Wet babies are the only ones who like change!
Who would have thought a business classic from 1998 would hold important lessons for preppers? I guess when you view the world through a pair of Prepper Ray-Bans, it’s inevitable that lessons pop out from the most unexpected places!
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D., tells the story of four characters, Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw, who live in a maze. Their days are occupied with sniffing out cheese to keep them nourished and happy. Each day they venture out, find the cheese and reflect upon their comfortable and secure lives. Their “cheese” is a metaphor for anything we might want in life — a successful career, comfortable home, wealth, nice car, a happy marriage, etc.
One day their search for cheese ends in failure. The entire supply is gone, and the remainder of the story illustrates how each of these four characters reacts to the change.
Sniff and Scurry saw the change coming. The supply of cheese had obviously been dwindling for a while, and they noted the warning signs. In spite of some disappointment, these two immediately accepted their new reality, took action and began looking for a new supply.
There are thousands of preppers around the world whose attention is focused on the changing tides in our economy, politics, and world events. Not caught unaware, these preppers are increasing their efforts toward preparedness. They realize their cheese supply is dwindling.
What’s the cheese? A comfortable, safe, predictable future in which fluctuating economies have a general upward trend. A world in which every individual has the opportunity to become a success and in turn, pass that cheese down to their children and grandchildren. Acknowledging this loss is painful and disappointing, but these preppers willingly venture beyond the security of their current cheese, knowing there is something better and safer.
In Dr. Johnson’s story, Sniff and Scurry eventually find a new and bigger supply of cheese. Similarly, forward-thinking preppers pursue a life of self-reliance that offers a cushion of security and a sense of satisfaction they didn’t have before.
What about Hem and Haw? These two characters were oblivious to the changes. So comfortable with their supply of cheese, they never noticed it dwindling and considered a life without it. Because the changes happened gradually, the unprepared Hem and Haw were frozen with indecision the day their predictable cheese supply was gone forever. Day after day they returned to where their supply had been, expecting cheese to reappear. It never happened.
You can see the parallel now, can’t you? Maybe Hem and Haw remind you of some of your friends and relatives who roll their eyes at the mention of your new vegetable garden or mock warnings that our economy may never fully recover. To them, a future without cheese is unthinkable, so they do the most logical thing: they just don’t think about it. Eventually, they muse, the economy will right itself, right along with their previous 401(k) balances and the 2006 value of their homes.
In the story, Hem never does venture out to look for a new cheese source. Conversely, Haw finally sees the light but worries that he’s waited too long. After a lengthy search, he finds an enormous supply of new cheese. He vows that in the future, he’ll accept change more quickly.
The moral of the story? It isn’t too late for anyone wishing to prepare for uncertain times that might include a decrease or total disappearance of our familiar and comfortable lifestyle.
By the way, just in case Hem ever changed his mind, Haw left a trail of messages for him to follow. These simple statements are powerful messages for us in these changing times.
If you do not change, you can become extinct.
Literally. Accepting that our world is changing and then taking actions to adapt to that new reality is the antidote to extinction. Inaction may create a temporary illusion that nothing has changed, but ultimately, reality wins out.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Most people choosing to ignore the red flags do so out of fear. But in order to provide a new type of security for themselves and their loved ones, one must set aside fear and see how the potential of rapid inflation, the real possibility of a worsening economy, continuing threats to our national security and even predictable natural disasters might impact their source of security.
Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old.
It’s not enough to just accept that your reality has changed. You must continually stay up to date with new developments in our country and around the world and consider how they might affect you. Events very often move at lightning speed with one event setting off a chain reaction. It’s tempting to hunker down and shut out the rest of the world, but our global society is unalterably interdependent. A devastating hurricane in Honduras may mean a banana shortage in Illinois. A civil war in Mexico could cause a serious disruption in the flow of oil to American refineries. Interdependence. Chain reactions. Being aware is the only way to adapt and respond.
When you change what you believe, you change what you do.
This is probably the most difficult step any novice prepper has had to take. Indeed, even for the most adventurous, certain changes can still be difficult. Facing that what has changed is the world is a scary prospect, and it takes a while to sink in. When those changes are accepted and beliefs about the future change, however, taking steps to prepare for that changed world doesn’t seem radical. Instead, it’s the only thing that makes sense.
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