Life has a wicked curveball. You don’t need me to tell you that. And you probably have little need for a lot of the cliches that always seem to come one’s way when life takes an unfortunate turn. Cliches like, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” or “when one door closes, another door opens,” are like fungus that seem to grow everywhere.
Because the reality check is that another door may not open for you. And you may not be tough. So what happens when the going gets tough for you?
The store involves 2 little people and 2 mice. All 4 live in a maze and do so rather contently. Every day they get a supply of cheese to eat. But one day, there was no cheese.
The mice just set off to find the cheese. The little people did not. One refused to accept the change and held out to the bitter end, waiting for the cheese to return. The second person eventually left the first one in search of new cheese.
The book chronicles the lessons that the second person learns in the process of finding new cheese. His thoughts are then contrasted with the thoughts of the first person who would not accept that the cheese was not coming back.
The parable offers 3 options for dealing with the missing cheese:
- The mice, never taking for granted the source of food, simply went off in search of a new source.
- One person steadfastly refused to believe the cheese was really gone.
- The third option was to hold to status quo initially but eventually adapting and moving on.
The cheese can be a metaphor for anything. It can represent a loved one leaving, losing a job, or denied a promotion.
When a “catastrophic” change occurs, it can be easy to go into denial. It can be easier to act and assume that all will be alright and it will all go back to what it used to be. You can wait for the cheese to come back. Or you patiently wait for that other door to open, because when one closes, another opens, right?
But whether in denial or not, the question of “who moved my cheese” is largely irrelevant. The cheese is gone.
Will the cheese come back – yes, then we do…
Will the cheese come back – no, then we do…
The question to answer is “will the cheese come back…”
In search for the answer, one place to look may be before the question is even asked.
The mice never assumed the cheese would be there every morning. When they, along with the little people, saw no cheese that morning, they simply went in search of new cheese. That’s a powerful paradigm. Our ancestors moved with the source of food. Over time, our paradigm change. Perhaps it is time to reboot our paradigm.
Advances in any industry can be breathtaking at times. It becomes imperative that you become a keen student of the game. Your knowledge and skills must evolve with your industry. When change happens, being on top of your game gives you greater flexibility to move on and adapt.
Whatever your thoughts on your current position, you must be valuable. Even if in the end, you are let go; having been valuable can pay tremendous dividends in goodwill and referrals.
It goes without saying that income is a huge concern when you lose your job. Therefore, address that issue before it becomes a problem. You should actively move to build your emergency fund. When the cheese disappears, you will be less apt to panic if you have your own source of cheese.
Waking on one morning and finding your cheese missing can be irritating. Waking up the next morning and not finding the cheese again can be almost traumatic. By the third day, realizing that the cheese is not coming back can be apocalyptic. Yet, by adapting the paradigm of our ancestors, you can overcome and find new cheese. Mostly it is a question of being prepared.
So, when the going gets tough, so what – you’re prepared.
When one door closes, another door – who cares, you’ve got the key.