The story involves four characters who live in a maze: the mice, Scurry and Sniff, and the two ‘little people’, Hem and Haw. All is going well because they have found a huge source of their favourite food, cheese. Hem and Haw have even moved their houses to be near it and it has become the centre of their lives. But they do not notice that the cheese is getting smaller, and are devastated when they arrive at the site one morning and find the cheese is gone.
This is where the story splits in two. Scurry and Sniff quickly accept the loss of the cheese and go off into the maze in search of other sources. However, Hem and Haw felt that they are the victims of some kind of fraud or theft because they had built their lives around the big cheese.
The feeling of being victimised, only made things worse, as clinging on to the emotions with the already vanished cheese ensured that they go hungry.
Meanwhile, the mice moved on and found new cheese.
Hem and Haw wasted many days thinking about the situation and wondering when the Old Cheese might return. Finally, as hunger set in along, with the stark reality that the Old Cheese is not going to return, Haw set out into the maze in pursuit of New Cheese.
To make himself accept reality, Haw wrote this on the wall of the maze: “If you do not change, you can become extinct”. Eventually, Haw found his way to “Cheese Station N”, which was piled high with all different types of cheese, enough to last a lifetime. By the time, Scurry and Sniff, had already arrived at the Cheese Station N long before.
The story acts as a gently yet imaginative reminder of some key facts that we all need to acknowledge.
1. Change Happens
No matter how content we may be with things, as they stand currently (and often because of it!), change happens. “The only thing constant is change”. In our cores, we know this to be true. Nothing stays the same forever. In fact, it’s even more accurate to note that change is happening every day. Little by little we, our situations and the world around us are growing and adapting.
If that’s true, then why are we so often immobilized by new circumstances? And better still, if we know change is going to occur, why are we not proactively working to change it in a way that benefits us and the world around us?
2. Monitor your current situation regularly for mold
“Noticing small changes early help you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”
It’s foolish and naive to believe that everything in life is going to remain exactly as it is. It’s better to be aware that change can come at any time and to be open to the possibility. Your best option, though, is to be diligent in taking inventory of your situation on a regular basis. Just like proactive “check-ups” at the doctor’s office can help stem future problems, so should you perform your own “check-up” on your future endeavors on a regular basis?
Are things progressing the way you had planned?
What new factors exist? What sort of impact could they have?
3. Move your own Cheese
“It’s a lot better to initiate change while you can, than it is to try and react and adjust to it. Maybe we should move our own Cheese.”
No matter how content you are (and more often when you are comfortable!) head out into the maze every now and then to see what other options exist. Not only will this help you stay abreast to new potential opportunities, it will also keep you sharp and remind you that the maze really isn’t that scary a place. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Whether you initiate it or let it drag you along, change happens. How it affects you is directly related to the attitude you take. Will your foray into the maze be a terrifying one, or exciting? Do you know what it is you’re looking for? As Haw discovered, the more clearly you can picture your Cheese, the more exciting the pursuit is and the more likely you are to find it.
Both the mice and the Little people represent parts of ourselves – the simple and the complex. We all have doubt, we all have uncertainty and fear of the unknown. And yet – change happens. The question becomes “Which part of yourself are you going to embrace?” Are you going to be Hem, stuck at Cheese Station C, wishing the Old Cheese would come back and blaming the Universe for your misfortune? Or are you Haw, charging back out into the maze in pursuit of greater accomplishments and gains? See you at Cheese Station N.