“Who Moved My Cheese?” is a book written by Spencer Johnson. It was published on September 8, 1998, and has since gone on to inspire countless people going through the one constant in life – change.
Someone once said, “when you are desperate for growth anything is endurable,” including starting afresh. The characters in the book, Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw reflect who we are and who we can be. First, they represent the simple and yet complex parts of ourselves. Secondly, they represent the parts of ourselves that are willing to adapt to change when we see that it can lead to something better. The maze in this book signifies a labyrinth of corridors and chambers, that contains our goals, successes, and happiness. But on the opposite end, there are also dark corners and blind alleys that lead to nowhere. This is life, and it is an easy place for anyone to get lost. As you read this article, be introspective; examine your life. This was my second time reading this book. At first, I read it during a time when the wisdom of this book could not be properly imparted into my life. I was not in a position to truly understand what it meant to “move with my Cheese.” Now, I am going through changes. I have searched myself and I can admit that I was Hem. But now, more than anything, I would like to be Haw.
In terms of finding Cheese (which I’ll tag as “success,” whatever that may mean to you) The rodents, Sniff and Scurry held only simple rodent brains but good instincts. Sniff and Scurry used the simple, but inefficient, trial–and–error method of finding Cheese. They ran down one corridor and if it proved empty, they turned and ran down another. Which in hindsight is hard work, but not necessarily smart work. On the other hand, Hem and Haw were little humans who like humans used their brains, filled with many beliefs to search for what they wanted out of life. They believed when they found it, it would make them feel happy and successful. Hem and Haw used a different method that relied on their ability to think and learn from their past experiences.
Eventually, both the mice and little humans all found their Cheese and became happy. As time went on, Sniff and Scurry continued their routine. They arrived early each morning, sniffed, scratched, and scurried around the Cheese Station, inspecting the area to see if there had been any changes from the day before. Then, they would sit down to nibble on the Cheese. But Hem and Haw became complacent. Hem and Haw awoke each day a little later, dressed a little slower, and walked to where their cheese was. After all, they knew where the Cheese was now and how to get there. There was enough Cheese there to last them forever. It came with a misplaced belief in security because they began to regard the Cheese they found as “their Cheese.” They eventually moved their homes to be closer to it and built a social life around it. After a while, their confidence grew into arrogance.
I pray constantly for God to bless the works of my hands. But in truth, I may not be ready for the kind of success I pray for. I am still in the process of building my character, stamina and taming my desires. If I were given everything I ever wanted on a platter of gold, not only may I not need the one I pray to daily, but I may get lost in dark corners and blind alleys. I think about people who have acquired wealth at very tender ages or those who were simply not ready for the responsibility that success came with. Most of them have squandered their opportunities, used drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressures of this world. Or simply taken their lives when it became too much. While manifestation is real and we should all manifest a successful life (whatever that may mean for us) we should know that sometimes, it comes at much too high a cost (especially if you are not ready).
As with life, the situation at the Cheese Station changed, the Cheese eventually ran out. This reminds me of a story about Joseph, the dreamer, and Pharoah, the king of the Egyptians. In Genesis 41, Pharaoh had a dream. He was standing by the Nile when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Again, in a second dream, seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Troubled by this, Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Joseph stated that seven years of great abundance were coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. God revealed this to the king in preparation for the hard times.
This tells us that there is always a season and time for everything on the surface of this earth. Christian or not, they’ll be good seasons and bad seasons. We all need to learn to celebrate the good seasons but never get too comfortable to a point where we forget that they’ll come a time when things may not be as rosy. Sniff and Scurry did not waste any time when the cheese ran out. They decided to move with their cheese. They realized that if they did not change, they may soon become extinct.
On the other hand, Haw and Hem were suffering from the syndrome of, “life sucks and it is not fair.” Haw wanted to go out and try again but Hem discouraged him. Instead, they began to dig at Cheese station C until they grew even wearier. Haw realized the difference between activity and productivity. He did not want to keep doing the same things over and over again and wonder why things didn’t get better. He realized that sometimes, things change and they are never the same again. Life moves on and he wanted to move on with life. He did want to let the fear of starting over or failing to discourage him. He knew that he should have gotten up and moved with the Cheese sooner. Haw decided that if he ever got the chance again, he would adapt to change sooner. It would make things easier. So, he set out on his own without Hem to find new Cheese. 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 saying in the Cheeseless situation. He was taking control, rather than simply letting things happen to him.
What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. You do not need to overcomplicate matters or confuse yourself with fearful beliefs. Learn to adapt faster, for if you do not adapt in time, you might as well not adapt at all. While you are successful, do not be complacent. Go out into the maze and explore new areas to stay in touch with what was happening around you. Sniff out the situation and see the change early. Also, be like Scurry; go into action immediately. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’re afraid of change. But whether you like it or not, success has a life of its own and eventually runs out. So, you need to learn to savor the adventure and move with the Cheese. look ahead and pay attention to where you’re going. On your way there, you need to learn to let go of old behaviors because repeating the same behavior will just get you the same results. New beliefs can encourage new behaviors. Learn to laugh at yourself and at what you have been doing wrong, then let go and move on.
If there’s anything you should take from this is that you should be ready for success when your hard work produces the result you want. But remember that there are seasons and times for everything. Fortunes change, such is life. Be prepared for the change so it does not catch you unawares. Move with your Cheese, inspect your environment daily and let your hard work be consistent in and out of success.
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