The Sunday Mail
Hunt for Greatness
Do not fear life, otherwise life will fear you. Do not run away from challenges; rather embrace them and dance with them. Be bold and very courageous. Do what you have to do even if you have to do it afraid. Feel the fear is you have to, but do not shrink from the race of life.
The easy pain-less, challenge-less road to greatness is a terrible myth. Live boldly and not timidly. Take your aim at big, inspiring goals and decide to take bold action. There is no honour in living in the grey zone of life, always playing it safe, doing the predictable and never going so far into the unknown.
Limited thinking can only lead to limited living. Do not hold back because you are not practicing to live. This is life and there are no half-hearted champions. Mediocrity is not your portion. Average is not a commendation but an embarrassment. You are born not to remain in the pod but to bloom. You are born to shine and not to remain in the shade. Do not let fear hold you back and make you shrink into your shell. Throw away your measuring line and take bold, courageous action.
Who moved my cheese?
There is a little book written by Dr Spencer Johnson with a big message on change that is entitled: “Who Moved My Cheese?” Change is the process of life and business. Whatever can no longer change has died. In life change happens, change is scary, change comes and regrettably the need for change does not go away. It is not change that is pronounced but what stays the same in the name of change. It is not just change that is important, but your management and response to it that makes all the difference. When things change and you refuse to change, you risk being run over by change.
Johnson’s book, “Who Moved my Cheese?” is a fast moving story of four characters, two little people and two little mice. They all took off every day to hunt for their cheese. Cheese in this case represented whatever they wanted out of life. After some searching they struck gold and found a large store of cheese. As you would expect, having cheese made them happy.
Such is life, sometimes small episodes of success make us complacent. So, they got used to their cheese and surmised that it would always be there, waiting for them to show up.
Never stop taking responsibility. No one owes you a living. Stop thinking and acting like a victim. This is greatness territory that we are talking about. You can not want to dance with elephants while thinking like an ant.
The characters in the book went ahead and built their lives around “their” cheese. They grew complacent over time and thought that they deserved the cheese. They thought that things would always be what they had always been. What hallucination and day dreaming! Regrettably, what things are is not what they will always be.
Everything changes and no one is insulated from change. You have to take personal responsibility for whatever happens. You have to choose your response. Change happens and it is up to you to happen as change happens. Not all change is forward motion and improvement, but without change there is no momentum or improvement.
One day, the four characters in “Who Moved My Cheese”, walked to their favourite cheese station only to find no cheese. The cheese had been moved. Their response was: “What? No way? Who dares move the cheese?” Typical and logical thinking. Mere logic is necessary but not sufficient for your greatness.
Never waste time complaining. Investing in looking for and optimising your opportunity. There is opportunity in every season. The two mice, did not waste any time, because time is too precious to waste. They quickly used their small brains and started out into the maze searching for new cheese.
The two little people got really angry, and frustrated. They complained bitterly to who-ever-may-listen and demanded that whoever moved the cheese should put the cheese back. They then continued in their fruit-less but grounded behaviour. Thinking with your emotions does not stop the train of change from moving. When the cheese has moved it is not time to curse or do foolish things. Think creatively and strategically.
It is when things seem toughest that he have to develop clear strategies and articulate clear futures. Your leadership ability and strategic acuity shines in turbulent times. Changed times are not seasons for thinking and behaving like a victim. Face the brutal realities of the situation you have. When fear is looked at in the face, it very often flees. Problems are real and they come to be solved by creative minds.
Finally one of the little people, Haw, started seeing a flicker of light and imagining new possibilities. For as you think so you become. He realised that staying in a cheese-less situation will not bring the cheese back.
Remaining stuck in yesterday will not suddenly upgrade you to today or pivot you into the future. He faced his fears and decided to step out into the maze in search of new cheese. Waiting for old cheese to come back is futile nostalgia. To move from being stuck you have to act resolutely and dump your fears. If you have to do something to move forward you have to face what you fear the most.
You have not decided so long as you are hesitant and not willing to face the brutal facts and take action. Until you commit, you have room to hesitate and be comfortably worried.
When you really commit and decide, you take action and you make things to happen. When you face your fears and move forward, even if you have to do it afraid, life opens new possibilities. The question is: do you want greatness enough to dump your fears and take radical action? Half-hearted, uncommitted action will not lead you anywhere.
As Haw started moving, the first steps were hard. With time he realised that he felt better when he was moving than when he was hemmed in his cheese-less corner. He realised that he learnt more when he was moving and engaged. You do not learn much when all you do is complain, grumble, fuss, fume, growl and blame.
Haw thought a lot about his friend who was getting more miserable and touchy by the day. His friend what fighting for his rights to get the cheese-back. Actively pursue your goals instead of being a rebel without a cause.
It was a fruitless fight because the old cheese was not going to come back. Remaining in the same place and expecting things to change is futile exercise. Doing nothing and expecting momentum is a moment of madness.
Haw decided to write on the wall his experiences for everyone dealing with change and challenge to read. I am sure you could also use Haw’s writing on the wall, which read:
They keep moving the cheese
Get ready for the cheese to move
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.
Move with the cheese
Savour the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!
Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again
They keep moving the cheese.”
Who you associate with matters. The people that you allow to speak into your life and affairs matter. The fleas you pick are determined by the dogs that you rub against.
Choose your fellowships with care. To change your life, resign from the fellowships of the bitter complainers. Resign from the fellowships of malcontents. Resign from fellowships of idle people that do not see beyond their nose.
In “Who Moved My Cheese”, moving out of the maze meant confronting the question that you should also confront: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” What is fear doing to you. Do not let fear rob you of your courage and initiative.
Do it afraid
If you are waiting to feel unafraid before moving forward, you most likely never will. Being brave and living bold does not mean you won’t be afraid. It means you move forward in faith even though you are still afraid. It means you kick fear out of the door with courage and walk past it, out into this big, wonderful world. There is opportunity everywhere, everywhere opportunity is calling for bold strategic action.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and executive coach. He is a cutting strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634. His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com