Fact: Human beings find change stressful! Different personalities have different reactions to the stress of change. This is illustrated simply and truthfully in the book by Dr. Spencer Johnson “Who Moved My Cheese?” Our attitudes effect how we react to change and our willingness to not only accept it, but embrace it and use it to our advantage. We have certainly had opportunities to do so over the past months!
The theme of the book is to change the way we look at change – from losing something to gaining something. In reality, our powerful human emotions take over and cloud the way we look at things. This makes adapting and moving forward more complicated and challenging. Reactions to change can range from denial, anger, blame and hanging on to what seems comfortable.
The 4 characters – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw are a fun example of how different people cope with change. Sniff was alert, did not get too comfortable in his situation and was able to detect change early. Scurry easily accepted change, was flexibe and went into appropriate action immediately. Hem thought change would only be temporary and there was no need to take action, held onto his comfort zone and wanted to stay in familiar territory. Haw initially had a hard time accepting things were changing, but then decided to overcome his fears and embrace what the future had in store.
Who Moved My Cheese has many lessons to be learned for our business and personal lives. Haw came to realize that change probably would not have taken him by surprise if he had been watching what was happening and if he had anticipated change and been ready to adapt to it. He had let his fearful beliefs hold him back almost to the point of being immobilized. So he decided to do what he would do if he weren’t afraid – he moved in a new direction. That can be the first step! Letting go and trusting what lay ahead, even when you don’t know exactly what that is. It can be very freeing to embrace the idea that change can lead to something better. Most of the time what we fear is never as bad as what we imagine.
Do we think more about what could go wrong than what could go right? Do we believe that our cheese should never be moved or that change is not good? In reality, it is natural for change to continually occur. When we embrace new beliefs, we encourage new behaviors. When we change what we believe, we change what we do. We can believe that change will harm us and we should resist it or we can believe that finding new opportunities that change brings can benefit us. In the end, Haw finds that change turned out to be a blessing in disguise and it had led him to find better “cheese.”
Some truths to glean:
- Change is continually happening
- Anticipate Change
- Monitor Change
- Adapt Quickly to Change
- Embrace and Enjoy Change
- Be Prepared to Change Again & Again!