I Moved Your Cheese: For Those Who Refuse to Live as Mice in Someone Else's Maze
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If you were a mouse trapped in a maze and someone kept moving the cheese, what would you do?
Over a decade ago the bestselling business fable Who Moved My Cheese? offered its answer to this question: accept that change is inevitable and beyond your control, don't waste your time wondering why things are the way they are, keep your head down and start looking for the cheese.
But success in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership and business growth--as well as personal growth--depends on the ability to push the boundaries, reshape the environment, and play by a different set of rules: our own. With that in mind, Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra offers a radically different answer to this question.
Malhotra tells an inspiring story about three unique and adventurous mice--Max, Big and Zed--who refuse to accept their reality as given. As we watch their lives unfold and intersect, we discover that instead of just blindly chasing after the cheese, each of us has the ability to escape the maze or even reconfigure it to our liking.
In the face of established practices, traditional ideas, scarce resources and the powerful demands or expectations of others, we often underestimate our ability to control our own destiny and overcome the constraints we face--or think we face. I Moved Your Cheese reminds us that we can create the new circumstances and realities we want, but first we must discard the often deeply ingrained notion that we are nothing more than mice in someone else's maze. As Zed explains, "You see, Max, the problem is not that the mouse is in the maze, but that the maze is in the mouse."
realized that the population of mice in the maze had been increasing, slowly, for quite some time. He had noticed this earlier, in some parts of the maze, but never thought much about the trend until today. Today, it had affected his run. Something had to be done about it. Big spent the afternoon walking through the maze, exploring it fully. He paid special attention to the more remote passages. After he felt that he had seen enough, he considered his options. The path he had followed in the past
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In the maze, there is only pursuit. It has no end. No matter how much cheese you accumulate, you keep running. You don’t find happiness here. You only find more cheese.” 21 The crowd was in despair. The elderly mouse took to the offensive. “Those are fine words. But they are not worth much. A mouse must take the maze as given. All a mouse has to think about is how best to navigate this maze. And when the cheese moves, the only thing a mouse has to ponder is how to find it again. What would you
maze do not control it. For mice who have accepted their maze as a given—as a prison—there is no decision but to react to the designs of others. But for those who refuse to accept the maze as a given, who will challenge its design, there is another possibility: the decision to act. “And so I have acted. I was told there is no answer to the question why. I was told there is no choice but to accept change. I was told to pursue only cheese. I was told that the pursuit of cheese is a given. I was
option, we should do more than blindly accept— and eagerly adapt to—change. We should seek to understand why the change has been forced on us, how we might exert greater control over our lives in the future, whether the goals we are chasing are the correct ones, and what it would take to escape the kinds of mazes in which we are always subject to the designs of others. In other words, effective adaptation is not enough for success or happiness. Then there are the ways in which the message of WMMC