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Living Well

Who really, truly embraces change?

Gummi Bears
I recently reread ‘Who moved my Cheese’. The first time I read that book, 17 years ago, I was working at a company and one morning we all came in to find a copy of said book placed delicately in front of our keyboards. The naive amongst us (myself included) were thrilled to receive a free book—I mean, I love books. Books are awesome.
It seems that this particular book is what you might call a harbinger.
(If you’ve not had the pleasure of this book, it’s a curious parable to help you deal with change.)
When we received the reorganisation emails from HR later that week, it was clear what change we were soon going to be dealing with.

Change is inevitable. Change can hurt, but also, without it, we fail to live up to our potential.

I survived that particular reorganisation and that’s led me to a successful career in my organisation, but recently, Amazon had the cheese book on offer and I fancied another read.
The me, 17 years on, is less naive and far more introspective, and reading the book again has helped me put a few things in perspective. Change is inevitable. Change can hurt, but also, without it, we fail to live up to our potential.

  • I’ve spent the last week attending high school open evenings with my daughter. She’ll be moving up to high school next year and it’s not obvious which one she should attend. Whilst she’s adapting to the idea of making new friends and taking on new challenges, all I can think about is how I’m not going to be walking her to the school gates anymore, nor giving her a peck on the cheek and wishing she has a good day. (A quick aside—the funniest event at one of the open evenings was when we asked two fresh-faced year 7 pupils to show us where the library was. After 5 minutes leading us through a network of corridors rammed with other parents we ended up in the hall. At which point the pupils gave each other a look then scarpered. Seems this particular high school didn’t have a library (shock horror) but the pupils hadn’t realised this.)
  • At work, change is the one constant we face. It’s in our products we create and our tools and processes we use to get there. I was told recently that the half-life of learned skills is about 5 years today. That means about half of what you learnt 5 years ago is irrelevant. And what’s scarier is this half-life is shrinking. We need to change to seek out opportunity and grow.
  • And as an author, an indie-author especially, I need to be comfortable with change. I have to write books that my readers love, but I’ve also got to learn and adapt to the technologies used to deliver those books. The ebook is clearly here to stay, but what’s next? Audiobooks are increasingly popular, but what then? Are we going to be consuming books through VR?

I don’t love change. I’m never going to be one of those that embrace it and seek it out. I’m most comfortable in routine. But, I no longer fear it either. After all, without change, I’d never have put pen to paper in the first place and changed from being a non-writer to a writer.
If you can learn to accept change and still be the best you can be, you’re onto a winning path.

Resources

Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life