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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

How to Change the World From Your Desk: Challenge the Norm

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One of the hardest parts of working can be trying to change perspectives when people have deeply ingrained ideas of how things are supposed to be.

As a freelance writer, Lily Herman constantly explains to people that there's no one way for her to earn a living, one type of project for her to take on, or one point at which she took on too much work. She’s simultaneously trying to change the perspectives of others about what people are capable of when they're not full-time employees or working in an office during the "normal" 9-to-5 workday. She finds herself explaining time and time again that freelance work versus office work aren't necessarily in opposition to each other; they're lifestyle choices, and different people have different preferences.

Often challenging the norm is a long, arduous process, and people's opinions don't change after one conversation or one day of work. Instead, there's an art and science to changing the worldview of those around you. It's about being in it for the long haul: You need to think of your arguments beforehand and get ready to phrase them in different ways to level with a broad range of people. You also need to open yourself up to the possibility that you may be wrong — or at least that your reasoning isn't the only way to look at an issue.

We challenge you to take the first step towards changing the perspective around something you care about. Share what you’re going to do by tagging The Muse on Facebook and Instagram! And don't forget to check out the previous challenges here.