himself way too seriously. He made me and the rest of our team miserable. We were hired to be Subject Matter Experts, but he didn’t like it when any of us knew something he didn’t about the job. He came in after the SMEs had been hired and wanted to change everything to where he had alot of go-fers but nobody who knew much about the job. And he was mean about it. Friendly on breaks and lunch when we were talking about sports or family and then totally raging when we were back on the job. It got so bad that I left the only job I have ever loved. Several other people did too. Meanie got to stay because he was good friends with the Executive Commissioner (who put him in that job in the first place). It was a truly awful experience. So glad we could bring that up first thing in the morning. 😉 I do have to tell you, though, that now I have that song running around in my head: “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when your perfect in every way…”

    • Marni September 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      I was a tech writer and worked with SME’s who were engineers in the oil and gas industry. I dreaded interviewing them because I just knew anyone with an “expert” in their title, would be a jerk to work with. I was wrong. Thankfully. God bless the SME’s!! Sorry your boss SME was a jerk 🙁

    • Matt @ The Church of No People September 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      It’s always great when the one person who should leave a workplace is the one who drives everyone else away. I was in a church where that happened.

  2. kelybreez September 23, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    I’d just like to state for the record that I don’t argue because pretty much as soon as I say anything, that’s the word, and I just stop listening, turn off anything anyone else might say…

  3. Mike Elliott September 23, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    People in my last church drove me crazy. I’d joke about about the crazy stuff Christians do and they’d get all defensive and bring out all the religious guns. Not sure why some people have a hard time laughing at themselves. Apparently it’s a sin to say that if God dwells in us that I hope he’s enjoying this sandwich coz that’s what I’m having. Life’s too short!

    • Matt @ The Church of No People September 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

      Love when religious people take themselves as seriously as their religion. I’ve met a lot of those. They’re missing out on some great jokes!

  4. Ken Hagerman(EL Barba) September 23, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Good post Matt. Glad to meet you Kathy.

    What, no dueling? Crap I knew I was born in the wrong era. While I don’t have the mental acumen to wrestle out a win in a verbal exchange, I am a freakin’ savant with a black powder pistol. My wife always did say I was a renaissance man. I thought it was because I was all cultured and stuff.

    I was just thinking about this. We are born and as kids we don’t really take ourselves to seriously. Then as elderly people, many times we feel liberated by our stores of experience, and we don’t take ourselves to seriously (my experience when I was elderly back in the summer of ’88). It’s those years in the middle that are the killer.

    • Helen September 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Back in the summer of 88? I take it you’re younger than that now. (It’s okay. I’m younger than I used to be, too…)

  5. Marni September 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Sigh. I run across those people all the time. Mainly at church. I just mentally file them under my “stick up their butt” list and try to avoid them after that.

  6. Leslie September 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Just thinking… maybe it also works the other way around? I find that the people I know who take themselves too seriously, it’s because no one else does. Underneath that obnoxious exterior, they’re really insecure.

    Or is that too serious a comment? 🙂

    • Matt @ The Church of No People September 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      You’re probably right. Or not. I always heard bullies are really insecure, but they always seemed really secure in themselves to me. 🙂

    • katdish September 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      Maybe it’s insecurity. I think everyone is insecure to some degree. Ironically, if you use humor as a defense mechanism, chances are people will laugh with you instead of at you.

  7. Helen September 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Hey Matt! Glad you had the opportunity to be guest blogger on a COOL blog!
    Hat’s off to you, Katdish, for giving the whippersnapper this opportunity! 🙂

  8. Michelle DeRusha September 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Cool to see Matt here, Kathy!

    And Matt…I’m afraid to admit it, but sometimes I think I take myself way too seriously. Not a good quality, I know!

  9. Hazel Moon September 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    One of my male supervisors asked me what I thought about re-hiring a girl who had quit some time back. I told him, She has a very high opinion of herself – – but I understand her, because I also have a high opinion of myself.” He looked at me and blinked, then laughed. I laughed too. Someone has to call us a genius and give us pats on the back, even if it is ourselves.

  10. Hazel Moon September 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Oh yes one question maybe two: Are you a Pastor of a church without any people, or do you attend such a church and you are the only person there? If you have given up on church, please do not give up on Jesus, because He is the WAY out of here.

    • Matt @ The Church of No People September 25, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      No, I haven’t given up on church, or Jesus. Funny, I’ve gone all this time without anyone asking me that, and suddenly there’s a bunch of people concerned that I’ve left the church. Check out my “about” page, and all will be explained.

  11. Tandemingtroll September 25, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    For me it’s an elder of a church that I didn’t attend because I wasn’t attending church at that time. I briefly dated him because my friends told me what a nice guy he was. The fact that he was dating a functioning pagan should tell you a little about his character and it definitely was NOT to win me over to Christ. His sentences all began with the letter”I” and he bragged about how he was opposing the pastor on number of issues in the church. His break up line two days later was something like “I met a Christian girl who likes me and I want to date her instead of because she is better for my reputation.” Frankly, by that time, it was a relief for SO many reasons. He was pretty upset when I didn’t show signs of devastation at the news. Unfortunately, we were thrown together many times after that because of mutual friends and small towns and his comments only became worse toward me because he was trying to convince me to leave the group. Ironically, God used this man to bring me back to Him because his behavior forced me to have a talk to God about His people. And it was the very first time I had ever “heard” God speak to me, which was an indication that the elder, at that time at least, wasn’t a sheep and then invite me back so He could protect me from such bad men. Praise God!

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