“Who moved my cheese?” is a story about a transformation that takes place in a Maze where four characters hunt for “Cheese,” with cheese functioning as a metaphor for what we desire out of life.
The two mice described in the narrative are given the names “Sniff” and “Scurry,” while the two Little people are “Hem” and “Haw.” These four fictional characters are meant to symbolize both the straightforward and the intricate aspects of our personalities.
Regardless of whatever aspects of ourselves we decide to utilize, we all have one thing in common: the need to navigate the Maze and achieve success under ever-evolving circumstances.
Book Title— Who Moved My Cheese?
Author— Spencer Johnson
Date of Reading— October 2022
Table of Contents
What Is Being Said In Detail
A reunion brings together a group of old friends. They talk about their lives up to this point, including the problems they’ve had at work and at home and how they’ve solved them. He talks about how his business was about to fail until he heard a story that changed his mind and helped him turn things around for the better. He then goes on to tell the story:
A long time ago, in a land far, far away, two mice and two very small people lived together in a big maze. At first, everyone is very committed to their work. They had to get up very early every morning and work hard to get the cheese. The mice Sniff and Scurry find a lot of this cheese all at once one day. Not far away, Hem and Haw, the “Little people,” also find a lot of “Cheese,” which, in their context, means riches or the things that people want in life. Everyone sits down to eat, or, to put it another way, to enjoy the “good things” in their lives.
While the humans put their shoes away, put on slippers, and just enjoy their mountain of cheese, the mice leave their running shoes near the station and go there every day to see if anything has changed. Like if the cheese has gone bad or if there isn’t enough of it. This means that people don’t care at all that their wealth, or “cheese,” might run out one day.
And one day, there was no more cheese. Sniff and Scurry, the mice, look around the room for more, but they can’t find any. This makes them feel more and more frustrated. Sniff and Scurry decided to go back into the maze to look for more cheese.
They get ready to go by putting on their running shoes and looking at Hem and Haw to see if they are going to follow them. When they tried to follow them, Hem and Haw waved them off and said they’d stay in the room all night in the hopes that the cheese would come back in the morning. Sniff and Scurry went to look around the rest of the maze for more cheese. When Sniff smells a new food source, he runs to the place right away. They find a lot of cheese quickly and start eating it as soon as they find it.
Hem and Haw, on the other hand, still go to the empty room every day, hoping to find some fresh cheese. They can’t believe that their easy way of life is over. Hem is angry and thinks that the “cheese” was moved by someone else. He keeps asking himself, “How can they treat us like this?” “Where’s the cheese?” “How could they do that to us?” …et cetera. Hem thinks they should wait for “the others” to give them back their cheese because they have a right to it. In this way, Hem points the finger at things outside of himself. Also, they haven’t eaten in days, so they are getting very weak.
Haw isn’t as sure, so he wants to know if they should look for cheese in a different place or if Sniff and Scurry have already found some. Hem, on the other hand, is set in his ways and doesn’t want to go.
After going hungry for a few days and realizing that the Cheese won’t magically come back, Haw decides to go into the Maze by himself, even though he is scared and is all by himself.
Haw soon finds little pieces of cheese hidden in different places. Even though he is worried and confused, he knows that the hunt is an exciting adventure and in no way bad.
Haw realized that if he had paid close attention when there was still a lot of cheese, he would have seen that it was getting smaller and that it didn’t taste as good after a while. He would have been able to keep the cheese from going bad after that. Even though Haw couldn’t find a big, fresh cheese at the time, he was happy with his decision to leave that empty room. After deciding to do something, he felt more energized and in charge. Whenever he had doubts, he would picture himself getting the biggest cheese in the world, which gave him the motivation to keep going.
As Haw has new ideas, he writes them on the walls of the maze. He does this in the hopes that Hem will one day find his way out of the maze and use the notes as he travels. One day, Haw comes across a huge stash of cheese in the same place where Sniff and Scurry live. Haw is very happy and quickly gets comfortable, but he keeps his running shoes close by in case this batch of cheese runs out. Haw also checks the cheese station every day, looking for signs of moldy cheese or anything else that might mean something is about to go wrong. He thought about finding Hem and bringing him there to try the new cheese, but in the end, he decided that Hem should make his own choice. He had left him enough tracks to follow “if” he wanted to get out of that situation. Haw also realized that he could have found the new cheese faster if he had walked out into the maze earlier. Still, he told himself, “Better late than never!”
When the students hear this story, they talk about how it might apply to their own lives. Michael is glad they liked the story and hopes they will tell other people about it.
Here are some of the most important points from the book.
Accept the change and welcome it.
Change is the only thing that never changes in this world. Whether it’s your job or your business, things will change over time, and you have to change with them. If you don’t, you’ll end up like Hem in the story and lose your cheese. Customers stopped buying from people and businesses that didn’t change with the times. Nokia or Blockbuster are two companies that did this well.
Faced with difficult changes, look for new chances to grow as a person.
When cheese was no longer available, Hem and Haw had to deal with the change. They responded by blaming each other and not doing anything to make things better. Instead, they could have done something that was in their control. In the same way, as things change, we need to keep looking for new ways and opportunities to broaden our views.
Conquer your fears.
You might decide to stay where you are out of fear, like Haw did. But your anxiety will go away once you start picturing all the good things that will happen if you accept change. Remember what Haw said when he asked, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Haw realizes that he was wrong to be afraid of going outside to get more cheese. He had let his fear grow, but things weren’t really that bad. He has problems in the maze, but he realizes that he’s happier being in charge of his life than being a victim of it. He keeps going because he keeps picturing himself eating new cheese. Seeing your goals in your mind is one way to get over this fear, which is what Haw did. Make a picture of the future that makes you want it to be better. Once you start, change might not be so bad.
Always keep an eye out.
Like Sniff and Scurry, there are some people who are always aware of how things are changing around them. These are the people who notice the change sooner, adjust to it, and then get the most out of it. You have to do what they do. Keep an eye out for changes that will happen in the next six to ten years. Get better by learning new skills and moving in the right direction.
It’s better to accept change than to try to stop it.
Most people think that change is bad and should be avoided at all costs. They always think about the past. There are times when it’s good to move forward. In fact, the technological advances we take for granted today are the direct result of new things that have happened over time. When you realize that change is necessary and have a positive attitude about it, you will be able to enjoy the process of change.
The only thing that stays the same is change, which you can’t stop. It will take place. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Some people just sit back, blame God, and feel sorry for themselves. Some people refuse to change no matter what. But there are also people who are always ready, willing, and able to get back on their feet and make the best of things. In the story, the cheese is found, moved, and then found again. Even if the changes aren’t for the better, we can still get our cheese by changing our habits, facing them head-on, and doing everything we can to break through the mental barriers that keep us from accepting them and becoming more proactive people.
Most Important Keywords, Sentences, Quotes
“See what you’re doing wrong, laugh at it, change and do better.”
“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”
“If you do not change, you can become extinct.”
“It is safer to search in the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation.”
“Being in the uncomfortable zone is much better than staying in the cheese-less situation.”
“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.”
“It all depends on what you choose to believe.”
“The fastest way to change is to laugh at your own folly.”
“Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.”
“Some people never change and they pay a price for it.”
“When you change what you believe, you change what you do.”
“Haw was beginning to realize the difference between activity and productivity.”
“The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”
“You did not need to overcomplicate matters or confuse yourself with fearful beliefs.”
“I guess we resist changing because we’re afraid of change.”
“Repeating the same behavior will just get you the same results.”
“A change could surprise you only if you didn’t expect it and weren’t looking for it.”
“They didn’t notice they needed to change what had once been working.”
“Better late than never.”
Book Review (Personal Opinion):
The book tells the story of two mice and the trouble they get into when the cheese stops showing up in the usual place. Soon, the mice are hungry, so they talk about what to do with their cheese. Like the rest of us, they have different ideas about the pros and cons of each possible solution and different levels of comfort with the risks that come with each. They decide to handle the problem in different ways. One decides to wait until the daily cheese is back where it usually is, and the other decides to look for more cheese in other places. This is how the book shows how to deal with the things that will always happen in life, not just for the hungry mice but for all of us.
Not everyone likes change, and this book is written just for those people. I think this short, easy-to-read book is a great way for people going through change to learn about the different paths they can take, how to look at things from different points of view, and it may even give a gentle but much-needed attitude adjustment. This will help anyone who has to go through an unwelcome change, especially if it’s something they don’t want to do, learn to accept it. It also brings up the old saying that you should see change as an opportunity.
Even if it doesn’t completely change your life, this book is a great way to get you out of your comfort zone and into new, exciting opportunities that you have been missing out on.
If You Want To Learn More
Here is a funny animation of the book on “Who moved my Cheese The Movie by Dr. Spencer Johnson”
How I’ve Implemented The Ideas From The Book
After finishing this book, I stopped blaming myself for situations that were beyond my control and instead concentrated on the actions I could do to go closer to achieving my objectives. It is really simple to assume the position of the victim. I started pushing myself much further, breaking through my own barriers while maintaining the mindset that any change that occurs will, in the end, make me stronger.
One Small Actionable Step You Can Do
Put an end to focusing on the negative aspects of your life and try instead to examine it objectively. Consider the things you’d like to accomplish in the future. At this precise time, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. Put an end to making excuses and looking back with regret on things that we have or could have had. Our life begins in this very moment.