quarta-feira, 29 de junho de 2011

The Lonely Hearts Club

Reading this book was great!!! To start off it's a "chic lit" book so I was able to read it quickly and without having to put too much effort or concentration while at it. Secondly - and mainly - is because of the constant mention it has of The Beatles and their songs. Every night while I read this book I'd pop a "You Tube" page open and listen to the whole "Beatles Playlist" and that would just make my day!
The whole story starts off with a girl called Penny Lane (yes, named after the famous Beatles song!) that is betrayed by her "one true love" and so she goes on this crazy "NO DATING" strike and starts a club that grows and increases by the day. It's members? Other girls that are sick of jerks that play with their hearts and make them into fools. And so because of this little female revolt going on in the school the guys start waking up and the girls create true friendships and learn how to stick together and be there for one another. 
As any chic lit story there is a happy ending: Penny Lane ends up with the most sweet/cute/romantic/wonderful/hot guy in her school and they have a adorable relationship and live happily ever after. 
My personal opinion? It's cute and nice and might even be "realistic" - but only if you are entering a 14 year old teenager's life... other than that? its completely unrealistic and something that I'd fantasize with when I was still entering puberty; but cute nonetheless! :) More than anything it's a good read to catch up with all the fantastic Beatles songs - that yes is quite the kick!!!
Ah, and by the way, whoever had the idea of this book's cover certainly deserves a prize - it was the first thing that caught my eye and made we want to read the book!

Penny Lane, the daughter of Beatles’ fanatics parents is sick and tired of boys. After having her heart broken by her childhood sweetheart, she decides to stop dating until she leaves high school and concentrate only on school and her girl friends. She creates The Lonely Hearts Club and as the lone member keeps it a secret for as long as she can. But soon enough word starts spreading at school and more and more girls who are having boy-troubles join the club starting a huge movement and Penny becomes a legend, creating a myriad of problems with boys, the principal and other girls.
What starts as a very teenage-y read (the first few chapters had little crossover appeal to me), soon proves to be much more. In a genre that is replete of relationship-centric stories in which the girl falls hard for the boy and forgets about everything else and never looks back,The Lonely Hearts Club provides a refreshing turn of events. It may start as very boy-centric but as the story and the characters evolve the book becomes a girl-centric, empowering read, the answer to my prayer for more strong female characters in YA.
The point that Penny and her friends want to make is that yes, at one time or another pretty much every girl forgets everything because of a boy. But what happens if the relationship does not work? Friendships have been ruined, school grades have fallen and there is a vacuum in their lives. With the Lonely Hearts Club they try to pre-empt that threat by sticking together, and prioritizing themselves over boys.
Right at the beginning of the story there is a very important event when two of the most popular kids in school, Diane and Ryan break up and Penny observes from afar how unfair it all seems with Ryan being hailed as The Guy as though breaking up was his choice and Diane being pitied as a victim; This, even when they broke up out of common accord and remained good friends. This critical perception of High School’s silly behavior is another great thread of the novel.
Actually, this is one of the great things about Lonely Hearts Club, the fact that I was surprised by certain choices the author made. Ryan and Diane’s relationship is a very interesting one. Having dated for 4 years, they become really good friends after breaking up, showing the respect they still had for each other. It could have been easy to have made a point of maligning one or the other or to make Diane a bitch seeing as how she used to be Penny’s best friend but disappeared once she started to date Ryan. But the author makes both characters flawed, fleshed out people; Diane especially is someone who made a mistake, regretted it and tried to atone for it. And both girls, Diane and Penny try really hard to make their friendship work again. Penny is also friends with Ryan and their budding relationship becomes a bit more, adding tension to the story: he has feelings for Penny and they are clear, but what happens to the Club then if all of a sudden the founder decides to break rule numero uno?
The eventual realization that maybe not all boys are the scum of the earth and that it is possible to have both: boyfriends and girlfriends and remain a centered person is a very healthy outcome and one that I loved.
On the down side, quite a few of the secondary characters are not really fleshed-out , which is not surprising seeing as how there were so many girls in the club. But there is one in particular that has an eating disorder and I think this is an important issue that deserved more than being merely glossed over. It also sort of bothered me, how peppy some of the meetings of the club were and everything that they did was an overwhelming success. I like the idea of empowering girls to the point where they work together towards common goal but not everything can be so easy as to simply rally people and voila, all is fine in the world. I find it a bit unrealistic.

Still, overall the story really works , with its focus on friendships. I loved Penny, Diane and Ryan as characters and all the references to the Beatles. I heard on the grapevine that the author sold rights to a movie and should it happen I predict a success – as far as I know, there isn’t a lot of stories centered around girls and their girls friends out there and the author certainly deserves kudos for it.

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2011

Glamour Girls - Andrea Stephens

A Christian Handbook on "true beauty" with a few tips here and there on the side of how to take care of your beauty. It's not bad but it's also not good for two reasons:
1- Andrea Stephens tries too hard to be "cool" and talk "teen lingo" which ends up making the book something of a joke since she is supposed to be a Christian author. Don't know, her "wanna-become-one" with the teens just didn't stick with me (well, maybe that's cause I am past the puberty age).
2 - A lot of her advice, tips, ideas, etc. are real good and you start getting into it and want to know more but then you are left at it: wanting! She doesn't go to the end with any one subject and that makes it hard for someone that is actually trying to put her advice in practice. 
So those are my two reasons why I didn't like this book as much as I could have. 
But anyways, other than these two little critics I liked her "simple-do-at-home" exercise plan and also where she explains about our color tones and what colors go well with each certain kind of skin tone. 

Here is a short little book review on her book:

Former fashion model turned God-model Andrea Stephens knows the world of beauty, and she's not afraid to share her stuff. From cosmetics and clothes to confidence and contentment, you'll get what it takes to look, feel, and be your best. Stop hating mirrors! Go from feeling average to being a brave, breathtaking, bold B.A.B.E. - beautiful, accepted, blessed, and eternally significant.

quarta-feira, 8 de junho de 2011

Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - John Gray

Who should read this book? All men and women should read this book. Be they young or old, married or single, dating or a widower...and the list goes on!
Why? Because it makes you understand a bit better the opposite sex, answers a whole lot of questions you had in your head and an action that before would bring question marks to your head now is something that you can accept because you know the "why" behind what just happened.
What is this book all about? It's all about relating with the opposite sex. It gives you an excellent insight in the relations between the sexes. John Gray's solutions in developing better and happier relationships are witty, well-researched, to the point and simple! 
Where can I apply all the information I've just read in this book? EVERYWHERE! Every day we find ourselves in the midst of people of the opposite sex. Be they our workmates, roommates, classmates, friends, companion, boss, parents, relatives, name it! And we all should learn how to communicate and mesh with those that partake of our company. Even though this book was written specifically for couples, since I've read it I've already made a lot of changes in my communication and speaking skills with my men students and from their reaction I can see they more than appreciate it!
Read the book, follow-up on it and then wait to see the improvement it will have in all areas of your life!

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, an enormously popular book by author John Gray, contains many suggestions for improving relationships between men and women through understanding the communication style and emotional needs of the opposite sex. As suggested by the title, the book asserts the notion that men and women are as different as beings from other planets, and that learning the code of conduct of the opposite sex is of essential value even if individuals do not necessarily conform to the stereotypical behaviour.
Chapter 1: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
It is important to remember that men and women have reciprocally different natures. Men and women need to appreciate these differences, and cease expecting each other to act and feel the way they do.
Chapter 2: Mr Fix-It and the Home Improvement Committee
Men love to have their abilities recognised and appreciated, and hate to have them scorned or ignored; women love to have their feelings recognised and appreciated, and hate to have them scorned or ignored. Men don't rate feelings highly as in their view they can result in hotly impassioned, wildly unstable behaviour; women don't rate abilities highly as in their view they can result in coldly dispassionate, aggressively competitive behaviour.
Men like to work on their own, and exercise their abilities by solving problems quickly and singlehandedly; women like to co-operate, and exercise their feelings through interactive communication with one another. Men value solutions, and view unsolicited assistance as undermining their effort to solve problems alone; women value assistance, and view unsolicited solutions as undermining their effort to proceed interactively. Men desire that their solutions will be appreciated; women desire that their assistance will be appreciated.
Chapter 3: Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk
When faced with tough problems, men become non-communicative so they can work out how best to help themselves, while women become communicative so that others can work out how best to help them. Men like to demonstrate their abilities by being allowed to solve problems without interference; women like to demonstrate their feelings by being allowed to relate problems without interference.
When men do communicate, they like to get to the point, and generally only want to listen if they feel the conversation has a point; women enjoy talking for its own sake, and are happy to listen unconditionally.
Chapter 4: How to Motivate the Opposite Sex
A man's instinct is to look after himself, even if it means sacrificing others; a woman's instinct is to look after others, even if it means sacrificing herself. In a relationship, a man has to learn how to care for his partner rather than sacrificing her needs in favour of his own, and a woman has to learn how to be cared for by her partner rather than sacrificing her own needs in favour of his, so that the needs of both are met. If they do this successfully, both win, unlike their instinctive behaviours where one person gains from another’s loss. This has to be worked at, because if either partner feels their efforts towards the relationship are not being successful in pleasing their partner, they may feel hurt and decide to revert to their instinctive behaviour. Unfortunately this then causes the other partner to do the same, and the relationship unravels inexorably.
In a relationship, a man needs to feel that his attentions are needed, and a woman needs to feel that her needs are attended. To achieve this, a man has to express his desire to fulfil her needs and her worthiness to receive his care, and a woman has to express her desire for his care and his worthiness to fulfil her needs. Both must remember to appreciate, accept, and forgive the other, and avoid blaming them when they fail.
Chapter 5: Speaking Different Languages
Men talk in very literal terms for the purpose of relaying information; women employ artistic licence and dramatic vocabulary to fully express and relate their feelings.
Men like to sort their thoughts out before communicating them, and have the tendency to become distant and non-communicative as they ponder their concerns. At this time, a woman needs reassurance that her partner still rates her as worthy of being taken care of. Women like to sort their thoughts out in the process of communicating them, and have the tendency to pour forth a litany of general grievances as they relate their concerns. At this time, a man needs reassurance that his partner still rates him as worthy of taking care of things. Both must try to avoid feeling personally to blame when their partners are dealing with problems.
When a man is troubled, he does not want his partner to express concern for him, but loves to be told that the problem is easily within his abilities to rectify because of the implicit vote of confidence in his abilities. When a woman is troubled, she loves her partner to express concern for her, but does not want to be told that the problem is a simple one to solve because of the implicit dismissal of her concerns about the issue. A solution should be sought once her feelings have been fully listened to: too quick a solution justifies his abilities but devalues her concerns, too enduring a problem justifies her concerns but devalues his abilities.
Men feel validated and gratified when they are left to sort things out by themselves, and feel undermined by being offered sympathy or unsolicited assistance. Women feel validated and gratified by being offered sympathy or unsolicited assistance, and feel undermined when they are left to sort things out by themselves.
To accommodate their partners' responses, each should make small changes to their behaviours and communication towards the other, but without compromising their own true natures.
Chapter 6: Men Are Like Rubber Bands
Men periodically bolt for cover when they suddenly fear that their self-sufficiency is becoming threatened. At these times they may become utterly unapproachable, demanding the right to be left on their own and to be allowed not to express their feelings, but if given support by being afforded space for a little while, they will soon feel better and spring back into their usual loving selves once again. It can be hard for women to handle the suddenness and speed with which men bolt for cover, and then subsequently spring back.
At times when men retreat into themselves, they can assist their partners not to be overly concerned or take it personally by providing some brief reassurance that they will return in due course. Women should resist the temptation to try to drag their partners back prematurely or criticise them over this natural behaviour.
Chapter 7: Women Are Like Waves
Women periodically sink into a depression when they feel it is time for emotional cleansing and resolution. At these times they may become utterly negative in their outlook, dwelling on every problem which troubles them, including long-standing ones which will generally have been raised and addressed before, and if they cannot find any real issues to concentrate on, then they will find some random other things to worry about.
They suspend their normal giving natures, demanding the right to express their feelings and not to be left on their own, and if supported and allowed enough time to express and release their negative feelings, they will begin to feel happier again and return to their usual loving selves. The slowness in which they sink into depression and subsequently recover may be hard for men to handle.
At times when women sink into themselves, they can assist their partners not to be overly concerned or take it personally by providing some brief reassurance that it is not their partners’ fault. Men should resist the temptation to try to lift their partners back up prematurely or criticise them over this natural behaviour.
Men demand the right to be free from time to time; women demand the right to be heard from time to time. When a man feels free he finds it easier to support a woman’s need to be heard; when a woman feels heard she finds it easier to support a man’s need to be free.
If a man’s periodic need to be free coincides with a woman’s periodic need to be heard, the best solution is for the woman to make do with being heard by her friends instead.
Chapter 8: Discovering Our Different Emotional Needs
Men and women need to remember that the emotional needs of the opposite sex are not the same as their own. Providing our partners with the wrong type of emotional needs will not be greatly appreciated.
Deep inside every man is a knight in shining armour seeking a damsel in distress who will love him, and shower him with trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement. Deep inside every woman is a damsel in distress seeking a knight in shining armour who will love her, and shower her with caring, understanding, respect, devotion, validation, and reassurance. Men must listen attentively to women to understand their needs, avoiding getting angry or defensive; women must have faith in men's abilities and best efforts to fulfill their needs, avoiding trying to change or control them.
Chapter 9: How To Avoid Arguments
Communication between relationship partners should be loving and respectful; verbal attacks by contrast are highly destructive. It is often not so much what is said that causes the damage, but the tone of voice and body language which accompanies it.
Arguments thrive on men failing to pay sufficient attention to women’s feelings, and women being critically disapproving of men. Either one may be the initial trigger, because a man’s inattentiveness can cause a woman to get upset and express disapproval, and a woman’s disapproval can cause a man to get defensive and stop listening to how she is feeling.
When men make mistakes they become frustrated and angry, and are best left alone until they calm down. Men consider apologies to be admissions of guilt; women view apologies as expressions of compassion. This difference of perception is why men are generally much less willing to apologise than women.
When engaged in an argument, men use strong and aggressive words to ensure that they win the argument, and women are frequently forced to back down in the face of a totally determined and implacable opponent. Men then feel that they have won the argument, but it is a hollow victory as their partners have not changed their views, but merely buried them in order to avoid an ever-escalating conflict. Sometimes people prefer to evade arguments instead of engaging in them. Men tend to do so by withdrawing inside themselves and refusing to talk; women often just pretend that the disagreement has been forgotten. The resultant peace is a cold one, because the issues continue festering unresolved.
To stop communication degenerating into arguments, men should strive to listen without getting defensive, and women should try to express their feelings without criticising their partners.
Chapter 10: Scoring Points with the Opposite Sex
Men feel loved if their efforts at giving are appreciated; women feel loved according to what they receive. For women, loving someone means knowing and attending to their needs without waiting to be asked, and so a loved person should never have to ask for anything as their needs ought to be anticipated ahead of time. So women give unconditionally, and proactively seek ways to help others, whereas men only give when they feel that their efforts will be fairly appreciated and rewarded, and often will not know how or what to give without being specifically asked. Men often quickly suspend giving when feeling pleased about having done something; women may only suspend giving when feeling displeased with their partners for doing nothing.
Men value results; for women it’s the thought that counts. Consequently, men value big things much more than do women, who feel more appreciated by receiving lots of little gifts instead. A woman may consider a bunch of flowers to be just as good a proof of love as an entire month of hard work towards paying the bills.
If men and women do not take account of these different perspectives, they may fail to give their partners what they actually want. When this occurs, the man will frequently suspend giving as he feels he is not receiving enough reward back for what he has given, but the woman will continue to give unconditionally even though she feels she is giving more and has started to feel unloved, unappreciated and resentful.
Men should try to identify various little ways to give to their partners without waiting to be asked first, and should avoid the mistake of assuming their partners to be happy giving and not asking for anything back. Women should be careful not to give a false impression to their partners of being happy when they are not, and if they begin to feel resentful they should gently reduce their giving, learn to ask for things back, and be sure to keep expressing lots of appreciation of their partners’ efforts so as to encourage them to give more. Men should try to listen lovingly and respectfully to women’s feelings, women should try to express their feelings in a loving and respectful manner. If men give, and women appreciate, both end up feeling happy.
Chapter 11: How to Communicate Difficult Feelings
Unresolved negative feelings can cause us to act in ways we really don’t want to, or become manifest in all kinds of compulsive or addictive behaviours. Avoiding our negative feelings doesn’t make them go away, but compassionately embracing them can heal them and enable us to start loving again. By acting as loving parents to our own inner child, we finally allow our repressed feelings to be fully expressed and released.
To ease the pain and win love, men often obsessively seek success, and women obsessively seek perfection. Men may use anger, ego, or oblivion (such as burying themselves in their work) to avoid vulnerable feelings of pain or fear; women may lapse into depression or confusion to avoid having aggressive feelings of anger.
Constructive communication is a learned skill, and many of us must first unlearn the paradigm of negative communication and repression of feelings which we experienced during childhood. Communication works best if it presents the full picture, so that the root of the problem is revealed rather than just the symptoms.
Writing our feelings down is excellent for expressing our negative emotions (anger, pain, fear, and regret) in a controlled manner, rather than letting them explode at our partners in the heat of the moment. Having done so, we can get back in touch with our loving feelings, and are then in a much better state to explain to our partners what we are feeling, and what they can do to help us feel better. It is important to communicate such feelings in a loving atmosphere because we may need to feel securely loved while communicating such intimate and revealing feelings, and our partners may need the same if some of those feelings will be painful to hear, or could be taken personally. At times it is worth discussing them with friends or counselors first.
Chapter 12: How to Ask for Support and Get It
Men love to do things which are appreciated, and hate to do things which are demanded. Criticising him or giving excessive instructions will make him feel more like a slave than a loved and trusted partner.
Men love to prove their worth through the things they do, but they generally wait to be asked, and take a long time to learn to offer their services unsolicited. Women should therefore control their expectations of men being able to anticipate their needs, ask for help without making it sound like a demand because they resent the need to do so, and appreciate the help they receive even though it needed to be requested first.
Women should avoid requesting help from a man in a way which either doesn’t sound like a clear request, or carries implicit criticism that he should have already done it. Questions which begin with the words ‘Could you’ or ‘Can you’ are often interpreted by men as questioning their abilities, and they therefore respond more positively to the same questions if they begin instead with ‘Would you’ or ‘Will you’. The difference may seem tiny, but it can feel as different as the man saying ‘No I can’t’ or ‘No I won’t’ in response to the request.
It is best to allow a man the freedom to do things in a way and at a time that works for him. If a man is busy doing something and a woman needs his help on something else, she should feel free to ask him for help, but be prepared for him to request to defer it or even to refuse it; if requests always require positive answers, they are really demands, and men will sense the difference. If a man grumbles about a request then he is actually considering it, and the best approach is to simply wait for him to come to a decision without saying anything further, and aim to accept the outcome graciously.
Chapter 13: Keeping the Magic of Love Alive
In relationships, unresolved negative feelings can pop up without warning, and we suddenly become upset, or sensitive, or distant. When this happens to our partners we should encourage them to work through it, accepting that it may take some time and that they may need support from outside as well as from ourselves, and do our best to control any impatience or resentments we may feel towards them during these times.
Love inevitably changes over time: the pristine bliss we feel when we first fall in love doesn’t last forever, and over time our personal faults and negative baggage inevitably become exposed. But if we stick tight through the ups and downs of life and each other, then our initial bliss gradually changes into a mature form of love which can become stronger and fuller with every passing year.

domingo, 5 de junho de 2011

Who Moved My Cheese?

"Who Moved My Cheese?" is a story all about change and what it can do for us.

The cheese = what we want in life: money, power, a family, health, success, spiritual peace, relationship, hobby, etc.
The maze = the place where you spend time going after what you want - the "cheese".

It's a metaphorical story which opens our eyes to the many important principles concerning personal change. As I read this short story I pictured the "cheese" as being my work and job as an English teacher since that is pretty much my main focus in this phase of my life - though of course I am aware that not everybody's "cheese" is their job and work.
The first thing which caught my attention in this book was the realization that what we truly consider important in our lives is what we most hold on to and yet at the same time take for granted. This might sound like a contradiction but it's not. Take your family for instance: We all want a good relationship with them and so we create strong ties towards them still all the while taking them completely for granted.
We also tend to tie ourselves down to what is the safe and secure thing to do. We don't want to risk getting out of our comfort zone and so we build barriers thinking that that will protect us and maintain things as they always were. By doing this we go on to blurring our vision of what is actually taking place all around us to the point that we end up completely blinding ourselves to the outside world - what isn't in our "safe zone" parameters. But one bright sunny day, change walks up to our door - and who says it'll knock and ask politely if it may enter?!
Nope! The truth being that we have been getting constant warnings and signs but how could we have seen that if we've this whole time been blinding our vision? That’s just not a possibility anymore!
"What would you do if you weren't afraid?" This little eight word question slapped me straight in the face when I read it! That's the question we should ask ourselves when we've awakened to find ourselves wanting to kick off self-indulgence and the standpoint that we see ourselves in. This question makes you think and search deep inside so that you can find the answers to muster up the courage to launch out forward and into the unknown.
A quote that has stayed with me since my childhood reads the following: "There is no standing still. You are either going forward or backwards. There is no in between."
The reason for this is that the world doesn't stop for you. People won't stop for you. Nothing stops for you! Life is all about change and transformation. The fact that things always are changing is the only one thing we can be certain will never change - it's an old vicious cycle. Yes, the one thing we can always be sure to have in life is change!
How to deal with this constant change in our lives? Here are some thoughts which I extracted from this book to help me desire change and deal with it a little better:

  • The sooner we leave our comfort zone the quicker we adapt to change.
  • We need to take control instead of simply letting things just happen.
  • Change won't take us by surprise if we are watching, waiting and anticipating it. Change can only surprise us if we don't expect it and aren't looking for it.
  • Sometimes fear can be good. When you are afraid of things are going to get worse if you don't do something it can prompt you into action. It's not good when it keeps you from doing something, when it paralyzes you.
  • Moving along makes you feel great! We have to let go of the past to adapt to the present.
  • You start to change as soon as you learn to laugh at yourself and at what you are doing wrong. Reflect on the mistakes you have made in the past and use them to plan for the future.
  • Envision yourself in realistic detail finding something better - something much better - and that will make a whole big of a difference. 
  • Many times we are held captive by our fear as we think that a change will only lead to something worse. But the truth is that what we are afraid of is never as bad as what we imagine it to be. The fear that we let build up in our minds is worse than the situation that actually exists.
  • New beliefs encourage new behaviors. When you change what you believe you change what you do.
  • Sometimes we need to let go of people that are holding us back. No matter how hard that may seem in the beginning if we do so we might even have a chance to help them later on once we've helped ourselves.
  • It's safer to be aware of our real choices than to isolate ourselves in our comfort zone.
  • The biggest inhibitor to change lies within us. 
  • Enjoy Change!!!
Wikipedia on "Who Moved My Cheese?”

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, published in 1998, is a motivational book by Spencer Johnson written in the style of a parable or business fable. It describes change in one's work and life, and four typical reactions to said change by two mice and two "littlepeople", during their hunt for cheese. A New York Times business bestseller since release, Who Moved My Cheese? remained on the list for almost five years and spent over 200 weeks on Publishers Weekly's hardcover nonfiction list.[1]
AllegoricallyWho Moved My Cheese? features four characters: two mice, "Sniff" and "Scurry," and two littlepeople, miniature humans in essence, "Hem" and "Haw." They live in a maze, a representation of one's environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at "Cheese Station C". Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.
One day Sniff and Scurry arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left, but they are not surprised. Noticing the cheese supply dwindling, they have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese. Leaving Cheese Station C behind, they begin their hunt for new cheese together. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, "Who moved my cheese?" The humans have counted on the cheese supply to be constant, and so are unprepared for this eventuality. After deciding that the cheese is indeed gone they get angry at the unfairness of the situation and both go home starved. Returning the next day, Hem and Haw find the same cheeseless place. Starting to realize the situation at hand, Haw thinks of a search for new cheese. But Hem is dead set in his victimized mindset and nixes the proposal.
Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry have found "Cheese Station N", new cheese. Back at Cheese Station C, Hem and Haw are affected by their lack of cheese and blame each other for their problem. Hoping to change, Haw again proposes a search for new cheese. However, Hem is comforted by his old routine and is frightened about the unknown. He knocks the idea again. After a while of being in denial, the humans remain without cheese. One day, having discovered his debilitating fears, Haw begins to chuckle at the situation and stops taking himself so seriously. Realizing he should simply move on, Haw enters the maze, but not before chiseling "If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct" on the wall of Cheese Station C for his friend to ponder.
Still fearful of his trek, Haw jots "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?" on the wall and, after thinking about that, he begins his venture. Still plagued with worry (perhaps he has waited too long to begin his search...), Haw finds some bits of cheese that nourishes him and he is able to continue his search. Haw realizes that the cheese has not suddenly vanished, but has dwindled from continual eating. After a stop at an empty cheese station, Haw begins worrying about the unknown again. Brushing aside his fears, Haw's new mindset allows him to again enjoy life. He has even begun to smile again! He is realizing that "When you move beyond your fear, you feel free." After another empty cheese station, Haw decides to go back for Hem with the few bits of new cheese he has managed to find.
Uncompromising, Hem refuses the new cheese, to his friend's disappointment. With knowledge learned along the way, Haw heads back into the maze. Getting deeper into the maze, inspired by bits of new cheese here and there, Haw leaves a trail of writings on the wall ("The Handwriting On the Wall"). These clarify his own thinking and give him hope that his friend will find aid in them during his search for new cheese. Still traveling, Haw one day comes across Cheese Station N, abundant with cheese, including some varieties that are strange to him, and he realizes he has found what he is looking for. After eating, Haw reflects on his experience. He ponders a return to see his old friend. But Haw decides to let Hem find his own way. Finding the largest wall in Cheese Station N, he writes:
Change Happens
They Keep Moving The Cheese
Anticipate Change
Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
Monitor Change
Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
Adapt To Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
Move With The Cheese

Enjoy Change!
Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
They Keep Moving The Cheese.
Cautious from past experience, Haw now inspects Cheese Station N daily and explores different parts of the maze regularly to prevent any complacency from setting in. After hearing movement in the maze one day, Haw realizes someone is approaching the station. Unsure, Haw hopes that it is his friend Hem who has found the way.