Updated: Jun 17
A simple story on the nature of change...
SNIFF SCURRY....Hem, Haw...
A classic motivational business tale - Who Moved My Cheese, An Amazing Way to Deal with Change In Your Work and In Your Life by Dr. Spencer Johnson was originally released in 1998 and spent almost five years on the New York Times business bestseller list, selling more than 26 million copies worldwide.
Amazon reported that it is their all-time #1 bestselling book.
A deceptively simple and insightful story about two little mice, Sniff and Scurry and two little people, Hem and Haw - all dealing with change.
Sniff sniffs out change early on. Scurry scurries into action. Hem denies and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse. Haw learns to adapt when he sees that change can lead to something greater.
Can you relate? We're all navigating our own maze in search of our ideal cheese! Aren't we?
The story goes...one day cheese supply, which was abundant until now... ran out.
Sniff and Scurry, thanks to their foresight and action-orientated approach adapt quickly and leave immediately to seek out more cheese elsewhere – they do not hesitate.
Hem and Haw on the other hand had taken the cheese supply for granted, for years and they were left floundering in shock.
After a long spell of inaction, Haw began to dream of new cheese and began to see how his fears were holding him back.
Hem, paralysed by his fear of the unknown, would rather go without than seek out new cheese.
Haw’s confidence takes a while to grow; his fearful (limitiing!) beliefs making things worse. But he realises that movement in a new direction helps him find new cheese.
Feeling liberated by a life without fear, cheese or no cheese, he teaches us: “The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists”. He came to see that it all depends on what you believe – “when you change what you believe, you change what you do”.
Along his journey - he leaves messages for his friend Hem, in the hope that someday he might gain the courage to seek out a new path:
Change Happens – They keep moving the cheese.
Anticipate Change – Get ready for the cheese to move.
Monitor Change – 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.
Change – Move with the cheese.
Enjoy Change – Savour the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese.
Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again and Again – They keep moving the cheese.
Haw realised that with vision for the future and reflection on past mistakes, (elements not available to Sniff and Scurry) he could make plans and learn to deal with change.
He also came to see that new cheese was a reward for getting past his fear and enjoying the adventure on the way.
Haw hoped for his friend to seek out new cheese, but he knew he would have to find his own way - no one else could do it for him.
So - are you Hem, are you Haw? What is your belief system serving you up right now? New cheese? Old cheese? No cheese?
People resist change, even a positive move towards their dreams; we have an inherent fear of things shifting beneath us – but the cheese will move - move with it! Transition is an inevitable and interesting part of our lives.
What has been your experience of transition or change recently?
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