By Piotr Ulmer, MSPT
The beginning of a new school year brings new situations, new challenges, goals and new beginnings. The way we approach it usually determines if it becomes a clear success, a “kind of” success, just “handling it somehow”, or it becomes a drag and a frustration. In my life quest of learning how to avoid this drag and frustration and what exactly there is to do in order to succeed, I encountered a book Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson, M.D.
As I encourage everybody (no matter the age) to read it, I am not going to spoil it for you and tell you the story. It’s a one day read, and there are versions for adults, teens and kids. The book makes life easier by showing the naked truth and universal law of “how the world works” (or maybe “how people work”), so knowing it is a treasure. Please do it.
I’ve read the book. I applied it during our recent move since we as a family downsized our house. The move went great, and four weeks later, in our family’s daily challenges of accomplishing, organizing and reorganizing, I still continue discovering parallels of Who Moved My Cheese? and my own beliefs and philosophy of life. The ideas in the book I mention are not new concepts. The foundational blocks of our lives: the moral values of Love, Forgiveness, Self-denial for the sake of others (i.e: parenting), efficient working habits (getting up early in the morning, not cheating etc…) have been taught in our culture for quite a few centuries and are still being carried from generation to generation today. Most of us hear from parents and educators about not procrastinating, getting to the task early on, planning it and not dropping it until it’s done. It’s hard work, patience, a positive attitude, love and respect for others that leads to success in the long run.
Love is the ingredient that makes all transitions possible.
Today’s world seems to put “redone” morality on a pedestal. It’s the ability to “stay cool”(not being engaged emotionally) which suppresses expression of Love. Tolerance becomes detached from responsible Love by disregarding, ignoring and attacking the basic laws of our existence. Attention to choice is being misplaced as “what I want now”, having the world and people around us paying the price of it. In such circumstance Freedom as we still value and benefit from, is no longer possible. In a moral climate like this it’s hard not to end up in fear and despair. We all notice by now, that it’s not the right climate to go through transitions of life easily, efficiently and successfully.
Freedom that we all desire is a power to do what we ought to do. If everybody does it, we all end up cooperating in harmony. This calls for denying of our own will and that’s why it is where the rubber meets the road. Just as we teach our children to deny their will of watching TV for the sake of finishing homework, we ourselves need to stop and think out what is our own “homework”?. Unless we deny our “want to” for the sake of “need to,” we will continue cutting the branch we are sitting on.”
From my life experience of transitions, moving from Poland to the United States, changing employers, jobs and houses I’ve learned that all my surroundings are changeable. The cars, houses, job situations, even myself, all are subject to deterioration. I used to think about prayer, love or charity as elusive and non-concrete, however the older I get, the more steady, real and concrete they become. At the same time I notice how all the material world inevitably “ turns to dust.”
Love is the ingredient that makes all transitions possible. It connects all aspects of life for the greatest good and is truly the fuel for life itself. The way I know Love is through my belief in God, and this provides me with the most steady support I know of.. The life changes, transitions and all the daily turmoil are what our life consists of. I think our most important job is not to get tangled in the technicalities of the turmoil, but rather to continue seeing it from the “bird’s eye view” and do all we can to make things better for those around us. Each day’s success is absolutely dependent on living this value of charity, which after all, benefits ourselves.
Piotr Ulmer established CTS Physical Therapy in 2001. A native of Warsaw, Poland, he received his Master of Rehabilitation degree from that city’s Academy of Sports in 1991. He formerly served as the director of an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Clarksville, TN and as a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist in Knoxville before starting CTS Physical Therapy.