A while back, I had the pleasure of reading the world’s most popular management method book titled “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
The book gives its readers a new view on ways to deal with change in work and life. Written for all ages, the simple parable takes less than an hour to read and can easily influence the way you react to changes in everyday events.
The story is about four friends in a maze who are searching for their “cheese”. Two of the friends are mice, and the other two are “little people”. The mice, Scurry and Sniff, are able to adapt to change, without over-analyzing the situation, very quickly when their cheese is moved. In doing so, the two set off immediately to find new and better cheese.
The little people, Hem and Haw, are not as quick to accept and react to change when they find that their cheese has been moved. They begin to analyze the situation and question why the cheese has been moved. Hem refuses to accept the situation and insists on remaining in the same place until the cheese is returned. Haw is afraid to change, but eventually realizes that he must move with the cheese or starve to death.
In an effort to motivate himself to take the first steps in the search for his new and better cheese, Haw asked himself one simple question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.
Even without reading the book, this one simple question can help each and every one of us deal with change. All too often, as human beings, we tend to over-analyze change. Instead of looking at the change as this is what the situation is and this is what must be done to adapt, as Scurry and Sniff did in the story, we look at the situation and want to know why. Why did this happen? Why must I adapt?
We even tend to get angry towards the change and want to focus on who’s to blame instead of what must be done to survive. Our journey through life leads us to many closed doors and dead ends. It is up to us to take the first steps in opening those doors or choosing other paths.
If we let fear control our thoughts, we will never find the courage to take a single step.