Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy, VII. The Eternal Revolution
According to Chesterton—a 19th century English writer, poet, philosopher, and theologian—seriousness is not a virtue. While the quote’s complete explanation is definitely metaphysical, its significance for me is quite personal.
Years ago, a client and friend of mine, Douglas Murray (one of the original partners of Montes Winery in Chile) gave me a desk cube with the Chesterton quote on it. I wasn’t quite sure why he had selected this particular saying but, clearly it was something he wanted me to think about. Douglas was an exceptionally perceptive individual. If he liked you, you became an improvement project for him.
In reflecting on my personality type, I came to understand that Douglas had picked up on one of my character flaws: taking myself too seriously. When I would “lighten up,” I discovered a much happier me would emerge. Over the years, I’ve acquired a more relaxed and less self-important demeanor. The end result has allowed me to see the humor in situations and experience a more positive outlook overall. The best part of this “lightened up” me is now I am able to navigate life’s challenges with more ease and self- confidence too.
I keep the cube in close view on my desk and look at it frequently. In a way, it has almost become my personal mantra. I am forever thankful that Douglas, who in his caring way, helped me to become a happier person.