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Who Moved My Cheese?

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Let me tell y'all.

Change can really swoop you up, and knock you right off your feet – especially when it's unexpected.

You really just be sitting there like:

Quite shook -- if you aren't prepared for it. 

But the trick question is figuring out if change is something we can ever really prepare for – or is it something we just adjust to?

Within the last year, I know we've all been going through changes. I've had changes in my weight, changes in my mood, changes in my mindset, changes in my relationships, changes with my money, changes in my living situations, changes in my boundaries, changes in my spirituality, just a whole bunch of changes -- and not all of them were easy, some of them have been difficult, trying, and taxing. But nonetheless, there was changes. And while I've been going through this transitioning phase, this phase where I'm adjusting to changes in my life, I was reminded of this 94 page gem my godfather, Norman Suber, dropped on me called Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson, which takes a story about mice giving it an innovative twist about how to deal with change in our professional and personal lives.

Freshman year was the year of ultimate changes. Transitioning from high school to college life, my godfather wanted to remind me that, "Change is one of the most constant things constant in life." As change is something we all can relate to, I wanted to share some revelations I had while reading this book.

 I'm not here to give you a book review, ruin the book, or tell you the story. This is something that applies to all of us, not just the of us enjoying our twenty somethings, but everyone -- no matter how old or young we are. It's something we all can relate to as we adapt to the one thing that never stops, and that my friend is: change. 

Here it goes:

1. Change is uncomfortable. It’s going to be uncomfortable. I've repeated it a few times throughout this post already, and I'm gonna keep saying it. The one thing that is always going to be constant in life is change. So in situations of change, although uncomfortable, we have to learn to adjust and change our mindsets when things start switching up -- especially when we're not ready for it. The weather, people, trends, moods, feelings, and so much more, are among the list of things that are changing. We like security, we like comfortability, and when things get shaken up a little bit, change can make us feel like we don’t know what to do. Let's just keep it a buck, we don’t want things to change.  But nonetheless change is a chance to step outside of our comfort zone, and force us to grow -- experiencing things we never have before. It's not always easy, but it's a part of life, and either we’re going to adjust to the changes, as best as we can, or get dragged through them. 

2. Fear exists because we let it. Imagine all of the possibilities, if we didn't let fear immobilize us. Nobody wants to fail. We don't want to fail others, and more importantly we don't want to fail ourselves. The older we get the less time we want to waste and we don't want to be in situations where we are left lost, confused, and stuck looking like a goofy. It makes us uncomfortable, not having control. In a society that stands for instant gratification, we like to appear as if we’ve got it all together, and we can’t stand for life, let alone anyone else, to make a fool out of us. So instead we let our fears control our comfortability, and we end up holding onto our worries and doubts — finding ourselves stuck right within the limitations of our fears, stuck in our comfort zones, often traveling in the same circles over and over again.

 3. Same moves = same results. Too much repetition of anything, will leave us with the same results. My father always says, "Always do what you always done, always get what you always got." You see, insanity can be defined as doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results — making the same moves, yet going nowhere at all. It’s important to be strategic and pay close attention to the moves we make, so that we can learn from our moves and make corrections if necessary before it impacts our futures on a grander scheme. Sometimes we get mistakes, other times we get victories. Choose what you do wisely, and more importantly learn from each and every move made. All in all, moving differently can help with adjusting to change. You can decide which moves are beneficial for your success, and which are not. A good way to do this might be writing down consequences for certain decisions you make, weigh the costs and benefits, and then pray and decide whether or not you can afford to make the same moves again.

4. “What ifs” do you no good. Reminding yourself of what if’s hinders your confidence and puts you back in a place where fear can continue to keep you comfortable and complacent. Do not allow your fears or the fears of others, get in your head. A special woman in my life, Jada Kline, has a quote that sticks with me in areas.

If you don't understand the power that "what if's" have on you, it's about time you discover the importance. When we get so consumed with what if's, it's almost like we're doubting, we're losing faith – because we don't see where we can control the changes. If we live always thinking of the what if's, we're not focusing on the more important matters at hand: what we can do, what we can control. What type of punishment are we putting ourselves through preparing for the worst? That sounds like hell, not freedom. We have to be able to answer the following questions: If we weren’t afraid, what possibilities could exist? If we weren’t holding back, think of where our courage could take us. You may not know now, but fear is the only thing holding you back from finding out. When opportunities present themselves, move on them. Don't feed your spirit and your energy food that is unfulfilling, because the lack of faith will continue to fuel fear—ultimately nourishing nothingness. Fear is no good when it paralyzes and immobilizes your purpose.

5. Change is inevitable. You can’t avoid it. It’s always happening, whether you like it or not. Life is always moving on. So what’s stopping you from moving on? Why are you letting changes of the past continue to hold you back and stop you from taking advantage of those new opportunities? This book reminded me that no matter what I want, or how I wish things turned out, I have to be able to adapt and adjust to the changes that are occurring. Because there is no way for me to magically skip over them, avoid them, or truly run away from things. This past year of my life has taught me to think about what God wants me to learn from the changes, rather than running away, or getting upset about the changes that have gone on – why waste my time or energy on that? It's time to embrace change, realize that it's not avoidable, and refocus our minds so that we can start adapting, growing, and maturing through. 

6. “If you do not change, you can become extinct.” If you don't make the necessary changes, to take control of your life, and change how you NEED to change, watch how you will sit in the same spot until you do. I found myself sitting in the same spot, for a couple of months. For years in other situations.

And yes you may be going places, doing things — but I had to examine where I was still sitting idle. My business still lacked inconsistency. My purpose wasn’t being fulfilled. I don’t have a partner, but more importantly my relationship with God lacked intimacy and spiritual commitment to his will over my life. When we don’t learn how to evolve, we become the animal at the bottom of the food chain, letting everything around us eat us up. Life in a nutshell is the concept of survival of the fittest – those that know how to adapt to the ever changing environment around them, no matter the circumstances, survive. However those who nourish their spirits and adapt to their ever changing atmosphere, no matter the circumstances, experience life. When you have a purpose, you don't have time to be distracted by ANYTHING. If you don’t want to evolve, to grow, or to change, then you'll get left behind. Don’t put yourself in a position to become extinct.  

7. Adapt to change quickly. After you’ve gone through something, take your time to grieve. I'm not going to put a time stamp on how long you have to adapt to change, but it's extremely important to learn how to adapt to the different changes in life. For some of us that might look like taking the necessary steps to heal the traumas we’ve experienced. For others of us, it might require taking time to yourself and reflecting. For many it may even require going on our own spiritual journey, to understand the changes that have occurred, growing in our faith to accept all that is to come. It goes back to my last point, on being able to survive, and figuring out ways to change so we don’t become extinct. But it goes beyond survival, because change is apart of life, we shouldn’t just aim to adapt to the changes in life to survive, but to experience life, to grow, to change, to fellowship, and to share our story with others.

8. New direction = different opportunities. Moving differently has the potential to bring us to opportunities and experiences that we have never met before. And moving in a new direction, with different opportunities, happens to teach us, humble us, help us, and make us grow. This can be exciting, but in reality, it's probably one of the most scariest things ever. These new changes ignite new flames that we have yet to explore. However, this will require a lot of faith and trust in not only God, but also yourself. The new territory that you’ve been charged to explore isn’t for no reason, the purpose is much greater, and from that can come opportunities that open doors or close doors that change your life forever.

9. There's a difference between productivity and activity. Be careful, when trying to move in a new direction. There might not seem like there is a difference between the two – productivity and activity – but there is. Productivity has to do with effectiveness, while activity only has to do with movement. Just because you're moving, doesn't always mean that you're moving effectively. This was something super important for me to take in and it reminded me of the importance of moving with purpose and more importantly moving with intention. Your purpose calls you to be intentional, not to move aimlessly, just taking you wherever the wind blows. In the theory of Survival of the Fittest, I always remember the Lion being the “king of the jungle,” or the top of the food chain. They think smart, and quickly. As the king of the jungle, this animal has to strategically find out where it’s gone eat, what it’s gone eag, how its gone eat, quickly. This heavy thinker is charged to adjust, to roar loud, and takeover, to intentionally satisfy their palette. They don’t just move with intent because it’s how they were ”meant“ to survive, they move that way so that they might sustain the life they’ve created. They move with intent so that their blessings can continue to flow. They move with purpose because they know that if they want to catch that gazelle, they have to be strategically proactive to eat. If you're not careful, adjusting to change intentionally, you'll find yourself moving – but going nowhere at all. 

10. Be imaginative. When it comes to dealing with change, often times we sulk, settle, and sit in the changes that have occurred. The beautiful thing about the transitioning phase, that we call change, is that it is a time for us to imagine new possibilities. This may take a huge mind shift, but it is something that has helped me with embracing change. This doesn’t necessarily require a positive or negative outlook about the situation, but the focus is more so on the change and what can come about from it. It’s so much easier to sulk and to be sad, to sit in the changes. However, being imaginative requires us to think about the steps that we’re going to take moving forward — which extends far beyond those changes. While sulking may result in no movement all, being imaginative is proactively changing our minds for the possibilities to come.

11. Choose to be harmed or to be healed. Honestly, whenever changes occur, we are immediately presented with two options. To be hurt, and dwell in the pain of the changes, or to heal and move on from the changes that have occurred. I'll put it this way. You've got two options when dealing with change: EAT or BE EATEN. Reality is change isn’t meant to be easy. Change is hard. Change is a risk that has the ability to throw a monkey wrench in our plans, our days, our lives. Now I’m not telling you to neglect the pain change brought to you, nor am I telling you that change will heal you instantaneously. This innovative story, about small mice and their search for cheese, taught me that to adapt to change, no matter how good or bad it is, you have to change you’re mind first.

12. Sometimes you gotta laugh at your own foolishness. Have you ever been looking for something, that you thought somebody else moved, and in a panic you go "Who moved my...?," ”Have you seen my...?” and you frantically go around searching for this item, as your blood pressure rises, your frustrations heighten, and it turns out to be right in your face, and the only thing you can do is just smile at yourself. Laughing because you just took yourself through circles. Laughing because you were thankful you found what you were looking for. Laughing because you wasted so much energy on something so small. Well, when adapting to change sometimes we’ve got to laugh at our own foolishness. Recognizing where we may have not made the right decision, where the answer was right in front of our face, that even when change occurs that we should stop moving forward.

13. Prayer changes things.  This was not one of the things mentioned in the book, but it is something that I am constantly reminded of as I go through the many transitions of life. My automatic go to, when unexpected change happens, is prayer. I look for God when things change because I know that he’s the only one who truly understands why. But regardless of where your spirituality stands, getting through change is impossible without the faith in something greater than you. Getting through change is impossible without a place for rest and peace. It’s impossible without the belief that although things have changed, that things will still work out for your good. Prayer and faith in God keeps me grounded. Yes I may get discouraged, cry, get frustrated, or whatever the case may be, but I know, in my heart, that the changes occurring in my life aren't happening for no reason. And even if I don’t understand, I have to keep moving forward.

As we prepare to settle into this new year, there may have been some changes that have already occurred, or there might be some underway. These things I’ve mentioned may or may not help you understand and adjust to change, but remember that you’ve got to make it personal to you. Find someone you trust and lean on them when the changes become to much to bear. Even get you an accountability partner if need be. And if you don’t feel like you have someone, find rest in your faith. No matter what, we’re all going to experience change this year. It’s the most constant thing in life and we’ve got two choices, step up (trying to adjust) or give up, allowing the changes to overpower everything that is in store for our lives.

As we step into 2019, which one do you choose?

Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading this week! I hope these tips find you well and give you some gems to take with you through your life — especially as it relates to change. Feel free to share with me your thoughts and your experiences below about change and what it looks like in your life. The conversation starts here, even if you have feedback, questions, or comments be sure to comment below.

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