What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid
My department at work was challenged this week to read the great little book, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. Chances are you’ve seen this or read it. I’ve read it before, but read it again as part of the challenge. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s a short parable of 4 characters in a maze and how they react when their cheese moves. The cheese is metaphorical for whatever we may be pursuing, money, success, happiness, etc. The cheese moving represents change. How do we deal with change, both before and after it happens. The author uses the story to highlight lessons we can apply to our own life.
One of the comments the writer makes is that what we get out of the story changes depending on what may be going on in our own lives, so each reading will most likely be seen from the perspective of our current situation.
I am in the process of changing jobs, in the same company and essentially in the same department, but there will quite a bit of new changes. My cheese is definitely moving. I read this story with my situation in mind. I thought of which characters I was most like, and also about some of the people I know and which character they are most like. One character sniffs out cheese – always looking for change. One character scurries after new cheese – actively deals with change. One character hems about, resistant to change. The last character is resistant at first but then learns to laugh about how change is inevitable and then sees himself getting to the new cheese he needs and makes it happen.
After the story, there’s a section of the book that creates a little fictionalized discussion where people who had heard the story applied it to their own lives. I seem to remember last time I read this that I skipped this section for the most part as it does seem a litle forced. I read it all through this time and there was one part that really stood out to me.
The fictionalized conversation has the 6 or 7 people talking about whether they are afraid of change. Most say no, they’re not afraid of change, but one of the people reframes the question, “So tell me do you think other people may be afraid of change?” and they all say yes. This section spoke to me this time because it is always comforting to think about how we are not alone. Sure I am making a big change at work, moving away from cheese that was working out okay, but I am stepping out into the maze in search of new cheese. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who may be afraid of change. And as the author points out, the result of change is not necessarily anything to be afraid of and may even lead to something that makes us happier than we realized previously was possible.
For my situation I also thought about how great it would be to be the character who ventures out in the maze first, leaving behind a path of suggestions for the character who resisted change and stayed behind. I like the idea of being someone who ventures out in a new direction and may possibly set an example for others to take a risk and make a change, too, instead of being the character who ties him/herself to what may be a bad situation just because it’s comfortable or the idea of change is too scary.
I’ll remind myself of this when I get scared or have moments of struggle with my “new cheese” and like Haw, the character who ventures out into the maze for new cheese, I’ll visualize myself being successful.
I hope everyone has a great week – see y’all next Sunday when I will be on vacation – Yay! 🙂