Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, MD, was recommended to me by a co-worker in an effort to help understand and deal with circumstances in my life. As I read this book, I was amazed to find bits and pieces of myself in the characters of this book – Hem, Haw, Sniff and Scurry. Hem and Haw are two "little people". Sniff and Scurry are two mice. The four of them live in a maze and each day venture out to find "cheese". "Cheese" represents something different to each character, but it's never a person. The book tells how each of these 4 characters search for "cheese" and how they react and adapt to the changes they encounter.

After reading this book, I analyzed myself to determine which character I mostly resembled…I am Hem. I'm in my comfort zone and even though I know there is nothing left of the "cheese" supply, I don't want to leave. I've started questioning why I haven’t changed the things I am capable of changing. Am I afraid of finding new "cheese"? Am I afraid to let go of the old "cheese"? Do I feel the effort to find new "cheese" is more than I want to put forth and I will be disappointed with the results? Or, and most importantly, is it because I know it requires a change that I’m not ready to make…..a change in ME? I guess the bottom line is that I am comfortable with the stale "cheese" because I know what to expect, when to expect it, and how to use the stale "cheese" to make life work. But as reality usually goes, it has hit me in the face and forced me to realize that my comfort zone is no longer comfortable….someone has moved my "cheese". Instead of accepting that the "cheese" has moved and venturing out on a different path to find new "cheese", I've stayed in the uncomfortable comfort zone hoping the new "cheese" will come to me. My current "cheese" area will never be the same again and honestly, do I want it to be the same? Part of me says yes, because it's what I know. Another part yearns for new "cheese" and knows that something better is out there, IF I will allow myself to look for it.

Even though this book is not a Christian book (and is used largely in the corporate world), it has some of the same messages that I've found in the Bible, especially the following:

Psalms 55:4 - My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. (My "cheese" has moved – life, as I know it, is changing.)

Psalms 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me". (This requires a change in ME – to overcome my fearful feelings and search for new "cheese".)

Now, don't get me wrong, this is not the first time my "cheese" has been moved. However, I feel like I've always adapted well to the previous "cheese" moving, but this time, it just feels different. Every day I travel back to the empty "cheese" bin and wait for something different to happen. What I've determined is that I do not handle drastic changes well because they are out of my control. When your "cheese" moves, you have no control over what happens. I've also determined that if I want to find new "cheese", I have to make the necessary changes in me.

I'm just sayin',


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