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How To Handle Uncertain Times

One of my favorite books of all times is a book entitled, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. I have read this book before and recently had the pleasure of re-reading it. It's the sort of book that stays with you and it is a very easy read. I highly recommend it!

This book presents 4 characters. They are 2 mice, named Sniff and Scurry. And 2 littlpeople named Hem and Haw. Daily, all four character would put on their jogging suits and running shoes and leave their house in search of their favorite cheese. In this book, cheese represented what made them happy and successful. The mice and littlepeople had very different methods at seeking out their cheese, but they were all going through the same maze with various cheese stations along the path of the maze. From their vantage points, they are not aware of where cheese is present throughout the maze. They are just aware of the cheese station they encounter first. As the story continues, Sniff and Scurry realize that the cheese is getting low. They are enjoying their current state of bliss, but also formulating a plan for when the cheese runs out. When the cheese is gone, off they go in search of new cheese. Hem and Haw, on the other hand, become complacent and are devastated by the fact that the cheese is gone. They assumed the cheese would always be there. It takes them quite a while to move on in search of new cheese. Almost to the point of their demise.

Here's the thing. The only thing that is certain in life is change, and the return of Jesus Christ. We have to learn to prepare for both. But for the purpose of this blog, I want to focus on change. In the recent past we have dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic and have experienced such uncertainty as a result. For some business-those that learned to adapt-Covid did not affect t much, but for those that were not as flexible, the pandemic was a destructive force. But uncertainty is not new...and neither is change.

So how do we navigate change in an ever-changing world? Here are some tips that I learned from this book.

  1. Don't get complacent. Like the main characters in the book, many people's confidence grow into "the arrogance of their success." Some people are hung up on their failures, and it prevents them from moving forward. But some people get stuck on their successes and relish in it to the point of becoming complacent. Your biggest accomplishment is to be celebrated. Congratulations! But it is just a milestone in the journey of life. There is more to be experienced, and sometimes, change is the vehicle that causes us (or forces us) to move on to greater things. Without change, some us would continue to bask in the glory of our former glory until we become extinct. Ya'll remember Blockbuster, right?

  2. Take constant inventory of your life. Those that take the time to evaluate conditions are not taken by surprise when things shift. They are able in a sense to anticipate change and put measures in place to adapt to the inevitable.

  3. Realize that uncertainty only last for a while. You won't always have the answers to all of your questions right away. Some answers only come along the journey. But as you move, things become clear.

  4. Sometimes you have to leave some things behind. Not everything and everyone is meant to journey with you. You should try to help others along in your journey, but their journey is their responsibility, not yours. Just as your journey is your responsibility, not someone else's.

  5. Your perspective is important. We have to confront fear. Fearful beliefs are like dead weights. They only keep you from moving. Things are never as bad as you fear. You have to recognize the difference between healthy fear and unhealthy fear. You have to learn to protect your thought life. Toxic thoughts can harm you and paralyze you. It is hard to see clearly when emotions are involved. So take time to settle yourself and be prepared to meet challenges head on.

One of the questions asked in the book was, " What would you do if you weren't afraid?" That is a really powerful question and one I invite you to ponder. Fear often accompanies change because of the uncertainty surrounding it. But if you learn to quickly adapt to change, you may find that things aren't really scary; they are just different. Realize that because things are constantly changing, your present circumstance won't always be what it is. Whether good or bad, that is something we need to always prepare for. So stay ready and meet the challenge of change head on. It may be the best thing that ever happens to you!