null Skip to main content
Laugh at Your Misery and Fear

Laugh at Your Misery and Fear

Posted by Warrior Poet Society on May 10th 2024

There’s a bit of a quirky, perhaps weird, skill set I (John Lovell) have developed over the years, which I refined during my military years. For folks who’ve been tested by fire as soldiers or in similar contexts that involved putting your life in harm's way, this should immediately resonate. But I think all of us could benefit from learning to laugh at misery and fear.

If you don't have some experience or knowledge of what I'm talking about, you might be a bit bewildered by this, but there is great benefit, even great strength, in finding the comedy in terrible situations. In another post, I talked about the importance of graveyard humor, and that’s sort of what I’m talking about here.

I want to talk about the psychology this instinct and why we should all try to cultivate a response of humor in the face of difficulty.

  • As I’ve been thinking about this lately, all kinds of stories flooded to the surface of my mind.
  • Laughing in the middle of a fire fight.
  • A fellow soldier who etched the phrase “Cowboy Butts Drive Lovell Nuts” into a rock at the edge of a battlefield in some far-off terrible place where we were at war.
  • The time I placed a massive rock in someone’s ruck just to see him pull it out midway through a 15-mile march wondering why his pack felt so heavy.
  • Smiling all the way through basic training, even when the drill sergeant had me picking gum off the bottom of his boot.
  • "Lovell, Lovell." "Moving sergeant." "Look at this, Lovell. I have gum on my boot." "I'm sorry, drill sergeant." "That's right. You put it there, didn't you, Lovell?" "Yes I did, drill sergeant." I did not put it there, of course. "I knew you did. Get this gum off my boot."

    Humor is a Gold Mine in Difficult Times

    This is something I don't hear discussed, and it is a gold mine of strength.

    Trees that can withstand hurricane-force winds are not usually the big oaks that stand tall and rigid and huge around. Rather, it’s the flexible trees that bend against those horrible winds that survive. Not because they’re sycophants, mind you. It’s because they’re beating the wind at its own game.

    Likewise, when faced with seemingly insuperable odds, people need a certain amount of flexibility so they can bend instead breaking.

    Laughter (not always out loud laughter of course—you don’t want to come across as maniacal) provides a certain amount of catharsis that fewer other things can. Don’t get me wrong. I don't want us to be bumbling idiots making jokes and laughing about everything.

    Facing Misery with Humor Because of a Higher Purpose

    So, the question is, what’s behind the laughter? We’re not talking dissociation or psychosis. Rather, laughter in the face of misery is another way of expressing resolve.

    The underlying mindset of misery laughter is a good, strong, determined, unbreakable will that refuses to be defeated.

    RELATED POSTS | About Mindset Fighter MindsetThe World Needs Dangerous MenBecoming Courageous

    You laugh because you refuse to be a victim because you’re standing for a good cause. You’re fighting and facing misery because of your loved ones and because of freedom, and you’d rather die than give in.

    So you laugh in the face of fear and misery, even though the situation really sucks.

    The funniest guys in the world understand this.

    If you’ve ever watched interviews with Jim Carrey or Robin Williams, and you hear them talk about their childhoods and their backgrounds, all filled with horrible pain, they used comedy as a way to face their pain without breaking.

    They use comedy as a way to bring strength to others as well.

    If you take your own misery so seriously and give it too much weight, it's going to crush you. It's going to destroy you. And there's something that's very powerful about a good sense of humor.

    If you're just so hardcore and stoic, you're eventually going to snap misery.

    Yes misery can destroy people. It can cripple and maim. There are also these ways of dealing with it, of weakening its effect on you and those you love, and laughter is one of the best tools.

    Then misery, rather than breaking you, strengthens you. It can also give you good character. It can strengthen camaraderie and bring people together. It can toughen you up.

    I should also add one more (most important) critical piece of facing misery--God. He can strengthen and heal and sustain you more than laughter.

    Train Hard. Train Smart. Go be miserable and laugh about it a little. Live Free.


    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Subscribe via Email >