Make Every Day New Year's Day

By Clark, Jack | Business Credit, January 2001 | Go to article overview

Make Every Day New Year's Day


Clark, Jack, Business Credit


There's something about the end of one year and the start of another that invites us to take a look back over the past, to think about the things we've done right and/or wrong and to resolve to change. It's a mark in time; a new year presents an opportunity for a new beginning and to make changes. It's the one time, every year, that most of us effect change. We don't wait for change to happen; we make it happen.

In my September commentary, I told you about the book "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. (by G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York). As you probably remember, the story is about four characters who are forced to go out into a maze in search of new cheese because their cheese had moved. None of the four had anticipated the change, and all reacted very differently when forced to face change. Throughout the book, graphics display thoughts that have been handwritten on the walls of the maze about change. The graphics say things like: "Change Happens: They Keep Moving the Cheese," "Anticipate Change," "Monitor and Adapt to Change Quickly" and "Be Ready to Quickly Change Again and Again."

Think about these two very different scenarios: at the New Year, we are change makers--taking stock of what's happened and making decisions to change the things we did not like. We anticipate resolving to change, and actually look forward to it. But throughout the year, just as in the Cheese book, change often catches us off-guard, taking us by surprise--or worse, we close our eyes and hope that whatever is changing simply goes away. When change catches us off-guard, we work on stopping change or try to pinpoint someone to blame for causing the change. Somewhere in the middle, between these two extremes, there must be a better answer to dealing with change.

If we read the "handwriting on the wall," it tells us that first and foremost, change happens. Sometimes we can see it coming, read its signals and anticipate its arrival. At other times, we have to take a time out and simply stop to look around and examine our surroundings and environment. We have to literally monitor our environment and search for the clues of change. It's easy to get caught up in the routine of our day-to-day lives and forget to look for the signs of change. …

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