Spencer Johnson’s ‘Who Moved My Cheese?‘ is a simple parable that portrays four characters and their different approaches to coping with unexpected change. It will be useful for anyone who is currently facing change, and people who want to be prepared for changes they will face in the future.
In a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better.Spencer Johnson
Why I wanted to read Who moved my cheese?
This is the second time I’ve read this book. The first time was after my Mum recommended this book. I don’t think I appreciated the basic format and simple story. I just didn’t “get” it. It is on the reading list for a leadership course I’m doing which encouraged me to re-read it. I thought as it is such a popular book I must have missed something, and it was worth giving it another go.
Who moved my cheese summary
There are four characters who live in a maze; two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two little people called Hem and Haw. Cheese is a metaphor for what they want most in life, so they are all searching for it. Life is wonderful when they find a cheese station with new cheese every day. But things change and the cheese reduces until it is gone. How will the different characters deal with the empty cheese station?
Very simply, the book tells us we can choose the best way to deal with change, once we accept that change is going to happen. I wonder if I’m more open to the book this time because I’ve been through a lot of change and some difficult times.
The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.Spencer Johnson
The key points I’m taking away from the book are:
- as we know we’ll go through change it is sensible for us to learn how to adapt and make the most of the opportunities, happiness and success that could follow.
- we don’t need to be afraid of change, the outcome is never as bad as we imagine it will be and in fact could be better than staying with the status quo.
- if the change is going to happen anyway, it is kinder to ourselves, and we enjoy less stress by getting on board with it quickly
- a reminder that our thoughts guide our actions, so by changing what we believe, we’ll change the actions we choose to do.
What I’ve changed
I keep thinking about the character Sniff who preempts change and pro-actively looks for cheese. I keep wondering should I be doing more to let go of old cheese? Should I be trying to find new cheese? Am I already stuck at cheese station C while a change comes?
I don’t want to become worried all the time that my cheese is moved. Instead, I want to know that I can and want to change when things change around me. That belief, will help me adapt quicker when I need to enter the maze looking for cheese.
Should you read Who Moved my Cheese?
The power of this book is in its simplicity and brevity. The simplicity means you can read the story in one sitting and still get the key messages. The messages are shown written into images of cheese, so they are easy to find even just flicking through the book. Of course, it is harder to implement what you learn as it involves changing your thoughts and behaviours. This is where the brevity helps. You can quickly reread the book each time you are facing change as a refresher on the mindset you want to choose to have.
However, you need to be open to the message. This is the second time I’ve read the book. The first time I thought it was cute, but I didn’t really get it. I certainly didn’t think I could learn from it (probably showing me similar to Hem).
I recommend Who moved my cheese to anyone who wants to learn or be reminded that there are positives in change. I plan to reread the core story section of the book regularly for that reason.
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