Who Moved My Cheese?

A summary and a book review

Who Moved My Cheese was published in 1998.  A parable written by Spencer Johnson which describes change in one’s work and life. Who Moved My Cheese? was included in the New York Times business bestseller since release and remained on the list for almost five years and spent over 200 weeks on Publishers Weekly’s hardcover nonfiction list.

When Change Happens

One of the constant things in life is CHANGE.  Each day brings a new life and a different experience for us.  But our daily routine task, from the time we wake up until the time we lay down in bed again, creates a cycle that leads us to comfort.  Such comfort creates lax and negligence in our character that make us forget that life is constantly changing.  Then when change happens, we stress out, react, complain and be beaten up.

Even if it’s hard to admit it, at work, home and in the community we live in, we were taught to believe in following rules and sets of standards that being curious and creating change is not acceptable.  That being obedient, doing what is told and what is “right”, is the key to success and happiness in life.  The attitude of obedience and resistance to change is brought by many in their professional and personal journey in life.  That’s why it is hard for majority to handle and accept change.

Upon experiencing change, our initial reaction is to resist it.  Either because we are afraid to lose the comfort of what we currently have or the fear of the unknown or be blamed when things go wrong.

The Fable of Change

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths about change. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a 'Maze' and look for 'Cheese' to nourish them and make them happy. Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two are little people' - beings the size of mice who look and act a lot like people. Their names are Hem and Haw. 'Cheese' is a metaphor for what you want to have in life - whether it's a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, good health, or spiritual peace of mind. And 'The Maze' is where you look for what you want - the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in.

In the story, the Cheese one day was gone. The mice just started looking for new cheese. But the little people became angry and shouted and demanded the cheese be returned. This went on for a few days until Haw realized that complaining about the missing cheese and then do nothing was not helping him. So he left Hem and ran out into the maze.

As Haw ran around the maze he wrote what he learnt on the walls of the maze. First he wrote, “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct” Still fearful of his new quest, Haw wrote “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” In his journey he realized and wrote down “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” Then one day, Haw finally found Cheese Station N and realized it was better and tastier than Cheese Station C.  Wanting to remember everything he learnt, he wrote to the largest wall in Cheese Station N the following Six (6) Important Lessons on Change:

1. Change Happens.  They Keep Moving The Cheese

2. Anticipate ChangeGet Ready For The Cheese To Move

3. Monitor Change. Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old.

4. Adapt To Change Quickly. The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese.

5. Change. Move With The Cheese

6. Enjoy Change. Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese


My Experience after reading Who Moved My Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese helped me a lot in coping with various changes in my life. Before reading this book changes affected me greatly because I resisted and became angry. But after reading Who Moved My Cheese, it gave me a lot of new insight on why change is good and how it can lead me to much better things. Now as I look back, I can say I’m really happy to the Changes that changed my life. Who Moved My Cheese? has helped me to Embrace Change as Positive and Helped me live life fully.

If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct I learnt this again during our last Packaging Seminar 2011 where Mr Adam Khoo shared that if we avoid change, we will be extinct. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, nothing but our imagination. So “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” I used this to overcome my Fear of Heights. I used to fear even climbing a small ladder becoming dizzy. But after learning this, I overcame my fear in 2007 and climbed a scaffolding that is 3-storey high. “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” This is so true, once I overcame my F.E.A.R.s, I was truly free. 2010 stocktaking, I got onto a pallet and was hoisted up to the top of the CWT racks and did my stocktaking while on the forklift, I felt free that I had freed myself from my fear of heights till today.

I am grateful to learn about the Joy of Change. I now embrace change and know that you can too. You too can create that change in your life. Isn’t it time for you to be free your fears? Wouldn’t you like to be happier? Once I learned the 6 Important Lessons on Change, it changed me.

Who Moved My Cheese changed my life, now it can change yours.

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