When you read the phrase ‘Move with the cheese’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Cheddar? Mice? Monterey Jack? And another question: How do you react to changes? Anticipate them? Let them come by and immediately come along? Sit down and cry? If you pondered on answering those questions, you must be wondering, what on Earth this post is going to be about.
Not so long, I attended a training on how to provide best-in-class customer service. The first task was to read a book with an intriguing title ‘Who Moved My Cheese?‘. Not the typical sort of books you’d read as an Information Developer. They say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, this was the case when I could say ‘Don’t judge a book by its title’.
Turned out, the book was about how to deal with the Change. Not the seamless change like the new brand of coffee in the office kitchens, but the life-altering changes that make you reevaluate your position among your colleagues and within your team. And that’s a skill many of us need to foster in our work and private lives.
The book was really a game changer, and now I want to give 4 reasons why it is a must-read.
- It’s fabled
In allegoric form, the author made me think of the situations that each and every one of us experienced at some point: ‘Oh look, I got fired (my company decided to relocate/my boyfriend dumped me/I accidently dyed my hair the wrong color – cross the odd ones out). What am I going to do with my life?’ Curl up in a ball and wait for a miracle? Start making excuses why you leave everything as is? Or wear the biggest smile and adapt? The author – Dr. Johnson – describes the four how-it-can-be scenarios lived by two mice and two people. The characters go after the cheese (yeah, cheese, I know!), and when they don’t find, it, or lose it, or wait for it, the most interesting part starts. I will not spoil the plot, just pull the curtain a little: Do you want your cheese, or money, or success? And if your answer is ‘Yes’, you better go and read that book. Besides, the book where people live in a cheese station cannot be boring, right? ☺
- It’s wise
Despite having been written almost two decades ago, this book never loses its topicality: it teaches how to deal with the Change. The Change may scare us but it may push us forward; it can freeze us to the place but it can make us better. All we have to do is to anticipate the Change, embrace the Change, Change ourselves, and then enjoy the Change. Not rocket science, eh?
- It’s simple
The book is written in a way that makes your brain lay on a beach with a pina colada in its hand. When I started reading it, my brain, trained for long and difficult words covering long and difficult notions like remunerative policy or even worse, responsibility, refused to understand anything. I literally stumbled after each sentence. But several pages into it, I relaxed, and the simplicity of the text and the meaning behind it appeared. The ideas expressed with simple words took as much effort to comprehend as it takes to brush your teeth.
“They kept life simple. They didn’t overanalyze or overcomplicate things. When the situation changed and the Cheese had been moved, they changed and moved with the Cheese.”
Isn’t that a cool motto to live up to?
- It’s short
As bunny’s tail, I swear. One evening – and it’s over. Honestly, no one likes those huge self-help books with 25 techniques to make your day productive. And no one likes lengthy blog posts explaining why one has to read this tale, which is my cue to stop here.
- It’s helpful
Once you read it, you will recognize yourself among those 4 characters. And you will be able to understand your actions and embrace the changes, no matter the sphere of your life they appear in – work, family, friends, house – you name it. You’ll start to accept the changes and benefit from them.
Well, I tried to convince you to spend a couple of hours with that book in one hand and a plate of cheese in another. And if previous four reasons aren’t enough, I have a bonus one:
I already did 🙂