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The Subtle Art of Changing the Subject

There are few things about which I could teach a lecture that would possess any academic merit. I am the classic jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I do basic home repair, car maintenance, and rudimentary technological patchwork. But I am first level support – the kind you typically get on the phone after twenty minutes of pushing buttons in answer to rudimentary questions until the annoying voice finally says, “Please wait for an operator.” I don’t know enough to be the operator.

I am, however, an expert at changing the subject. This gift is something I discovered in my teenage years. I found it handier to change the subject than actually deal with things that a teenage boy might be doing that could potentially be frowned upon by elder members of the home, who had likely once been teenagers but have long since forgotten the fun things that can happen if done without the knowledge and consent of the elder members of the home.

Gather round children, I want to tell you the key. This instruction will take you far in life. The first step to change the subject in any conversation is to LISTEN – not necessarily to the words being spoken, but listen for the opportunity to insert a more favorable alternative topic. Once the insertion point arrives, there are several approaches – I want to highlight those I relied upon in my early years: Read More