Yesterday, my assistant principal gave my a booklet of a story entitled “Who Moved My Cheese,” by Dr Spencer Johnson. It’s an interesting approach on how people respond to change through the life of four characters:
1) Sniff – A mouse who “sniffs” out change early. He’s ahead of the game.
2) Scurry – A mouse who “scurries” into action, adapting and adjusting quickly along the way.
3) Hem – A human who resists change, but also denies the fact that it will happen. He’s happy in his status quo and fears that change will lead to something that will leave him worse off.
4) Haw – A human who learns slowly to adapt, once realizing that change will leave him better off.
The cheese in the story is a metaphor about what would be ideal in your life; a stable relationship, a good job, material goods, whatever it is that you would desire. The maze that the characters travel through is the journey or the place where you look for what you need or want; the community you live in, where you work, etc…
Throughout the story, metaphors and quotes are given that really make you think and reflect upon how you deal with change. Here is a great mind map of the story:
While reading the story and trying to decide which character I was, I couldn’t help but think about why we struggle to adapt to change. Is it fear that prevents us from adjusting easily? Are we happy with how things are and believe they can’t improve? Why has a negative connotation been attached to the word change? How do we modify our own perception and embrace change?
I think ultimately that with the idea of change, comes the image of uncertainty and the unknown, and that itself can be a scary place to be. But what if we instead put a positive spin on it and looked at change as an opportunity for growth and learning? If as educators, we aim to teach our students how to be adaptable, should we not model that as well? If we aim to seek out opportunities, or even just change our mindset and be positive about situations, we can only end up in a better place. We open the doors for experiences that we may have never had before. We keep our lives simple and allow for ourselves to enjoy the adventure. The biggest barrier to change exists within yourself. What character will you choose to be?