Wisdom from the Unlikely Joey from “Friends”

Joey Tribbiani… I love that guy. I grew up watching Friends and remember getting together with my pals & my sister to catch the newest episodes every week (in those wild days before DVR and Hulu!).

But if you’re a fan of the TV series — or even if you never were — you probably know the characters, and Joey is known as the not-so-bright-yet-lovable character.

Well, I can share with you one way that he’s really wise! At least in one episode. That’s because he did the best job of displaying really life and the layers that put on as we go about and grow.

Joey from TV show Friends

Recognize this photo? This is from the episode where Joey gets mad at his roommate, Chandler, for hiding his underwear. So to get back at him, he puts on every piece of clothing that Chandler owns.

That’s right, everything! Here’s the clip to show you what I’m talking about.

Their little tiff is hilarious. But the wisdom element I’m talking about is that Joey’s showing how many layers you and I can acquire over our lifetime, which really just makes us uncomfortably too thick.

When I say layers, I don’t mean clothing, but the layers of defense mechanisms we put up to get by. Some of these are based on caution and safety. Things like “don’t talk to strangers, they may hurt you” to “don’t fall in love, you’ll get our heart broken” to “it’s a job, I’m not supposed to like it” to “I’m not capable of making the income I desire unless I sell myself out,” to “I won’t speak up because I might embarrass myself,” or “I need to ignore my passions and follow the career path that pleases my parents or impresses my peers,” or “I’d rather play small because my family might not support me going after a big dream.”

These are layers of misunderstandings that come about to protect us. Something happened in our life, or something we observed, or lessons we were taught as kids.

Thing is, these lessons are crap!

These layers and layers build up, each shirt and pant leg at a time, and make us look like a big puffy “Joey with all his clothes on.” And with so many layers, we can’t move around so well. We’re so much wider and constricted, it’s uncomfortable.

So what do you do to work on these layers?

It’s called inner work. You go within to figure out what is stopping you. What thoughts in your mind are coming through, keeping you from taking a big leap in the direction of your passions and dreams. You’ve got to notice the layer that’s on you, and then face it to work through it and strip it off.

It’s time you take a look at all the sweaters and tank tops and pants weighing you down, and get back to your birthday suit. Your bare, truly you, in full authenticity, flying your you flag high. Unapologetically.

Uplevel your life, strip off what doesn’t make you happy, and make room to wear the best fitting, most appealing clothes (pssst – meaning, the lifestyle that makes you happy).

That’s how you make space to bring in all the joys that you seek.

Thanks, Joey, for rocking this example with your crazy clothing argument.


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