Gravity and Levity.
Long ago, we almost named a Sacramento restaurant “Gravitas” in our newly renovated Citizen Hotel. We wanted to signal that this was where politicos made important deals. While we ultimately opted for the name “Grange,” I took note that many of the older people I admired seemed to embody a perfect alchemy of gravitas and levity.
Gravity and levity are antonyms. It’s hard to imagine no one thought of gravity before Isaac Newton observed an apple drop from a tree. The word gravity is derived from the Old French word “gravité,” meaning thoughtfulness or seriousness.
The proper definition of the word levity is the use of humor in a serious situation, and the word is derived from the French word “levite,” which means lightness. And, of course, we know what it means for something to levitate.
How can you be a wise social alchemist who knows which situations could use a little more gravitas and which could use a little more lightness? Often, it’s the wisest one in the room who knows the perfect timing to shift the energy.