If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that change is never easy. Even good change can be tough to handle while you’re going through it. And if I’m being totally transparent, I’ve even gotten a little whiney about it in the past instead of trying to understand what’s going on and taking action.
That’s why I always recommend a short read to everyone I meet who is struggling with change: Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson. It is a simple little book—less than 100 pages—but it packs a powerful punch.
The Parable in One Minute
The story is about two mice—Sniff and Scurry—and two little people—Hem and Haw. Each day, they spend the majority of their time in a maze, where they feed on a mountain of cheese always found in the same place. Although they have more Cheddar than Kraft, Sniff and Scurry never stop looking for new sources. In the meantime, Hem and Haw become super comfortable knowing that their pile of cheese will always be there for them. And then . . . somebody moves the cheese.
I won’t spoil the rest of the book for you, because it’s definitely worth the read. But here’s what its lessons reaffirm for all of us, whether in business or life.
- Change is inevitable and causes us to be uncomfortable. Why? Because when things are different, we have to think and process the differences.
- We all like to operate “in the known,” doing routine things in routine ways. But when change enters the situation, we are thrown off our comfortable, predictable patterns.
- In life, there are only three things you truly can control: your attitude, outlook and response.
- One approach to change is to be mentally flexible. Be prepared to deal with it when it comes. Inflexible people often become bitter and negative. They want to continually talk about the way things used to be in the good old days.
- Any step forward is called progress, and progress is advancement. Everyone wants better, but not everyone is willing to work toward it.
We all know that the only constant in life is change, and our “cheese” is always on the move. Instead of fearing or ignoring it, face and embrace it. Like the old saying goes, “Winners are never whiners.” And they’re also never resistant to change.