Who stole my cheese? Dealing with setbacks

‘Who stole my cheese?’ is a book about dealing with changes in your business life and your private life. Based on a simple story about Snuffel, Snel, Pieker and Peins, the book provides many tips on dealing with change. The cheese symbolizes everything we strive for and find important: money, a job, a relationship, a big house. The story helps you to prepare for changes and to respond to changes that occur spontaneously.

The story about the search for cheese

The book ‘Who stole my cheese?’ is a simple story about 4 little creatures: Quick, Snuffle, Peins and Worry. They are looking for cheese and one day find a large quantity. They eat a lot of it every day, but at a certain point it appears that the cheese is gone. Snel and Snuffel immediately start looking for new cheese, as they have always done. But Pieker and Peins remain seated where they last saw the cheese. They analyze, look for someone to blame for stealing the cheese, feel sorry for themselves, dream about cheese and ultimately come up with nothing. At a certain point, Pieker realizes that they will not get their old cheese back this way and that they will not be able to get new cheese at all. So he too, just like Snuffel and Snel, looks for new cheese. Along the way he comes to all kinds of new insights. Eventually he finds a large amount of new cheese, and he finds out that Snuffel and Snel had discovered this stash of cheese much earlier. Pieker’s insights form the most important message of the book. In this story, the cheese symbolizes what we strive for and expect in life: a job, money, our own house, recognition, relationships, etc. Pieker’s insights are not actually about cheese, but about the important matters in our life.

Everything changes

They keep taking the cheese. Whether it concerns a good job, a good relationship, a lot of money: it can all disappear again.

Take change into account

If you know that the cheese can be stolen, you can take that into account. Make sure you prepare for this. That, even when things are going well, you prepare for the moment when something will change. Keep in mind that you could lose your job over time, that your relationship could change, that you could lose your money.

Keep an eye on changes

Cheese gradually becomes stale; keep an eye on that process. There are often all kinds of signs that indicate that changes are coming. You often don’t lose your job overnight. And even when your relationship breaks down, there is normally a whole process that precedes it. By keeping a close eye on what is happening, you get more control over the situation. It gives you more options to adapt appropriately faster. Maybe it is time to say goodbye to your employer and continue working as a self-employed person.

Adapt quickly

If your cheese disappears, don’t get stuck in existing patterns for too long. You’ll have to find new cheese, and you’ll have to learn to enjoy it just as you enjoyed your old cheese. When it comes to a job or a relationship, it does not necessarily have to be the case that new cheese equals a new job or a relationship with another person. New cheese can also represent a different attitude and mentality within your existing job, which better suits the changing circumstances. New cheese can also represent renewed relationships with your current partner.

Change is fun

Go where your cheese leads you and enjoy the taste of new cheese. The world around us is changing ever faster. Most (young) employees change employers every few years, and more and more people are offering themselves as flex workers or self-employed. Of course, it is still possible to stay with one and the same partner all your life, but within that relationship you will probably have to keep looking for new cheese. It helps enormously if you do not see these processes as insurmountable obligations, but if you can see them as an adventure.