Out of the Maze
by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Years ago I picked up a book entitled Who Moved My Cheese. I read through the book in one sitting. Before you get impressed with my reading prowess, the book was only 96 pages long. Johnson’s book is an enlightening and amusing story that illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. After 20 years, Johnson released the sequel to Who Moved My Cheese, and I knew that I had to read it. Out of the Maze teaches us that all of our accomplishments are due to our beliefs. We may be confident or insecure, traditional or innovative, open-minded or inflexible. Most of these are difficult to change on a whim, but when they change, our outcomes change as well.
Meet Hem and Haw. They are the little people from Who Moved My Cheese. Hem despised change. When Haw reluctantly headed in a new direction to find new cheese, Hem refused to move. “I don’t think I would like that new cheese. It is not what I am used to,” Hem thought to himself. That was the last time Hem had seen his friend Haw.
At the beginning of Out of the Maze we find Hem pacing back and forth. “He [Haw] is coming back. He’ll be here any day now, and things will go back to normal.” Hem is angry. Hem begins to second guess whether he should have gone with his friend to find new cheese. Exasperated, Hem prepares to go back into the maze to find more cheese. These are the facts from Hem’s perspective: 1) I have to find more cheese. If I don’t, I’ll die. 2) The Maze is a dangerous place, full of dark corners and blind alleys. 3) It’s up to me. I’m on my own.
As Hem will soon find out, sometimes your perspective determines the “facts” you see. This, in turn, limits your outcomes. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Hem meets a stranger in the maze who carries him on a journey of self-discovery. Can Hem change his ways and get out of the maze? Read Out of the Maze to find the answer.
Perspective is a powerful thing. One of the best examples I have found comes from the Apostle Paul in the Bible. Paul was arrested and brought before Felix, Festus, and then Agrippa. Paul tells Agrippa, “I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews (Acts 26:2 KJV). We get caught up in what we see. It has always been this way, so it will always be this way. Read this book and get Out of the Maze.
Ricky Statham is director at Oneonta Public Library. Visit the library Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to check out this or another great book.