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Who Moved My Cheese: Reacting on Unexpected Changes

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“Who Moved My Cheese”

The book “Who Moved My Cheese?” (Johnson, 1998), a tale of how people react to change. The story is about of how two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two little people, Hem and Haw react to life in the Maze in their search for cheese. Johnson establishes the setting of the story in the maze, a complex, extensive, and overwhelming place. The cheese is located in Cheese Stations in various locations in the maze. The cheese is a metaphor for the things that we want in our lives. The cheese comes in a variety of quantities and qualities representing that, while what we search for in life has common elements, we each search for our own type of satisfaction. For different people this represents different things they seek to make them satisfied.

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All of the characters eventually find their cheese at the same location, Cheese Station C. The mice set up a daily routine; arriving at the cheese, getting minimally comfortable, taking satisfaction in their cheese, but staying ready to move on if they sniffed out change. At first, the two little people would follow the same routine as the mice with the exception that they relaxed far more and were far less ready to move on. Over time, the little people became lazier and more complacent. They came to feel entitled to the cheese and that it would always be there. One day when the mine and the little people arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left, the mice were not surprised but the little people get angry at the unfairness of the situation.

Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry have found “Cheese Station N,” with new cheese; back at Cheese Station C, Hem and Haw are affected by their lack of cheese and blame each other for their problem. Hoping to change, Haw proposes Hem to search for new cheese. However, Hem is comforted by his old routine and is frightened about the unknown. He did not accept the idea. After a while of being in denial, the little people remain without cheese but one day, Haw decided he should simply move on, so he enters the maze in search of more cheese.

The story “Who Moved My Cheese?” helps me to understand that there are changes in life and I have to be prepared for it. The story is a wonderful example of how to deal with change. For example, a while ago I got an opportunity to go back to college but had to quit my job, I was scared to do this change but I did it and now I have a better paying job that I like and continuing with education. The mice offer the lessons of awareness of the environment, readiness, and the necessity to act on change. The danger here is in acting on instinct without thinking. The author describe a variety of valuable lessons for dealing with change in all of the characters: there is a time to lead; there is a time to follow, always be aware of change, prepare for change, evaluate change, when the time is right, act on change, and lastly, enjoy the journey. To survive and thrive in an environment of change, one must always be aware of the change that is about you. The lessons I learn are valuable: change happens, I have to be ready for it, identify change, act on change, enjoy it, and always be ready for more.

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