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5 Life Lessons Everyone Can Learn from Joan Rivers

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

There are a few things that have always gone hand-in-hand with Joan Rivers: crass jokes, facelifts, and immortality to name a few. Since the 1950’s Joan Rivers has been known for moving and shaking and stirring up not only her martinis, but also the vast world of entertainment. Most people in their late teens and early twenties got their “Joan fix” from E!’s Fashion Police, but she spent over half of a century performing on stage, in comedy clubs, on Broadway, talk shows, late night television, and even on the radio. Joan did it all, and she did it with a botox-fixed smile and a vivacity that never waivered. Here are five life lessons everyone can learn from the late Joan Rivers:

1. Don’t take anything too seriously

Joan Rivers realized early on that everything in this world can be used to incite laughter, and so, she made jokes about everything. She made jokes about celebrities, about sex, about death, about tragedy, about fashion—people laughed, even if they didn’t want to. Laughing about tragedies might be a little much, but the point is that dealing with the ebb and flow of life is much, much easier through laughter than tears.

2. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself

Yes, Joan Rivers made jokes about everything and everyone, but the majority of her punch lines were not only brutally honest, they were self-deprecating. She advertised her own flaws and quirks—her plastic surgery and age, mostly—and they became her trademarks. Everyone has insecurities and everyone makes mistakes. Instead of being ashamed, why not laugh?

3. Be humble

Joan forged her way though an industry that was unforgivingly male-dominated, and she got knocked down more times than you may think. She consistently struggled to earn the same respect as her male counterparts, yet she never turned down a job. No job was too small, and that’s how she became an entertainment guru and jack-of-all-trades. Be humble; learn something new.

4. Speak your mind

Joan Rivers can be described in many ways, and regretful isn’t one of them. She stuck true to herself in times where she was up, in times where she was down, and she never let political correctness or a sharp insult keep her from speaking her mind. It’s a scary concept, but consistently being open and honest (maybe with less swear words) can really foster self-confidence and make your relationships with others more genuine.

5. Reinvent yourself:

I said earlier that Joan was a jack-of-all-entertainment-trades, and she wouldn’t have gained a title like that if she hadn’t picked herself up after a defeat, looked at her options, and decided to take a risk. She shifted from actor to comedienne, from stand-up to late night television, from producer to New York Times best-selling author.  There truly is no time limit on discovering who you are!

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I am a Political Science major and Women's and Gender Studies minor at Boston College. I am an RA on campus and am involved in the Student Admissions Program. Since I am from Florida, I can legitimately say that I love long walks on the beach. I also love getting lost in a world fabricated by a novel, there is honestly nothing better.