If you haven’t read the short fable “Who Moved My Cheese?” please do. Though Dr. Spencer Johnson first published this in 1998, it is particularly salient right now as society is determined to make 2021 a better year than 2020. 

Adapting is the name of the game

In a Nutshell

The short story is based on four different approaches to finding cheese in a maze, which is an analogy for pursuing success. The maze can represent business or personal pursuits. The approaches are reduced to simple actions that are mirrored in the characters’ names. 

Sniff and Scurry are mice and don’t rest when their first-found cheese supply starts to dwindle. They sniff it out and scurry toward it. Hem and Haw are little people who are fairly complacent. Haw realizes the error of their folly and goes to hunt for new cheese after they completely depleted their first store of cheese. Hem waits. Hem gets left behind. 

The fable is a very accurate portrayal of how people operate on a regular basis without the metaphorical maze. The Sniffs and Scurrys of the world seek new ways to do business. They look for new technology, new products and they hurry to adapt. Haws are late adopters of the new, but they pull through and wonder why they were ever scared. “Haw! Why was I afraid?” Hems, slow to react, stay in denial of the situation obliviously risking obsolescence.

A New Vision

Last year almost everyone had their cheese moved. The only people who remained in a normal or heightened state of success were the literal suppliers of cheese! Businesses that sell food, liquor, home improvement materials, technology, and those who loan or manage money. Cheese! 

Even with a COVID-19 vaccine and a new administration coming into the White House, the world is different and normal has been reinvented. There are jobs out there, but not the same jobs as before the pandemic travelled around the globe. Most revolve around supplying cheese or creating a new cheese.

This book is a perfect reminder that success comes to the proactive and the persistent. That is what this decade will take! Opportunities look different and require a great deal of innovation. Right now, the word “pivot” is in conversations and social media posts more often than “Happy New Year” is used in January. Even in the worst situations, people have been pivoting to new careers, creating new businesses from their passion, and discovering new interests that can open new doors. 

Whether you are a Sniff, a Scurry, a Hem, or a Haw, you’ll enjoy reading “Who Moved My Cheese?” and want to share it with your team or family soon. 

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon.

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