The goal of Spencer JohnsonÆs parable of two mice and two, for a better description, Hobbit-like people, is to illustrate effective behaviors and attitudes for dealing successfully with change. The story involves Sniff and Scurry, two mice, and the two Hobbit-like little people, Hem and Haw. The four typically jog to the maze each day for cheese that just appears. However, one day their cheese is gone. How they react to this change is meant to illustrate how individuals can adopt desirable behaviors to effectively deal with change, or not. Sniff and Scurry only want cheese and will do whatever it takes to get some. Hem stays in denial, is afraid of the unknown, and is strongly opposed to change. Haw will adapt to change, once he is able to see its rewards. As Johnson tells us, ôCheese being a metaphor for what you want to have in lifeàthe Maze represents where you spend time looking for what you wantö (14).
Sniff is able to ôsniff out change earlyö, while Scurry ôscurries into actionö (Johnson 12). All four characters mirror different reactions to change. JohnsonÆs parable illustrates that if we want to most effectively handle change, we need to develop the following behaviors: 1) Accept change always occurs whether we want it to or not; 2) After accepting change happens, learn to anticipate change; and 3) Learn to adapt quickly to change by letting go of old notions and adopting new ones. As long as one can compare oneÆs self to a mouse in a maze searching for cheese, the book is highly instructive and an action plan for handling change in a successful manner.
Johnson, S. Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. New York, NY: Putnam Publishing Group, 1998.