Friday, November 30, 2007

Watching the cheese move

I think I've mentioned Who Moved my Cheese? in previous posts. It was very popular in the late '90s and has become the basis for leadership training and much more.

There have been a few situations in our area lately that have made me remember the book and reflect on change and the fear of it that so many people have. The "we've always done it this way" mentality is very prevalent especially in smaller towns, I think, and especially with people who have always lived in them and have never known anything else.

Change can be frightening and confusing sometimes, and cause people who are generally fairly easy-going to dig in their heels and stubbornly resist even change that might benefit them.

Those of us who have lived other places and have chosen to move here sometimes have difficulty being accepted by the "natives." There are two camps: the old-timers and the newcomers. If the newcomers often embrace and welcome change -- such as in new businesses moving into the area, or additions to old traditions -- we're regarded warily, suspiciously, and conflict may arise. The oldtimers feel that their way of life is threatened, that nothing will be the same, and prefer to maintain traditional ways even if they no longer best serve the community and its residents.

I suppose I'm a newcomer, because the cheese is moving in the north state, and there are a bunch of mice who are very unhappy about it. I didn't bring the change; I'm not necessarily advocating it; yet change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same. Not even in a small town.

You know I'm a huge believer that we make our own destiny. We either find new cheese and survive, or we die because there is no cheese where we are. Complaing and whining and filing lawsuits and advocating protest marches will not stop the change. Telling the world how you wuz done wrong isn't going to make much difference in the long run -- or even the short run. It's annoying, it's fruitless, and you WILL starve.

Find the joy, folks. Find the joy in every situation, even when it's hard to see, and find the gratitude. There is new cheese; fresh, tasty cheese that is yours to find, even in the most difficult of situations. Find it and live.

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