Change is inevitable, and everyone knows this, but people hate change. People get used to their lives, develop habits and become complacent such that very little change can cause lots of fear. So how do you deal with change? The book Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson addresses the issue of change.
It is important to notice that change will always happen but when you have the right attitude towards it, enjoy it, and adapt to it quickly, the quicker you can enjoy your new found cheese. This Who Moved My Cheese summary will highlight the essential lessons from the book and the summary of the parable used.
The book is written as a parable that features two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two little people named Hem and Haw. They all live in a maze. They all live on their favorite food which is cheese. One day they found a lot of cheese in one spot which looked like it could last them for a lifetime. The little men Hem and Haw move to live close to their source of favorite food because as humans they think they are superior.
The mice have a very simple strategy to get to the source of food. They move along the maze until they find cheese. So they continue to feed on the cheese, but the humans get complacent and do not realize that the cheese is running out. Finally one day it all runs out, and when they get out and find none they shout “Who Moved My Cheese!”
The story now takes another turn after the cheese runs out. The mice have to move on, sniffing and moving through the maze to find their food. The mice were always vigilant and had anticipated that the cheese would eventually run out. Scurry and Sniff therefore accept the loss of the cheese and move on to find more.
The little people, however, have built their lives around the cheese. It becomes hard for them to let go and they keep clinging on to the gone cheese. This means that they have to starve until they accept that the cheese is gone and move on to find more. There are instances when this can happen in your life. You might lose your job or your relationship and feel like it is the end of the world for you. However, clinging on and not adapting to the change will only cause more damage.
Instead of seeing change as the end of something you have to see it as the start of something new. This seems so simple, but it is not that easy to implement. The little humans start to blame each other for their problems. They try to use tools to look behind the walls and floors to see if the cheese is hidden there. Waiting also doesn’t bring any cheese to them.
Haw decides to explore the maze for more cheese, and as he continues, he starts to find bits and pieces of cheese. He takes the cheese back to Hem who refuses to eat it because it is not like the old cheese he is used to. In the meantime, Hem is still using complicated tools to drill through the walls trying to find the cheese. Haw keeps exploring the maze finding little bits of cheese that are barely enough to sustain him.
He pushes on learning many life lessons and writing some on the wall. Finally, he finds a place deep inside the maze that has lots of cheese and there he finds Sniff and Scurry who had arrived long before he did.
Haw writes the following life lessons that he learns along the way;
- Change happens
- Anticipate the change
- Monitor change
- Adapt to change quickly
- Agree to change
- Enjoy change
- Change will be constant
Haw doesn’t take any of the cheese to Hem because he realizes that Hem has to change on his own. He, therefore, waits for Hem to find his own way.
The cheese in this parable represents anything that you deem important in your life. This could be success, a good job, business, money, fame, achievements, or a relationship. If you do not change as Hay indicates you might become extinct. It is therefore essential to learn how to thrive in change. You do not have to wait for something to change so you can change yourself.
The best type of change comes from within. For instance, if you notice that you are in employment just for the job security, but you really love being an entrepreneur, it is best to start instituting change that can take you to your cheese before the other runs out.
What I Like About the Book
This book is written as a parable but one that is quite easy to understand. The writing is also pretty easy, but the message remains profound and consequential. Who moved my cheese addresses something that people are faced with daily- Change.
This book is therefore very relatable to most and can be used to meet those difficult moments when you feel uncertain about what is coming. It is an excellent read with all the lessons made obvious for you, so you do not miss them.
Why You Should Read the Book
You should read this book if you are going through a certain transformational change in your life. Change can be unsettling and if you are not able to handle and cope with it well it can make your life miserable. In life, you can become so used to regular routines and habits that you think you are entitled to whatever it is that you have.
You take things for granted and therefore when change comes you are fearful of what is out there beyond what you have been used to. Who Moved My Cheese will remind you that it was not your cheese in the first place and just like you found that cheese you can still find more if you conquer the fear for change.