One of the things I like most about my life of constant travel is the opportunity to regularly reinvent myself. When I arrive in a new city, I can play around with being the assertive guy, the flirtatious guy, or whoever else I might want to be.
When nobody knows you, there are no expectations. It’s a fresh start. You can be anybody.
I’ve learned though that if you want to play around with a different personality, it’s best to do it from day one.
For example, if you want to practice being more assertive, you should start the moment you step off the train. The trap is to tell yourself that you’ll start the next day, or the day after. Before you know it, you’ve been your usual meek self for a fortnight and it then takes nothing short of a monumental effort to get the switch flipped.
Of course, doing it from the get-go takes effort, too. But it’s small by comparison.
I liken it to getting your day off to a good start. If you jump out of bed early early and spend an hour before breakfast getting some important work done or having a great workout, it’s usually pretty easy to maintain that productive flow for the rest of the day. You start as you mean to go on.
Contrast that to those days where you crawl out of bed late and arse around on Facebook for an hour. It’s pretty tough to pull out of that funk and go be productive later.
Now many of you don’t have the luxury of moving to a new city every few weeks. But all of us have regular opportunities to reinvent ourselves. Every time you meet someone new, that’s an opportunity. You get a big say in what kind of impression you make, what message you convey.
Say you start a new job and your boss comes across as a bit of a bully. You have two options. One is to be a doormat, telling yourself it’s not worth standing up to him, you don’t want to rock the boat. You promise yourself that you’ll stand up to him another time, after you’ve been in the job for a while or when you feel more confident. But when you start off being a doormat, it’s tough to metamorph into anything else later.
Option two is to stand up to your boss from day one, on the first injustice, or the second at the very latest. You make it clear that you will not grin and bear shitty behavior from anyone. Sure, you risk rocking that boat, but it’s better than risking victimhood.
What it comes down to is this: When you start out behaving a certain way with other people, they assume such behavior is your natural state. Any deviation from that throws them off. Which is why it doesn’t pay to start off meek and sexless and then try be the flirtatious guy later. You need to be flirtatious from the get-go.
Next time you meet someone new, ask yourself if you’re starting as you mean to go on. If not, flip that switch as soon as you can. It’s much easier that way.