As we contemplate the meteoric changes we face today, I am reminded of a book I read years ago; Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson. Who Moved My Cheese, is a metaphorical story about 4 mice; Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw and the various ways they respond to change in the context of finding cheese within a maze. The maze – the organization we work for, the family or community we live in, is where we search for what we want in life – a good job, a loving relationship, financial success, good health or spiritual peace of mind. The problem is that no source of “cheese” lasts indefinitely. Life changes, whether we like it or not.
The book’s conclusion; change is inevitable, so anticipate it, adapt to it, and learn to embrace it. If we do, we will suffer less stress and unhappiness. Additionally, we will enjoy more success and fulfilment in every part of our life and work.
“Life is no straight and easy corridor along which we travel free and unhampered, but a maze of passages, through which we must seek our way, lost and confused, now and again checked in a blind alley. But always, if we have faith, a door will open for us, not perhaps one that we ourselves would ever have thought of, but one that will ultimately prove good for us.”— A. J. Cronin, Who Moved My Cheese
We naturally resist change. Change pulls us out of our comfort zone. Change is often seen through a fearful lens, where we imagine the worst happening. Add the constant stream of “doom & gloom” fed to us by the media and we can become paralyzed by our irrational fears. During this period of profound change, as we experience the Covid-19 pandemic, we must take control and be proactive.
When change happens, we need to realize, the way we react is our choice. We can resist and suffer the emotional pain of resistance (remember, what we resist, persists) or we can look for ways to leverage change to our advantage. When change comes along, simply change with it, like a surfer riding a massive wave.
To help, ask yourself:
- “What is real/true about this situation and what is within my ability to control?
- “Where are the best opportunities, under these circumstances? How can I leverage them?”
- “What are the “golden threads” of this situation? How can I weave them into my life… into my business”?
Reflect on your answers and try to see the circumstances from various viewpoints and elevations. Remember, things seem more fearful close up… gain a distant perspective. Also, notice where the answers are coming from… the voice of fear or from the voice of wisdom. Once you have a number of worthwhile solutions, take action.Change is inevitable. To survive, we must be flexible like the palm tree that bends under hurricane-force winds, and resourceful as ants, who work together to fend off adversity. If we are successful, change can be the catalyst that opens doors, removes obstacles and springboards us toward our next level of success.