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One of my favorite people on the planet has a very grown up job. She does data science for a company worth approximately a gazillion dollars and does quite well for herself.

On her desk sit four white crystals. My friend, my very successful friend, credits those crystals with everything. They are, without a doubt, the reason she’s found the success she has.

Except…the crystals aren’t actually crystals. They’re rocks she found one day while walking her dog. And they don’t actually hold any magical success-generating properties. They’re just rocks.

But you better believe she sticks with the crystals story. Not because she actually believes it. But because the character she plays at work does.

And that, my friends, is a secret of life, passed on to you from one of the weirdest, most delightful humans I know.

See, my friend is wiser than even she realizes. She just gets things, including the best ways to be a human on this planet. I credit her parents, who had the foresight to make her wear a helmet for the first seven years of her life. Thanks, Karen and Jim, for protecting that brain.

But let’s get back to this secret of life thing. Just saying that she plays a character at work and keeps fake crystals on her desk doesn’t actually explain the full depth of her wisdom.

What my friend gets, that so many of us don’t, is the the power of not taking yourself too seriously.

She plays a character at work because it brings her joy. It liberates her from the drudgery of daily life in cubicle nation.

I don’t care how many soul-sucking meetings you’ve sat in that day; if, in the middle of the afternoon, a coworker is venting about their day and you spend 5 minutes convincing them to embrace the healing properties of your bogus crystals, then get them to do so, your mood is going to improve. (Exception: if you’re suffering from depression and don’t have the necessary vitality to be playful, file this tidbit away for when you’re in a better place and your focus has shifted to preventing a relapse.)

Her mischievousness is a brilliant mini-rebellion against some of the most harmful aspects of modern life.

To borrow from the wise Elizabeth Gilbert, my friend is embracing the role of the Trickster over the role of the Martyr. In Liz’s words, the Trickster looks at at the rest of us, suffering in our delusions that life and work are terribly serious and important, and says, “You are welcome to die for your cause if you really want to, but I’m not here to spend my life suffering.”

Then she pulls a prank on us and skips away laughing, most likely right to a promotion and raise. Both of which she earns by being a joy to be around and by getting more done in far less time than the rest of us. It’s so much easier to get things done when you’re not wasting your time wallowing in misery.

And, committed to getting things done efficiently this friend is. The character she plays at work is trying to find time to start offering astrological readings to her coworkers (a topic she knows exactly nothing about), and her calendar is a little too full. But you best believe that this particular Trickster is not staying a moment past 5:00 to fit more time into the day. Ain’t nobody wise got time for that.