Sunday, 26 May 2013

Move with the Cheese and Enjoy it!

The big opportunity is to figure out how to take advantage of the change that was just handed to us, even if it wasn't for us, about us, or what we were hoping for”.

Last week I was talking about books with @Simply_Marc publisher at simply-communicate. During the conversation, I asked him if he had any special book in mind that he had enjoyed reading in the past. He answered immediately with “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson, and suggested: “If you haven't done it already, you should read that story Gloria.”

I had always wanted to read that famous book on dealing with change, and after listening to @Simply_Marc appreciation for it, I shared with him that it was definitely my wish and intention to do it. 
On the following day, the wonderful @Simply_Marc came to the office with a copy of the book which he handled to me for reading. (So happy!).

Nothing to say except that as soon as I start reading “Who Moved My Cheese?” I found myself totally immersed in its inspiring and clever parable. I could realise why it became a best-selling business book and why @Simply_Marc found it interesting and recommended me to read.

Below are some marginalia that I would like to share, sentences from the book that I personally found powerful and relevant to remember. While I hope that you might find something helpful and meaningful in these notes, at the same time, I encourage you to enjoy the original source and make your sense of this great book. (A big thank you to @Simply_Marc!).

The business fable - which uses 'Cheese' as a metaphor of what we want to achieve in our lives (personal, professional and organisational lives) and 'maze' as a metaphor of where we look for what we want – presentas some key points:

  • Change Happens ('They Keep Moving the Cheese').
    Things change and they are never the same. Life moves on. And so should we”. “If you do not change, you can become extinct.”

  • Anticipate Change ('Get Ready for the Cheese to Move'), Monitor Change ('Smell the Cheese Often so you Know When it is Getting Old') and Adapt to Change Quickly ('The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, the Sooner you Can Enjoy New Cheese').
    The change probably would not have taken him by surprise if he had been watching what was happening all along and if he had anticipated change.”
    It is natural for change to continually occur, whether you expect it of not. Change could surprise you only if you didn't expect it and weren't looking for it.”
    Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.

  • Change ('Move With the Cheese') and Enjoy Change ('Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese').
    He was aware of his fear. Then he laughed at himself. He realised his fears were making things worse. So he did what he would do if he wasn't afraid. He moved in a new direction”.
    As he started running down the dark corridor he began to smile. He didn't realised it yet, but he was discovering what nourished his soul: he was letting go and trusting what lay ahead for him, even though he did not know exactly what it was. To his surprise, he started to enjoy himself more and more. Before long, he knew why he felt good: when you move beyond your fear, you feel free. Just realising he was not letting his fear stop him and knowing that he had taken a new direction nourished him and gave him strength.”
    "To make things even better, he started to paint a picture in his mind. He saw himself eating the many cheeses he liked and he enjoyed what he saw. 'Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it'.”

  • Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it Again ('They Keep Moving the Cheese').
    He thought about what he had already learnt. You can believe that a change will harm you and resist it. Or you can believe that finding new cheese will help you to embrace the change. It all depends on what you choose to believe: when you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.”
    He reflected on the mistakes he had made in the past and used them to plan for his future:
    Be more aware of the need to keep things simple, be flexible, and move quickly,
    Don't overcomplicate matters or confuse yourself with fearful beliefs,
    Notice when the little changes began so that you would be better prepared for the big change,
    Adapt faster. If you do not adapt in time, you might not adapt at all,
    It is safer to explore, stay in touch with what is happening around and being aware of real choices than to isolate yourself in the comfort zone,
    The biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself and nothing get better until you change.”

Indeed, it is certainly true that change is a constant. Embracing rather than opposing it could lead both ourselves and our organisations to greater opportunities. Let's move with the cheese and enjoy it!