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Dr. J Thomas Smith

Source: Dr. J Thomas Smith / Radio One Houston

Change is Constant

There is nothing in life more certain than change. Just reflect for a moment on how things were only five or 10 years ago and you will realize in a very short time that our daily life is quite different.  A look back a little further, and we have a long list of changes: smaller cellphones, satellite radio, cable and satellite television, automated cars, WIFI in cars, wireless headphones and a whole lot more.

In broadcasting, I have experienced the evolution from playing phonograph records, to 4-track tapes, to CD’s, to mini-discs, to MP3’s and computerized music in the control room. Along the way, many complained and resisted the changes. I’m sure there are some of you who know people who refused to adapt to the computer age. Well, when change comes we have several possible mindsets, some of which are more adaptive than others.

Those Who Fear Change

The first mindset is to choose not to change or adapt to any new circumstances, much like the person who would prefer to use a word processor. These are generally people who fear change. I believe that the fear of being inadequate is also consistent with this mindset. When change requires new learning, as it often does, some people don’t think they will have the capacity to master the new skills or adapt fast enough, so it is easier to simply renounce the changes than make any effort to adapt in any way. The problem is that these are the individuals who are left in the dust, or to put it in corporate terms, they are “outplaced.”

The Slow Starter.

The second mindset is the slow starter. These people usually start out either refusing to change or they are anxiously running around trying to figure out what to do about it. They do not like change any more than the next person and they persistently resist until one day, it dawns on them that the change may actually bring benefits. Once they see that there is a payoff for them, they fairly easily do the necessary things to adapt to the change.

The Worrier.

A third mindset is what we see in the over anxious people around us. They are the ones who instinctively make mountains out of molehills and have a nervous energy about them whenever confronted with a different situation. They think of all of the things that could possibly go wrong and seem to just go around in circles. They don’t adapt to the change, they just worry themselves sick over it.

The Change Agent

The final one is the most rewarding mindset. These people welcome change, in fact, they are frequently the change agents that generate change. They realize that change is what makes things happen and keeps progress flowing.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” Revisited.

Are you able to recognize your own mindset in one of the descriptions above? Spencer Johnson’s best-selling book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” is an excellent description of the characters that represent the four possible mindsets in the Change Game.

Hem. The first character in the book was a little person named Hem. Hem feared change and believed it would make things worse.

Scurry. The second character was a mouse named, Scurry. Scurry ran around in circles, simply attempting to accomplish something, anything. At times, he was right. On other occassions, he was wrong but he was constantly moving.

Haw. The third character was a little person named Haw. Haw was slow to figure things out but eventually he adapted to the change and realized that the change could make some things better.

Sniff. The real winner was the mouse, Sniff. Sniff delved into action early, sniffing out the terrain and choosing what to do next. He adapted the quickest.

What Change Will You Make

Think about the character you would like to become. What will you have to give up to be that character? Are you ready to make a plan right now to implement the needed changes into your life? With vision, commitment and a good plan, it is possible.

When you identify any area in your life that requires some attention and you commit to making the necessary adjustments, it is strange how life gets in the way sometimes and we revert back to our old, familiar ways. If you can remain focused, you can overcome this tendency and achieve the success you seek. Good luck to you as you make the changes that will make you a more success-full and happy person. “I’ll see you at the top.”

 J Thomas Smith is host of “Sunday Morning Live” on “The Real Sound of Htown” KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 cst). He is an attorneyauthorkeynote speaker and mental health consultant. Your comments are welcome at or Follow on Twitter @drjtsmith102 on and