I haven’t read Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson for about 15 years, but it addresses dealing with change in a great way. I came across this book while I was involved in organizational development for a global organization I was responsible for. At that time we were needing to Managing Changes in the company after the internet bubble had burst.
The Human Condition
The book is about change and how you deal with it. The human condition basically gets comfortable with the status quo and doesn’t like change. In the story, the mice live in a maze and getting cheese makes them happy.
So the mice keep going to the same cheese station but when there is no cheese, eventually one of the mice overcomes his fear and goes looking for new cheese stations and the other doesn’t!
Taking this into your own world and the cheese disappearing metaphor can mean many thinks, from jobs to relationships to financial situations. If you carry on doing what you are doing you will never succeed or improve your current situation. By identifying your need to adapt you can then start the process of improving your life.
It is all too easy to go back to what is comfortable rather than take on the challenge of change, change is actually good for you but you have to overcome that built in Fear of the Unknown.
Move Beyond Your Fear
When you alter your mind set and begin to trust what lays ahead and not dwell on the past you will get a sense of freedom. You are not weighed down by the negative things that got you to where you are today.
As an example you are in a job that makes you unhappy, you turn up for work everyday and do what you have to do. Until you overcome that fear of the unknown and do something about it you will continue to be unhappy.
If you are unhappy at work, guess what you will be unhappy when you get home. It is not an emotion you can turn on and off. That is why it is important to fix the problem that is causing the unhappiness otherwise it will dominate your life.
As Jim Rohn said
If you don’t like how things are, change it, you’re not a tree
Once you realize why you are being held back you can decide how to make the change. Once you go in a new direction you will have a new spring in your step, you will do things with a new purpose, but this is something that you need to take control of and make the necessary adjustments to your life.
The quicker you can let go of the old habits, the old job, the old relationship, or whatever is holding you prisoner the quicker you can move on to newer better things.
If you don’t alter your behaviors you will continue to do the same old things and will not move forward and improve your own life. Studies have shown that it takes 21 days to change a habit. That is why if you do a cleanse or a detox they typically have a 21 day program as they are trying to alter your eating habits so you don’t just go back to your old ways when you are finished.
The Writing on the Wall
Change always happens in someway or another, you can be involved in that process or you can just be a passenger regardless of if it is good or bad for you.
You always hear people talk about having Your Plan B. This is all part of anticipating change, don’t be a consequence like Hem in the book. Even once change has happened don’t get comfortable as there is always more to come. Keep your ears and eyes open and take the necessary steps to adapt. Remain agile! Contact me if you wish to discuss options for Plan B so you can be prepared or make that change.
As with all things in your life and business you want to learn to adapt quickly, the quicker you adapt the better off and happier you will be. Just be ready to make the changes to meet new challenges and don’t be tempted to go back to the old ways just because you believed they felt comfortable.
I would encourage anyone to read the book, it is about $4 or less from Amazon, then leave a comment to this post about which character you think you align with, Hem, Haw, Sniff or Scurry? And tell me how you relate to these characters as you have gone through your own changes or overcome a fear?