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The year 2019 has come and gone and we are drifting towards the end of the first quarter of 2020, yet we still hear comments about how 2019 was a year of change. There were the impeachment hearings, the protests in Hong Kong, further evidence of the possible effects of climate change, the acceptance of driverless vehicles, and so on.  But what always surprises me is that in using the word “change” there is often an implication of something bad.

Many years ago, a friend in Aruba recommended that I read a very short book entitled “Who Moved My Cheese?” by author Dr. Spencer Johnson.  Now, normally, I would not read a short, seemingly whimsical book, and surely the title would not appeal to my serious side either.  But I read it nonetheless.  It took about two cups of coffee.

To my surprise, the book is about a serious subject.  It just makes its point in an amusing sort of way.  Cheese, as it turns out, which is the favorite food of the book’s subjects, symbolizes what people want in their lives: a positive love relationship, a good job, sufficient money to live well on, a happy life, and a supportive community to live in.  

The lesson the book teaches is that change is inevitable!  When change happens, some people throw up their hands and choose to do nothing about it. But the author argues that we need to accept change, try to develop the change into something good for us and, when we have achieved that, we need to look for the next change, which will surely come.  Embrace it and, again, see how we can profit from it, not just financially but in terms of living a better life.  You’ll enjoy a more fulfilling life than you ever imagined. 

Change will happen!  The unknown ingredient is whether and how we will react to the change.  It is our choice.  We can sit back and do nothing, or we can react and make ourselves and our lives better because of it.  And, then we can start searching for the next change that will inevitably come before
we know it.

Mr. Johnson, the author, died in 1917 and, according to The New York Times, the book “became a publishing phenomenon and a workplace manual that preached how flexibility in the face of changing times will reward people.  Those who are wedded to the past and lag behind…will not survive.”

So, the next time you sense that a change is occurring, get on board.  Don’t end up being the caboose.  

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