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Who Moved

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Who moved my Cheese?
By Spencer Johnson, M.D.
– An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and In Your Life

Please find below an excerpt from a best-selling management book for some insightful reading.

Long ago, there lived four little characters that ran through a Maze looking for Cheese to sustain them and make them fulfilled.

• Two were mice named Sniff and Scurry; and
• Two were little people, whose names were Hem and Haw.

They all had something in common; every morning, they all put on their jogging suits and running shoes, left their little homes and raced out into the maze looking for their favorite Cheese. One day, Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw discovered what they were looking for - they all found their own kind of Cheese one day in Cheese Station C.

Sniff and Scurry (the mice) created a daily routine of waking up early every day and racing through the Maze, along the same path. Initially, Hem and Haw also raced towards Cheese Station C every morning. But after a while, they got more comfortable and awoke each day a little later, prepared a little slower, and walked slowly to Cheese Station C.

One day, Sniff and Scurry arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left, but they were not surprised. They had previously noticed that the cheese supply was dwindling, and they were already aware that they would have to embark on finding a new cheese source. Leaving Cheese Station C together, they began their quest for new cheese. Sniff would sniff for new cheese, whilst Scurry would scurry ahead to find the new source. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, "Who moved my cheese?" The humans had relied on the constant supply of cheese, and so were unprepared for this dramatic turn of events. After they realized that the cheese was indeed gone, they got angry at the injustice of the situation and both went home starving.

While Sniff and Scurry had swiftly moved ahead and found new cheese at Station N, Hem and Haw continued to get more distressed. Haw started to get disheartened. He had made future arrangements based on this Cheese. The next day, Hem and Haw left their homes, and returned to Cheese Station C, where they expected, somehow, to find their Cheese. But the situation had not changed; and the Cheese was still not there. Hoping for a change, Haw proposed a search for new cheese. However, Hem was accustomed to his old routine and was frightened of the unknown. He disagreed with the idea.

Eventually, Haw was able to see what he was doing, laughed at himself, faced his fears and followed Sniff and Scurry into the maze in search of new Cheese, while Hem remained behind, thinking that somehow, his Cheese would reemerge.

Soon, when Haw realized that he was enjoying the change of pace and that the hunt really wasn’t so bad, he understood and embraced the change. He wrote what he had learned on the wall, hoping that the signs would help Hem find his way.

 The more important cheese is to you, the more you want to hold onto it.
 If you do not change, you can become extinct
 What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
 Smell the cheese often, so you know when it’s getting old
 Movement in a new direction help you find new cheese
 When you move beyond your fear, you feel free
 Imagining myself enjoying new cheese, even before I find it, leads me to it
 The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese
 It is safer to search in the maze than remain in the cheeseless situation
 Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese
 When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course
 Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come

Finally, he met Sniff and Scurry in the new Cheese station they had discovered.

The story ends with Hem realizing that when you can read the writing on the wall, you can flourish in changing times.

The book is a simple fable that tells an amusing story of 4 characters, who live in a maze and look for Cheese to sustain them and make them contented. They represent the different reactions people have to changes in their life. In this story, Cheese represents what we seek in life: a job, relationship, money, big house, freedom, health, recognition, etc. And the maze represents where you spend time and energy seeking for and building what you want. The 4 personalities are Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw.

The message in the story is that, sooner or later, we will experience some form of change in our lives or careers or aspirations, and will react to it in diverse ways. The ones who positively adjust will find a new path to follow, while those that linger will not escape disenchantment.

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