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I was introduced to Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, MD several years ago via a text from a friend. It said, “So, every day they went to Cheese Station C, found no cheese, and returned home, carrying their worries and frustrations with them.”
When I receive a random quote text, I immediately determine where it came from and how I can learn more. The book is short and could easily be read in a few lunch breaks, but the message is big and can be applied to all areas of life.
The story tells the tale of four characters. Two mice, Sniffy and Scurry, and two Little People, Hem and Haw. All four live in a maze where they must search the corridors, some with dark corners and blind alleys, to find their cheese. After finding nibbles here and there, they finally find a huge stash of glorious cheese in Cheese Station C. They believe it will last them a long time, but one morning, without any explanation, the cheese is gone. We learn how each of the personalities deal with the large stash of cheese and its sudden disappearance.
The cheese in this story is both simple and complex, meaning you could apply the metaphor of the cheese to one or all areas of your life and examines all the ways you could react to when the cheese is no longer available through the four characters who live in the maze.
What this story doesn’t fully address is that there are really two types of cheese. The kind that gets moved and the kind that gets old and stale. The first is easy to see, something changes and decisions on how to react to it must be made.
The second is harder, it sneaks up on a person if it isn’t monitored regularly. It is the change that needs to happen because the cheese no longer nourishes you. This cheese is the hardest to spot and the hardest to walk away from because the cheese is still there. It is still edible, it is good enough, but it isn’t great. You don’t feel as good after eating it and it never really fills you up.
This kind of change is much harder. It isn’t forced; you must decide to stay and eat the same old stale cheese or leave for fresher varieties, which could mean a more fulfilling diet.
- What is your cheese and how has it moved?
- Which character is most like you when your cheese is moved?
- How can you be like all the characters?
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This short, simple story will leave you thinking for days, maybe years about how you react to change. Are you proactive? Fast to react? Ponder your options, then decide to do something? Or stay where you are?