Once I attended a Career Track seminar in Nashville about change management. The presenter challenged us: “Reverse your toilet paper.” That wiped me out. Surely I hadn’t paid $99 for this silly bit of advice.
The presenter said: “Change is difficult for everybody. If you want to experience how difficult change really is, then turn around your toilet paper.” Well, I had paid the $99 out of my own pocket and I was motivated to receive the full benefit of the seminar, so when I got home, I went to both of my bathrooms and turned my TP around.
I like my Cottonelle to hang in front of the roll, so it seemed rather odd to see it hanging behind the roll. For the next two or three weeks it was very strange to see my toilet tissue hanging backwards. Every time I went to the bathroom, I wanted very much to squeeze the Charmin and turn it around my way, but I resisted and endured the discomfort. It was like there was a cloud of resistance to change hanging over my head and it wasn’t the White Cloud in the bathroom. No, it was an attitude cloud inside of me.
Funny thing, however, after about three weeks I began to feel okay about my toilet tissue once again. That’s how long psychologists say it takes to get used to a change — about 21 days. Now I’m ambidextrous — I am comfortable with my toilet paper either way — front hanging or back hanging.
So what’s the point? Good question. I wondered the same thing when the Career Track Seminar leader issued the silly challenge.
1) We are all influenced by our environment. If you hang around something or watch something over a period of time, you will begin to accept it as normal. If you don’t want to be brainwashed, you better keep stuff you don’t believe in away from your sight, your thinking, and your conversation.
2) Even positive change is difficult. Many people would rather have familiar misery than unfamiliar self-improvement. However, if you want positive improvements in your life, you must endure a 21 day period of discomforting transition. You must go ahead and think better, talk better, and act better; even when if feels uncomfortable. After 3 weeks, the discomfort will be gone and you will have established a life-enriching habit.
3) Avoiding the discomfort of change insures our life will remain right where it is. Positive changes don’t happen automatically. They are do it yourself projects. You can have a better, more fulfilled, and happier life, but you, yourself, must make it happen. Nobody else can do it for you.
4) Here’s another challenge. Pick an attitude or behavior in your life that you want to change in a positive way. For the next three weeks, consistently think, talk, and act like the change is already accomplished. At the end of 21 days, you will be amazed at the results.
So, was the Career Track Seminar worth the $99? You decide.