July 24, 2012

A Chance to Slip Changes Past People

There are times when you know the world’s attention will be elsewhere.

In a few days, for example, the spectacle of the Olympics will grab the world’s attention and hold it for weeks. Events on this scale are planned years in advance, so you know exactly when they’re coming.

If there is something you want to change, if only you could sidestep the resistance to change that naturally comes from the people around you, this is the perfect time to do it.

You will be amazed at the scale of changes you can slip past people when their minds are on events elsewhere for days on end. You can change your hair color without anyone noticing. Clean out your wardrobe, or clean up your lawn, and no one will remember how frightful they were before. Change jobs. Take up a musical instrument. Replace the entire executive staff of your corporation. You can do all this and more, and when people come rushing back in two weeks, they will not even ask, “Did I miss anything?” Instead, they will be eager to tell you stories about the amazing Russian pole vaulter and the game that went into a third tie-breaking round.

Maybe it’s obvious what change you want to make during this window of obscurity. If not, take a look at changes that go against your public image. If people think of you as a sloppy person, for example, as much as they complain about your sloppy habits, they will nevertheless resist changes you make in that area. They may hate your approach, doubt your efforts, or question your intentions. You’ll find the changes easier to make while people are looking the other way.

It works the same way if there is an area where you want to lower your standards. If everyone expects you to wash and shine your car every Saturday, and it’s just too much trouble, this is the right time to cut back to a more conventional approach, like a commercial car wash once every couple of months. People will be too busy to say, “Hey, aren’t you washing your car today?”

Every situation of the world around you offers different opportunities. Now is not the time for a new initiative in which you will need help from a great many people. But it is the perfect time to make changes that people wouldn’t quite expect from you.

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