“Who Moved My Cheese?” is an insightful, interesting, creative and life-changing book by Dr. Spencer Johnson. It was one of the first five books that we read in my book club. The book is an amazing way to deal with change, both at work and in life. I must say, after reading, it did spark a change in me. It is a classic short read, filled with a lot of important lessons and with 95 pages, it can be read in one sitting. I like how the author used a story about four characters (two mice and two Little people) living in a maze to illustrate how to deal with unexpected change. My sister reminded me about it a few days ago, so I decided to blog about it.
Brief summary of the story
The book is a parable about change where the author takes us through a journey of four characters; Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw. All four characters are searching, finding, losing, and rediscovering their cheese in a large twisted maze.
Cheese in this book is a metaphor for what we want in life. Things like a fantastic job, a loving relationship, money or possessions. The maze is the environment we live in, such as our workplace, our friends, family. The book makes every reader see that no cheese is everlasting and life changes, whether we love it or not. How would you react if your cheese was moved? especially when it comes unexpectedly. These are questions that the book answers using the four characters.
The book mitigates change in such a relatable manner that you can read it in one sitting and walk away with a wealth of knowledge that will forever alter the way you live your life. It certainly changed mine. Here are five amazing lessons I learnt from Dr. Johnson’s book.
1. Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old
Anticipate change and monitor it closely. In life, we often get stuck in the present and forget that every second counts. We tend to get comfortable with our present situation and operate in fear of the unknown. Let’s adapt the mindset to always moving forward and being in the know.
2. The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese
In this ever-changing and dynamic world, there is always something new. The world keeps evolving and to stay alive we have to evolve with it. The longer you wait, the more resistance you build to moving, and the harder it will be to adapt later. When things change, it is best to move forward as well.
3. When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.
The best way to move on from your fears is to handle them. Look fear in the face and tackle it. In the story: Haw feared not finding new cheese if he ventured out into new areas of the maze. But he also realised he definitely wouldn’t find any by staying put. He asked himself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
4. Imagining yourself with new cheese leads you to it
Picture your future. Imagine what success looks like and imagine yourself succeeding. In the story, Haw first imagined Sniff and Scurry enjoying new cheese, then he imagined himself, in realistic detail, sitting in his own pile of all kinds of new cheeses. This vision motivated him to keep pushing forward to find new cheese.
5. Move with the cheese and enjoy it
Change and then learn to enjoy the change: New experiences, discoveries, and achievements are rewarding. In the story, once Haw started searching for new cheese, he realised he felt better just from taking action, and he soon began to enjoy the adventure. The key to enjoying change for Haw was that he had changed, first his attitude, and then his behaviour.
The very core message of the book is this: things constantly change so we must adapt. The quicker we adapt a change the more satisfied we will be with.