Who Moved My Cheese - April 28, 2021

No wonder many of us are feeling tired and/or stressed – every time we master the game the rules shift and change.

Posted
May 1, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

Who Moved My Cheese - April 28, 2021

No wonder many of us are feeling tired and/or stressed – every time we master the game the rules shift and change.

Posted
May 1, 2021

What would you do if you weren't afraid? 

JFS Friends – 

As I was reflecting on what many of us have been experiencing over the last several months I recalled a book by Spencer Johnson that was first published in 1998, Who Moved My Cheese.

It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters (mice) who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is used as a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem is that the cheese keeps moving. Sound familiar? A year ago, our cheese got moved in a big way when we all had to adapt to virtual work, home schooling, physical distancing and a host of other things. Then, once we adapted to that, vaccines became available and our cheese got moved again as we had to navigate how, where and when to get vaccinated and what that meant for our daily life, and now the cheese is moving once more as many of us are navigating the return to work and social activities that have been suspended for close to a year.

No wonder many of us are feeling tired and/or stressed – every time we master the game the rules shift and change.

In the book, Who Moved My Cheese, the characters are also faced with unexpected change in their search for the cheese. One of them eventually deals with change successfully and writes what he has learned on the maze walls for you to discover. I have shared a few of those lessons below:

  1. “If you do not change, you can become extinct” - Keep learning, growing and updating yourself to prepare for the changes around you.
  2. “What would you do if you were not afraid?” - It is ok to be afraid but try not to let fear get in the way of taking risks in your life when it is necessary.
  3. “Smell the cheese often, so you know when it is getting old” - Be alert and aware of your surroundings. The earlier we can become aware of a possible change, the more time we have to prepare.
  4. “Go past fear and enjoy the journey of finding new cheese” – If we get stuck in fear we miss opportunities to take actions that will help us adapt and grow. Embrace the thrill of the hunt, be curious, and push the envelope.
  5. “Imagine yourself enjoying the new cheese before you find it” -  Keep your ultimate goal in mind - thinking of what you want and visualizing yourself being successful will help you stay motivated along the journey
  6. “Let go of old behaviors instead of letting go of the situation” - A different viewpoint can often help a situation more than a change of scenery.
  7. “Don’t over-analyze or over-complicate things”  - whenever possible simplify – keeping your solutions as simple as possible makes it easier to adapt
  8. Old belief does not lead you to new cheese”- New situations call for new thinking. Keep experimenting with different ways in order to get new cheese. New inputs will lead to new outputs.
  9. “Noticing small changes early helps, you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come”- Sometimes we are tempted to take a wait and see attitude. However, the longer we wait, the bigger the change we will have to make. Making small changes along the way may be easier.
  10. “Move with the cheese” - Life doesn't stop and neither should you.

Andrew Gide, the French Author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, reminds us:

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

We may not yet be able to see the complete picture of where we are going but I am confident that there are wonderful new discoveries waiting for us if we have the courage to move towards them.

Take care,

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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