There was this caricature, a comic strip I read one time where the leader asked his followers, “Who wants change?” Everybody raised their hands. His next question was, “Who wants to change?” No hands were raised and everybody was silent.
If you have read the book entitled, Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, you would know what I mean. This is a 1998 book but it still widely used by CEOs of top corporations and oft quoted by lecturers and speakers around the world until now. By the way, the characters used in the story are cheese lovers.
According to Dr. Spencer Johnson, the author of the book, the cheese symbolizes anything that you treasure or hold dear in life like your job, money, your possessions or they can be intangibles like recognition, health, etc. It could be anything you want to hold on to forever.
Of course, we value them. But those things we value, the author warned, can be gone and disappear anytime and unannounced. You wake up one day and you found out your company has reorganized and they are showing you the exit door. One wrong investment decision can empty your bank account. Your health deteriorates as you age. The author is reminding us that we have to be ready for change when it drops by to say hello and what can we do about it.
I presume you are aware of the inevitability of change and they happen very fast. The world is constantly changing. However, only a few of us easily adapt to the changing times. We have become too comfortable to what we are used to and we usually resist the changes. We don’t like new policies and new regulations because they disrupt our routine. Our comfort zone becomes our cheese.
I have a few cheeses in life. My books and some old coins. I treasure them and display them like a trophy. I thought we will be together forever. But I was wrong. Some of my cherished books were not returned by borrowers. My old US coins and some Japanese bills during their occupation that I have been keeping were taken when our house was robbed. It’s too difficult to part with something or someone you are too attached with. You will be depressed, stressed and heartbroken.
This is what the book is all about. It is a parable that demonstrates how people react and deal with change. The characters in the story have been enjoying a continuous supply cheese as if it will never run out. One time, they discovered the cheese was gone unexpectedly. Someone quickly searched for another source of cheese while there are those who keep asking why the cheese was gone and when will they be provided with another fresh supply of cheese.
I’m going to leave out the other details of the story. Read the book to find out what happened. What is important to remember is that, it’s either we embrace change, accept that this is a fact of life and move on or we resist change, insist of the old familiar ways and blame everybody for the change.
This book will teach you about confronting change. The book advises us to understand and embrace the following seven realities: Change happens, Anticipate change, Monitor change, Adapt to change quickly, Change, Enjoy change and Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again.
In addition, someone said that it’s not what happens to you that matters. It’s how you react to what happens to you is more important. Sometimes, the problem is not the changing times. The problem is us.