A method by which one can blend into a new environment without losing their identity.
Entering a new environment, whether it be a job, neighborhood, watering hole or exclusive cigar smoking executive club can provoke a difficult transition period. You aren't sure what these people will think of you and you may say you don't care. You may be of the predilection that making a big noise is the best method to introduce yourself to this new environment. This can be effective, but most of the time this will cause new people to react strongly and negatively to your arrival. You are a newcomer, how dare you shake the tree so mightily?
The chameleon method of adapting to your environment is not the same as giving up who you are and thinking like everyone else. There are very few places where such toadying is embraced and commended, it makes you highly expendable. No one really loves an empty shell of a human being. Yet, those already established in an environment expect you to earn your wings before you fly around the room.
Hanging back in the early days of your arrival on a new stage is the play director's preference for new actors. You may crave the starring role, but what do you know about the people who have been acting on this stage for months and even years? Which ones will resent your flashy entrance and self-promotional antics? Which ones will take to your personality like a pony to sugar cubes? You don't know. Remember, you are new...
Life is not that unlike theatre. People have grown accustomed to seeing the show the way it is. A new character that comes along slowly and develops stands a greater chance of finding a warm place in the heart of the audience. One who flashes onto the stage might find immediate approval and favor, but his shelf life is more limited. Flashy and revolutionary material from the outset requires the actor constantly outdo himself. To retreat into subtlety now will disappoint the audience. How much energy do you have for the long run?
Observation and study can require patience. Timing the release of elements of your personality into a new environment is important. This is especially true if your personality and lifestyle is outside of the relative mainstream. Weird sense of humor? Irreverent hobbies? Bizarre home life? Strong political leanings? Odd sexual fetishes? (Hey, you probably don't want to tell that story about how you dropped acid and slept on your neighbor's roof right off the bat).
Blend, observe and then act. Acting and reacting are two entirely different things. Reacting is not the way of the chameleon. We're not talking about waiting to speak until you are spoken to and always agreeing with the crowd. My imaginary friends Raymond, Diana and Esmaralda are just telling me to say that you need to integrate yourself into an environment before you come in to work with a big bag of worms and talk about how this is what you like to eat for lunch.
Be like the chameleon, blend in amongst the trees, the cubicle walls and the water cooler. Sit and drink your beer quietly and get an idea about who these people around you are. Leak your personality slowly, like Three Mile Island, not rapidly like Chernoble. Soon your time will come. Eventually everything changes and you'll find yourself evaluating the newcomer who drops her pants and shows off the tattoo of angry bees on her left buttock the first day on the job... and at that point you'll realize it is time to move on to the next rest stop on the highway of your life.