Change changes things. That’s pretty obvious, right? But think about it. Ever tried standing up when talking on the phone. Why does it make you pay more attention to what you are saying? Ever tried wearing a fedora hat. Somehow it makes you walk taller. Here’s a few other ideas to kick-start your imagination, thinking about how you can make a difference in and for yourself.
In order to make a change, you need to first notice something that could use a change. You need to pay attention. The best way to do that is to do something different. Change gives birth to change. One of the most fun ways I have found to pay attention is to hide things. There is still a $5 bill hidden in the Arts Building on the U of S campus. It is fully visible to everyone but has never yet been found. That simple act has caused me to look at the world around me in a very different way. I have hidden lots of coins all over the place in full view. Some of them in such a place that they will eventually fall on someone unexpectedly. Try changing your route to work. Take a lunch that requires a stove top or oven time because now you may need to get out of the building and ask for help in unusual places. Ask unusual questions. Rather than the tired old phrase of “How are you doing?” try “What was the most adventurous thing you did this week?” or “Have you done something scary lately?” Not only will you have some fascinating conversations but it will cause you to answer the question for yourself. Perhaps you will notice that you haven’t done anything scary for a very long time.
Everyone seems to want more respect but what can I do to achieve it? How about demonstrating respect? It may surprise you how it affects other people. We’ve all heard advice on speaking less and listening more but what about pausing? In conversation, when you need to give a response and you want it to be a wise response, try pausing for two or three seconds longer than you normally would. It gives you more time to think and also gives the impression to the other person that you are actually thinking. Are you in a boring meeting? If you have something to say, try standing up to speak. It will not only cause you to really think through what you have to say but it will also stand out in the memories of all members present. When greeting someone to whom you want to show respect, try saying “Sir” in your greeting. Be prepared, it may take them by surprise. Try making an active choice to smile more. Respect towards others opens the door to respect towards you.
Do you pay attention to yourself? People may or may not notice that once in a while you are friendly, helpful, cheerful, or any other characteristic that you want to portray, but how do you keep reminding yourself to consistently be that characteristic? You have to pay attention to yourself. Do something outlandish: Try wearing something flashy. I used to have a fleece jacket that was a jangled array of bright colors. I loved it dearly but, sadly, I lost it somewhere. Give your girlfriend a great big hug in the middle of the mall. Compliment the cashier, loudly enough for the other customers to hear. See someone pulling into a parking stall? Plug a coin into their meter and keep walking. Do a little dance on the lawn of city hall. Wear a pair of spazzy glasses (It’s amazing how cheap they are on-line). Paint your car something wild. The more you draw attention to yourself, the more you pay attention to how you are acting in front of others. Yes, I’ve done all these things and more. Our car is painted like a zebra, complete with a mane on the top.
What can you do to make a difference? What is there about you or the things that are under your control that could use a change? Try something different. Do something unusual. At the very least, you may have some great stories to tell later.