Embracing Change

By Janet Walgren
The Blue Man Group has a fun music video about our planet Earth. It goes like this:

Your attention please. Thank you for choosing Earth as your planetary vehicle. We hope you enjoy the many wonderful features of this planet as you’re hurdled through the cosmos. Please note; however, that in the event of continued inaction in the face of global warming your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Also, please take a moment to locate this planet’s emergency exits. As you can see, there are none.

The words remind us that change and a need for action are an essential part of living life. From the very moment that we are conceived to the moment we die, change is happening within us and all around us. Indeed, without change, there is no life. Whether it is the breaths we take that feed oxygen to our bodies while removing wasteful gases, or the atmospheric changes resulting from a volcanic eruption, whether it is the clear spring water cleansing and nourishing all that surrounds it, or a sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria with all its diverse usefulness, all elements combine to make the changes that are essential to sustain life on planet Earth.  

Being that change is essential to life, why is it human nature to resist change? I know that it isn’t human nature to resist all change. Who in their right mind would resist breathing? Why? Because we understand the necessity of the function to sustain life. But, did you know that volcanoes are also essential to sustain life? They are! Who would resist a clear stream of pure water? Why? Again we understand the necessity of pure water to sustain life. Did you know that sulfuric hot spring full of thermophilic bacteria are also essential to sustain life? My point here is that it is only human nature to resist those changes that are not understood or are unknown. Once known and understood, our resistance, for the most part, changes to acceptance of that which is for our benefit. 

What is true about change in sustaining life is also true about change sustaining our livelihoods, and again, it must be acknowledged that it is human nature to resist unknown changes. Obviously, we don’t resist a promotion, an increase in business, or a raise. But, when change is all around us and we are comfortable with the status quo, we resist changes involving the unknown that take us out of our comfort zones. Rarely is it possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel when change is essential to our livelihoods, that is why it is called the unknown. So it becomes human nature to sit and wait for the light to come out of the tunnel and all too often the light is a freight train that catches us completely unawares and mows us down. What is it about our natures that causes this phenomena? There is a fun little book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson that explores this question.

In the book, there are four characters living in a maze.  Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. Sniff sniffs out change early and Scurry takes action immediately. The other two characters are little people named Hem and Haw. Hem fears change and denies it. Haw eventually learns to adapt to change when he learns that changing leads to something better. All are enjoying the abundant life at Cheese Station C and welcome the status quo. Then, one morning, things change. They wake up to find there is no more cheese. As the story progresses, you will come to recognize that there is a little Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw in all of us. And, you will learn the lesson, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.”

Isn’t that powerful? Are you in a cheeseless situation? What would it take to get you out searching the maze? Is more courage what you need? Perhaps you need more confidence, information, education or training. Is an evaluation of your inner resources in order?

A friend of mine developed this form to help people facilitate successful changes in their lives. I share it with his permission. First write your own personal Mission Statement then set some goals and fill out a project sheet for each category:

YOUR PERSONAL MISSION  STATEMENT

What is your why?

GOALS to accomplish by the end of 2008

1. (health)
2. (Spiritual)
3. (Emotional)
4. (Financial)

Project Sheet (fill out one for each category) Health, Spiritual, Emotional and Financial

Mission Statement: 

Step 1:  Goal Statement
Step 2:  Why?
Step 3:  Analyze Current Position
Step 4:  Identify Risks Real and Imaginary
Step 5:  Identify Obstacles
Step 6:  Identify Investments and Sacrifices in Time and Money
Step 7:  Identify Additional Knowledge you will Need
Step 8:  Identify People you will Need to Help You
Step  9:  Plan of Accomplishing Mission
15 days
30 days
45 days
60 days
75 days
90 days
Step 10:  Deadline
Step  11:  What will my Reward be 

Remember, “It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation.” I hope that you will learn to understand and embrace change, that you will “Move with the cheese and enjoy it” as you work to reach your goals,.

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5 Responses to Embracing Change

  1. Janet, Thank you so much for visiting and commenting in my blog. There are so many places in India which is untouched mainly because of lack of access. Even a bus does not pass through this village. I am glad you liked the pictures, I will definitely post as few more.

  2. Archana,

    You are welcome. I really enjoy reading your blog. For my readers, Archana’s blog is in my blogroll – Books, Science and Stories. Archana lives in India and she has posted some beautiful photos that she took over the New Year when she visited a rural village. Here is the link to some hidden treasures in India. Check it out.

    http://archanaraghuram.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/snapshots-from-the-countryside/

  3. marlajayne says:

    Ah, Hem and Haw and Sniff and Scurry are up to their antics again, I see! I’m so glad that you also enjoyed this little book. The concepts are so simple and easy to understand, and yet for some reason people just can’t make the changes they need to make. They think the cheese will become better with age or something, I guess. It’s true that I talk with many, many people who aren’t currently in a position to go searching for more cheese, but I always encourage them to lay the groundwork.

  4. lyndaspix says:

    This is wonderful! I must use your friend’s form! And, I think I’ll check out “Who Moved My Cheese” at the library.

  5. Lynda,

    Let me know how it goes. At work I manage a website with about 19,000 students on it. They report their business successes and participate in challenges that are designed to develop the daily habits that lead to success in their chosen major. Several students have used this form with great success.

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