I recently re-read the book ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ It’s a short story about how we react when change happens in our life.
There are four little characters with different personalities (two Mice and two People) in a Maze, looking for Cheese – cheese being a metaphor for what you want in life, whether it’s a job, relationship, money, health, recognition etc.
Every day they go into the Maze to find cheese, and one day they find it. Each morning after that the Mice keep getting up early to get the cheese, but the People didn’t bother. They knew where the Cheese was and how to get there. No need to rush, right?
One morning, there was no Cheese. The Mice were not surprised, they’d noticed the amount of Cheese was getting smaller and were prepared. They knew what to do and set off back into the Maze looking for New Cheese.
The People however assumed the Cheese would always be there. “Who moved my cheese?” they shouted. What if the Cheese wasn’t there tomorrow? How could this have happened? While they returned every morning to see if someone had put their Cheese back, the Mice had already found New Cheese.
The rest of the story is about one of the People going out in the Maze again looking for New Cheese, and what he learns on the way.
When he was back in the maze he had to admit it wasn’t as scary as he’d imagined. He was taking control rather than simply letting things happen to him. If he’d ventured into the Maze sooner he would have found New Cheese sooner, rather than wasting time denying that the Cheese had moved. He learnt something very useful from the Mice about moving on: they kept it simple, they didn’t over-analyse or complicate things. When the situation changed and the Cheese moved, they changed and moved with the Cheese.
Whether something changes in your personal life or work life there’s a lot to learn from these characters:
Can you imagine something better after the change has happened, and picture yourself finding it?
Can you use your past mistakes to plan for the future
Can you be more aware of the need to keep things simple and be flexible
Can you work on any fearful beliefs you’re holding on to
Can you notice the little changes so you’re more prepared for the big change that may come.
The biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself, and nothing gets better until YOU change.