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Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson October 17, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Change.
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Who Moved My Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese is a short but meaningful tale meant as a tool for organizational change. However, it spoke to me on a personal level. The story is about two mice and two little people all on a quest every morning to find “Cheese.”  Cheese, of course, being a metaphor for what we think makes us happy in life.  For some it is money, others power, love, security – the list goes on depending on personal values and ideals. Each character dealt with change in a different way and as a consequence realized success (or not) at different times and through different channels.

My story is also about change. I found that the Cheese I was going to every day did not taste as delightful as it should. My Cheese became old, even moldy. Some of it was disappearing quickly. Some of it was long gone.  I longed for new Cheese and unfortunately, like the little person named Hem, I accepted that there was nothing I could do about it. Even moldy, old cheese was better than no cheese at all so why go through the pain of change. However, like the characters Hem and Haw, after a while it became clear that I was losing strength and slowly dying because of it. At that point I became more like the little person, Haw, who ventured out into the maze in search for new Cheese. The following passage really spoke to me and made me shake as I read it since it described where I found myself;

During the next several days, Haw found a little Cheese here and there, but nothing that lasted very long.

But Haw didn’t feel confident enough yet.  He had to admit he found it confusing in the Maze. Things seemed to have changed since the last time he was out here.

Just when he thought he was getting ahead, he would get lost in the corridors. It seemed his progress was two steps forward and one step backward. It was a challenge, but he had to admit that being back in the Maze, hunting for Cheese, wasn’t nearly as bad as he feared it might be.

As time went on he began to wonder if it was realistic for him to expect to find New Cheese.  He wondered if he had bitten off more than he could chew. Then he laughed, realizing that he had nothing to chew on at that moment.

Whenever he started to get discouraged, he reminded himself that what he was doing, as uncomfortable as it was at the moment, was in reality much better than staying in the Cheeseless situation. He was taking control, rather than simply letting things happen to him (p. 50).

I am getting nibbles now and then.  I am hitting roadblocks constantly. Yes, it is a consistent process of two steps forward and one step back. On many occasion I succumb to fear and it takes me on a ride to nowhere.  There are so many obstacles in front of me. I have been lured down destructive paths. I have taken desperate, fear-driven leaps. I have landed in awkward situations. However, every step whether good or bad, has been a learning experience.

At the very least, I have found out that even the journey to find new Cheese is better than staying where there was moldy or no Cheese. I just have to push fear aside once and a while and continue looking up and down the Maze.  Another passage explains this very well;

Even before he found what he hoped would be a great supply of New cheese, if ever, he knew that what made him happy wasn’t just having Cheese. He was happy when he wasn’t being run by his fear. He liked what he was doing now.  Just realizing he was not letting his fear stop him, and knowing that he had taken a new direction, nourished him and gave him strength (p. 61).

Many of my friends have told me with confidence that the Cheese is out there, just be patient. Many of these same people have walked with me for a spell as I navigated through this Maze. Some are still with me. Others have found their own path to travel. It is all part of the journey.

I will find my Cheese but in the mean time, as the book states, I need to enjoy the adventure.



1. Is it Time to Make Banana Bread? « The Critical Path - January 13, 2010

[…] wait until your bananas go bad. If someone moves your cheese, it is time to coordinate your dish to match what is on the table. And if you do make that banana […]

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