Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

I have a complicated relationship with change.

I say that I like it, that I will embrace it when it arrives, that I will handle it with serenity.

But the reality is different.

Sure, I chase after change like a dog with an overactive sniffer, but when I actually catch it, I want it to go away.

In the end, I’m dragged off to the change chopping-block, yelling and screaming. Eventually, I adapt.

If we’re all being honest, despite how much we chase after change and believe that we love it, it bothers us.

Once it actually happens, most of us feel as though we’re in a sea of confusion where every turn is completely unexpected.

Here are, according to Who Moved My Cheese,  7 ways to deal with change and become more successful because of it.

1. Quit Thinking. Get Moving.

Change has a way of paralyzing many of us. Instead of embracing the new, we hang on to the old in desperate hope that our previous state of being will return.

We avoid change because it frightens us.

But in our fast moving world, there’s nothing more destructive for an entrepreneur than the avoidance of change.

As an entrepreneur, you need to flex and change and adapt — often on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis — and if you don’t, your business will die.

Why?

Because someone else is willing to change. Namely, the competition.

Instead, don’t think too much about change. Accept that the change has happened and start working in the new direction.

Get moving. Stop thinking.

“It is safer to search in the maze than to remain in a cheese-less situation.”

2. Don’t Build A House Around Your Current Success.

It’s easy to get comfortable. When your product is selling, your audience is growing, and success is steady, there’s nothing more tempting than to settle down and stay a while.

But the person who wins is the person who is constantly asking the question, “What’s next? Where is the market headed and how can we prepare for it?”

Don’t build a literal or metaphorical house around your success because then you’ll be stuck in one spot.

Instead, anticipate that your business, life, and product will change in ways you couldn’t possibly see coming and keep everything in your life flexible to those adjustments.

Life isn’t a straight line. It’s a confusing, convoluted mess of unexpected agility. The people who win are the people who live their life with this in mind.

“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

3. Learn To Love The Process, Not The Result.

Some people only love the result.

Many people want to write a book because they want to call themselves an author. Others want to build a business because they want the title of CEO or entrepreneur or Founder.

But the people who win in the business world and in life aren’t the ones who focus heavily on the results they’re aiming for, they’re the ones who relentlesly fall in love with the process.

In fact, usually when these people achieve the desired result, they are less happy then when they were searching.

The key, then, is to pursue something that you absolutely love.

Find that and you’ll do it significantly better than anyone else.

Why?

Because you love it more than anyone else.

“As Haw prepared to leave, he started to feel more alive, knowing that he was finally able to laugh at himself, let go and move on. Haw laughed and announced, “It’s … Maze … time!”

4. Be Productive, Not Active.

There’s a certain satisfaction associated with coming home from a long-days work. You got a lot done and consistently worked for 8 to 12 hours.

You come home and you’re tired, but you’re also probably happy about the amount of work you got finished.

But there’s a problem.

Not all work is created equal.

Some work will pull in a lot of value for your business. Other work is a waste of time.

The counterintuitive aspect to all of this is that the waste-of-time work doesn’t feel like a waste of time. It feels like time well spent.

To determine if you’re being active instead of productive, ask yourself these questions.

  1. How important is this activity for the success of my business?
  2. Could I have someone else do this instead?
  3. Where would be a better place to spend my time?

Once you discover what you’re good at and where your time is best spent, even if you’re only working 4 hours a day, spend it doing that. 

Who gives a shit about the amount of hours you work? What’s far more important is the quality and productivity of that work.

“Haw was beginning to realize the difference between activity and productivity.”

5. Let Your Instinct Guide You.

Don’t think too much.

Your instincts are far more powerful than you think.

Often times, you and I ignore change because we’re too caught up in the current high of success. Instead, live by instinct and allow yourself to be skeptical and ask difficult questions.

Most of us are remarkable at shoving our doubts into submission. Instead, use those doubts to guide your business in the right direction.

“As time went on, Sniff and Scurry continued their routine. They arrived early each morning and sniffed and scratched and scurried around Cheese Station C, inspecting the area to see if there had been any changes from the day before. Then they would sit down to nibble on the cheese. One morning they arrived at Cheese Station C and discovered there was no cheese. They weren’t surprised. Since Sniff and Scurry had noticed the supply of cheese had been getting smaller every day, they were prepared for the inevitable and knew instinctively what to do. They looked at each other, removed the running shoes they had tied together and hung conveniently around their necks, put them on their feet and laced them up. The mice did not overanalyze things. To the mice, the problem and the answer were both simple. The situation at Cheese Station C had changed. So, Sniff and Scurry decided to change.”

6. Recognize Fear For What It Is — Bullshit.

Most of us have a plethora of fears. We’re afraid of public speaking, skydiving, and committing to that project that we’ve always wanted to accomplish.

Fear used to be a useful thing… in our caveman days (Watch out for that snake, cougar, bear, or rhinoceroses). But today, those fears debilitate instead of motivate. Instead of getting us moving, they slow us down.

You think you shouldn’t run that course because you don’t have the necessary expertise. You don’t take that client because you’re nervous you can’t fulfill their expectations. You don’t hire that person because they’re too good.

In other words, fear ruins us.

And it can ruin your business if you let it.

But usually, fear is simply your brain freaking out because you’re leaving your comfort zone. And that’s a good thing.

Don’t think of fear as an indicator to stop. Think of it as an indicator that you’re moving in the right direction.

In fact, if you’re afraid of doing something, it’s probably best to do it.

“The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”

7. Laugh At Yourself.

This is a point that resonates with me. It’s why I’m so successful at only 23 years old.

I’m ridiculously good at laughing at myself.

Oh! I stumbled over my words while speaking in front of 300 people. Ha! That’s hilarious.

I dropped my notecards during my high-school speech? Of course that would happen to me!

My zipper was down during my speech? That’s the best. Ha!

The point is that you probably take yourself way too f*cking serious. You’re not nearly as important as you think you are. Laugh at yourself, accept that you’re going to regularly f*ck up and move on.

Winners don’t dwell on f*ck-ups, they laugh and move one.

So make a joke of yourself and get over it.

“See what you’re doing wrong, laugh at it, change and do better.”

Best of luck friends 🙂

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