In the children’s book “Who Moved My Cheese – An Amazing Story to Change and Winning” by Spencer Johnson, four friends – Hem and Haw, Stiff, and Scurry live in a maze.

Living in the Maze

The maze is a magical place all four friends call home. They can return home after a day of finding cheese. They follow a daily routine, waking up every morning feeling the excitement of benefiting from the efforts they put into making home a safe and magical place to live.

This story shows how four friends adapt to their changing world and maintain unconditional optimism.

Stiff and Scurry keep a daily routine. They measure and keep track of their cheese. They take care of their magical cheese and keep it fresh so that they can enjoy eating their delicious cheese to feed and nourish their bodies. They wake up every morning at about the same time, imagining how much their life and future home could be. They want to enjoy their lives. They also walk daily to keep their bodies moving and happy.

Most importantly, Stiff and Scurry enjoy the hunt and the thrill of gathering their food.

Complacency and Change

Hem and Haw sleep in. They take things for granted. They don’t take care of their bodies. They become lazy and always expect the magical cheese to be there for them forever. Their unrealistic notions that the magical kingdom of cheese would always grant their wish for endless cheese are wrong.

Hem and Haw go through the stages of grief and change. They cannot admit to the problem of having no cheese and bargain with the passing thoughts of finding cheese by waiting for tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes for them. They become sad and mad. The loop of change keeps happening where it causes much physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual pain for Hem and Haw.

Discovering the Cheese is Gone

Until one day, all the cheese in the magical cheese place is gone. Stiff and Scurry are sad and mad, pondering how the cheese disappeared so quickly. What’s more important is, they accept their situation by venturing out to find more magical cheese in the maze.

They are excited to search for more magical cheese, and their hope and faith as friends carry them far.

A Change in Perspective

Hem and Haw react differently. Hem becomes mad and starts to resent the world and himself. Haw is just shocked and denies it all. Haw just wants Hem to be happy and is willing to sacrifice himself to make his friend happy. Haw’s communication stance aligns with Virginia Satir’s People Pleaser.

Hem and Haw were both alone and scared. Haw was so scared and was living his life in fear. His feelings of worry and overwhelmed him.

The two friends, Hem and Haw, just sat and waited for the cheese to come to them.

Haw always wanted to be more like Stiff and Scurry. They got things done and felt good about themselves no matter what. Stiff and Scurry are successful goal-getters. Hem worried that if he went out to get the magical cheese and be magic as Stiff and Scurry, Haw may not like him. Hem worried if Haw would like him when he changed.

Haw started wondering about how people were changing around them and how he felt stuck. He expressed how he got to make a change. He started to wonder as curious as a child these questions:

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

“What would happen if you had the courage of a lion?”

Haw started to make a change, and he anxiously got out of his house to find new cheese. Haw realized when you stop being afraid, you feel good about what you do. When you find your courage, it’s yours to keep as you keep taking action to achieve.

Haw found the magical cheese. He was so excited and brought some back to Hem.

Hem looked at the cheese and started to compare the cheese to the magical cheese he missed so much. Hem’s main driver or his worldview is away from pain. He is also a nitpicker and is more comfortable with tasks and logistics. He sorted by distinctions.

Haw got sad and angry at Hem. Haw started to respect Hem’s worldview. Haw accepted where Hem was at. Since Hem was fine where he was in his life, Haw felt that he didn’t have to force the change that Hem was ready for.

Haw woke up every morning with the same routine with his quest for the magical cheese. Haw kept track of his cheese and took care of them. He kept the cheese fresh. Haw kept his courage and felt good when he took action every day. He was more outgoing, and he was okay. Haw kept moving forward in search of new magical cheese and found his friends, Stiff and Scurry.

Haw, Stiff, and Scurry are so happy being together like a family. To their surprise, Hem knocks on the door. Haw, Stiff, and Scurry welcome Hem home. The four friends look at their home and “notice the handwriting on the wall”.

  • Changes Happen.
  • Anticipate change.
  • Monitor Change.
  • Adapt to Change Quickly.
  • Change is change.
  • Enjoy change.
  • Be ready to quickly change again and again.

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