May 25, 2010 – This short but cleverly executed story by Ken Blanchard and Mark V Hansen is a rich insight into the various ways in which people deal with change.
There are four characters in the story. Sniff and Scurry are mice who rely on their intuition to cope with changes. The other two, Hem and Haw, are miniature people with complex ideas of change. Each has a different way of dealing with it.
The problem begins when, after a long period of having a stable supply of cheese available to them, the four characters arrive at the cheese station only to find that the supply has run out.
The cheese is a metaphor for the things we value in life like our careers, family, health and wealth, while the cheese station is our source of these things.
When the little mice realise one day that the source of their cheese has run out, they quickly set out in search for more cheese in other cheese stations.
Hem and Haw however complain and moralise about the absence of their cheese, which they have grown accustomed to. Haw decides to sit helplessly and mourn his woes, waiting for the cheese supply to be replenished. Hem however decides to go into the maze in search of new cheese. The rest of the tale involves Hem’s journey in finding more cheese and the lessons he learns along the way.
The simple tale points to our reluctance to accept change and encourages us to examine our own attitudes to it. There are valuable lessons about overcoming fears, changing perspectives, perseverance and goal setting embedded in a refreshing anecdote.
The best part is that the book is a quick read and if you skip the synopsis, you can make a personal interpretation and application to your own life situations. The book gets full marks for clarity and depth. It is definitely worth checking out