In Who Moved My Cheese, we learned, through a parable of mice in a maze looking for cheese, that change can be scary but is inevitable. But what if you are stuck and don’t know how, or where, to begin? In the follow up Out of Maze, Dr Spencer Johnson explores how you can adapt your beliefs to achieve effective results.
Change is hard
In Out of the Maze, we reunite with Littleperson Hem who, at the end of Who Moved My Cheese?, is separated from his friend Haw in the Maze after refusing to eat a new type of Cheese. Hem did not believe he would like the new Cheese Haw offered him because it was not what he was used to. In Out of the Maze, Hem finds himself alone in the Maze, still desperately looking for his old Cheese. Dr Johnson notes that many people identify with Hem, because despite willingness to adapt, some changes are much harder to deal with than others. In Out of the Maze he poses that this is linked to the beliefs we hold.
Belief vs facts
A belief, according to Dr Johnson, is ‘a thought you trust is true’. Beliefs are often concealed as things we consider as facts. Beliefs can be positive and helpful, but can also negatively impact our decision making. In Out of the Maze, Dr Johnson gives a dramatic example of a belief that had a disastrous effect. When the Titanic set off on her maiden voyage in 1912, everyone used the same word to describe the vessel: unsinkable. As a result of this belief, the crew did not load enough lifeboats on the ship. Of course we all know what happened next.
Luckily, not every belief we hold will have the same dramatic effect as sinking an enormous passenger liner in the Atlantic Ocean, but this example illustrates how powerful their effect can be on our lives. On a more practical level, there may be things you believe about yourself that are actually untrue, and they could be holding you back from seeing new opportunities and getting you where you want to go.
Escaping the maze
The first step to escaping the maze is identifying our beliefs and considering how they might be holding us back. Think about instances in your life where your fear of change held you back from seizing a new opportunity. What kind of beliefs did you stubbornly hold at the time? Are there facts that you cling onto that may actually not be true? Finally, consider this quote by Mark Twain: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’
Out of the Maze is a brand new book to help you change your thinking and overcome whatever is holding you back. It shows how to adapt your mindset and beliefs so you can achieve better results in any field, and create a happier, more fulfilled future. Like its bestselling predecessor, Out of the Maze is a simple, entertaining story. It takes minutes to read, yet its insights can last a lifetime.