“Change is the only constant”, we all have heard this phrase at some point or the other. It is a simple statement with deep meaning. If we closely look in our own lives, we will come across many examples of change, some trivial, some very significant. These changes have shaped our lives, the way we think, the way we behave. Change is a very slow process, it takes time. It’s like evolution, the effect may not be immediately visible but with persistence and patience, we must work towards achieving the desired change. Some changes are voluntarily initiated, aimed to bring about positive effect and some are forced. Forced ones could be quite painful but there would be no escape, either you mould yourself to the change or you perish. If we look around us, companies like Nokia, once a market leader ,perished as it could not see the change coming its way or it was too adamant to adapt, what ever may have been the case, it could not with stand the change hurricane and we all know the aftermath. Not only companies , but also individuals have perished who did not change with time. We can site numerous such examples from our daily lives. Even countries need to adapt to the growing demand of change. Our own country India had to go through huge change which we now know as Liberalization of 1992 & onwards. Till then we were relatively close economy, Exchange rates were not determined by market demand and supply forces, license raj was pre-dominant, and trade was not so open. Many give credit to the then Finance Minister Shri Manmohan Singh for the great Liberalization but on a closer look it was more of a forced move to comply with the IMF bailout else India would have defaulted on its loans and we would have been the Greece & Spain of today. Nevertheless, India came out of the crisis through this forced change.
We donot realize ,but we too need to equip ourselves for the future in a much stronger way because you never know what future will throw at us.Merely having a degree does not guarantee a smooth life as we all know life is full of surprises. We must never be too complacent or adamant. Basic human tendency is to let the guard loose when something is achieved. But that can be the starting point of our downfall. If you observe any successful people around, they constantly adapt and keep “sharpening the saw” .For instance Actor Akshay Kumar was once a action hero, he ventured into comedy & is successful at that. He is one of the leading advance Tax payers in India is the testimony of his phenomenal success. But if you read about him, he still leads a disciplined life. He would still wake up early to practice martial Arts, eat healthy diet , sleep on time. Most of us will argue that it’s his job to keep himself fit, but he could have easily fallen into the trap of success and refused to change.He would have still been above average.But he chose the difficult path and I donot need to write the implication of where he is now.This is just one small example, you can see many such examples from your daily life.The point I am trying to articulate is -What difference does it make when one decides to adapt to change.
Last weekend ,I read the book “Who moved my cheese”. It’s a very simple book with deep message. Something which I thought I should share with our friends who have not read it since we too would be going through a lot of changes in our own worlds, be it personal or professional. The crux of the book is -“ Change is inevitable-adapt & move on”. We all know about it. But that’s the catch, we “Know”. One fundamental difference between “Knowledge” and “Wisdom” is the application of knowledge. Knowledge may be knowing that Tomato is a fruit but wisdom is not putting it in Fruit salad.
The story is about 4 characters: two mice, "Sniff" and "Scurry," and two little people, miniature humans in essence, "Hem" and "Haw." They live in a maze and are in search of cheese.The maze in a way symbolizes our environment in which we live and we all are looking for our own cheese, for some money is that cheese, for some success is the cheese and for some happiness is the cheese.Each day ,they all race with new energy and enthusiasm to find their cheese. One day, they all happen to find a corridor in the Maze filled with cheese.So content Hem & Haw, the human miniatures become of their find that they slowly take it for granted and become arrogant in the process. On the contrary, the two mice sniff & scurry keep an eye on the environment and are very watchful. One day, upon arrival , they find that the cheese has vanished. Sniff & scurry are not surprised seeing this. They had already noticed the supply coming down and were mentally prepared for the day when there would be no more cheese. They begin to hunt for new cheese right away. But on the other hand, Hem & Hew become angry & annoyed. They had taken everything for granted. They curse at the unfairness and go home hungry. Next day they again come hoping to find the cheese only to face disappointment. The situation finally sinks in and they realize the cheese is really gone. Haw proposes Hem to leave in search of new cheese but Hem is stubborn and doesn’t accept the change. He is imprisoned in his mindset.
Meanwhile Sniff & scurry find new supply of cheese which is even better and delicious than the earlier one. And on the other hand Hem & Hew start blaming each other for their present woes and become irritated by hunger. Hem is too frightened to leave his comfort zone and to face the unknown. However, Haw gathers courage and decides to move on. He slowly moves to find new corridors of cheese. At times he would find few pieces scattered here and there but on some days he would return empty handed. On his quest to find the cheese, he learns about change & it’s significance and scribbles them on the walls of the maze hoping that his friend Hem would someday come and read them and understands. Finally one day he finds the cheese corridor where sniff & scurry are already enjoying.But now Haw is more cautious and open to change. He keeps an eye on the changing environment and is mentally prepared for any change that may come across. He is equipped better to face the challenge rather than resist. Haw beautifully summarizes the situation he has faced along his journey:
Change Happens: They keep moving the cheese
Anticipate Change: Get ready for the cheese to Move
Monitor Change: Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old
Adapt To Change Quickly: The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese
Change: Move with the cheese
Enjoy Change! : Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again: They keep moving the cheese.
Isn’t our lives also like the Maze? We all are busy searching for our own cheese. We all are different characters. Some of us act like Sniff & scurry and some of us act like Hem & Haw. But most of us have become so busy with our day to day lives and hassles that we seldom get time to think about how to get ready for the change, for the future in a better way and unknowingly, we may fall in the category of forced change, without any option. Being content or be Ambitious, the dilemma will always stare us. But when it comes to survival, only the smartest who have adopted to change have survived. Our choices will define our future. Getting out of comfort zone is tough but taking everything for granted is even more risky. It doesnot matter if you are still studying or you already are a working professional , look around and sniff the change before change hits you.
All the best !!