I decided for one week I would be an Opposite George.
Huh? you say. What’s that?
Let’s begin with George and his story of being the Opposite.
Meet George Costanza. He’s a hapless character from the television comedy show, Seinfeld. In a classic episode, George laments to Jerry that essentially his life is the pits. Every decision he’s made has turned out wrong and his life is the exact opposite of what he wants.
Jerry’s reply is “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” George, at that very moment, decides to do the opposite of what he would normally do. By the end of the episode we find he has gone from being unemployed, living with his parents and unlucky in love, to the reverse. He ends up dating a beautiful woman, gets a cushy job with the New York Yankees and moves out of his parents home.
This is all by doing the opposite to what he normally does. Watch this defining moment in the episode (it’s worth your 3 minutes).
So when I found myself one day moaning that I wasn’t getting to where I wanted in life, this episode came to my mind. I was frustrated with myself and my decisions and the general patterns of (unhealthy) habits I’d created. I wanted to try something different.
Thinking about George and doing the opposite, I decided to give it a go.
(Why not? I’ll only be getting the same result if keep on doing the same things).
I thought perhaps I’d try it in small doses, to ease myself in.
So I did. And you know what? It worked!
What’s it look like? Well, here’s one of my small dose examples:
I’m in the supermarket and I go to buy some cheese slices from the deli . On top of the pile of slices are dry (older) looking pieces, a bit frayed. Now, what I want to do is tell the person to please choose the slices from the middle and not the top. But what I usually do is not say a thing, hope the deli assistant reads my mind (!), and end up getting the crappy old pieces on the top of the pile. I then walk away and berate myself for the entire day for not saying anything. (For those of you who are the don’t-want-to-bother-you type of person, you’ll know what I mean).
But this time as Opposite George I pipe up, request the pieces in the middle, the assistant doesn’t blink an eye, hands me my parcel and off I walk. I give myself a high five.
Now this may be a funny little example. But for me it was a great way to try a different approach and get a result that I really wanted. It actually ends up being an empowering exercise. Plus imagining George while I do it has been a funny way to approach the “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
Here’s my challenge to you.
I challenge you to be Opposite George just for one day. Try it for just one thing. Or try it once a day for a week.
It can be for anything that you’re finding is frustrating and not working for you. Maybe you’re someone who always says yes to everything and this once you want some time to yourself. Be Opposite George.
Maybe it’s that interesting person you see at the coffee shop all the time. You really want to smile and say hello. Be Opposite George.
Go on. Give it a go. It’s better than the same old, isn’t it?