Recently I was watching an old episode of Seinfeld and it occurred to me that George was really onto something when he pledged one day to “do the opposite.” You remember that episode, right? Something was going wrong in George’s life, as usual, and it dawned on him that he really needed to do something different:
Elaine: Go on George, go talk to her.
George: Elaine, bald men with no hair and no money who live with their parents do not approach beautiful women.
Jerry: Well, here’s your chance to do the opposite. Instead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going right up to them.
George: Yeah, right, I should do the opposite [chuckle].
Jerry: If every instinct you have is wrong… then the opposite would have to be right.
George: Yes, I will do the opposite! I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!
Of course I am not telling you that all of your instincts are wrong, but what I am saying is that, especially this time of year, being more like George Costanza and doing the opposite of what you normally may do can make a lot of sense. Why? I think we all have pangs of nostalgia for those slow, lazy, hazy, sunny days of our youth; those three months off and that carefreeness of summer never really leaves the soul.
Yet, what is ingrained in us is to ignore that and keep on doing the same ‘ol same ‘ol: Get up, go to the office, do your morning, handle some email, grab a quick lunch, get in some meetings, do some work, handle some email, call it a day, handle some email.
But what if, instead, you did the opposite? What if you mixed things up just enough that the natural rhythms of summer, instead of being ignored, where instead followed? Doing so would of course be appreciated by the crew, would be an easy way to reward everyone for their hard work the rest of the year, and would offer everyone a welcome respite from the daily grind that makes up going to work everyday, every year.
For instance, you could…
- Send everyone, including yourself, home at 3 pm. Get in some twilight golf. Tell them to take the kids to the river. Read a book in the sun.
- Not open up until noon. Again, what an easy and affordable way to invigorate the troops.
- Take everyone to a ballgame one night.
These are the sorts of things you likely would not do, would not even think of doing, the rest of the year. But it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.
And so I will take my own advice and do the opposite as well; I will end this article stating something I never thought I would:
This year, the best thing you can do for your business is to be like George Costanza.