There was a book lying on my college library from a long time and that was “Who moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson. I always heard that it’s a great book. Two years back, I sneaked out of a boring class and went to library, I took this book. It took me only 1 day to complete this book and I must confess that it’s a very good book. It’s a small story that will make you think about your present situation.
A group of old school friends is gathered for dinner and the topic of conversation gets on to change – in career, relationships and family life. One of those present contends that change no longer bothers him after having heard ‘a funny little story’ called Who Moved My Cheese? In this artful way, Spencer Johnson introduces the reader to his fable on how to cope positively with change.
The story involves four characters who live in a maze, the mice Scurry and Sniff, and two little people, Hem and Haw. All is going well because they have found a huge source of their favorite food, cheese. Hem and Haw have even moved their houses to be near it and it has becomes the center of their lives. But they do not notice that it is getting smaller, and are devastated when they arrive at the site one morning and find the cheese is gone.
This is where the story splits in two. Scurry and Sniff quickly accept the loss of the cheese and go off into the maze in search of other sources. The little people, because they have built their lives around the big cheese, feel they are the victim of some kind of fraud or theft. Yet this only makes things worse, as their clinging on ensures that they go hungry. Meanwhile, the mice move on and find new cheese.
The cheese in this story can be related to many things in your life like work, money, family, knowledge etc.
The fable captures well that moment after we have lost a job or a relationship and we believe it is the end of the world. All the good things were in the previous situation, and all the future holds is fear. Yet Johnson’s message is, instead of seeing change as the end of something, we must learn to see it as a beginning. We have all been told this, but sometimes motivation is lacking. To make himself accept reality, Haw writes this on the wall of the maze: “If you do not change, you can become extinct.”
I am listing down a list of phrases taken directly from the book that are really thought provocative.
Having Cheese makes you happy – Being knowledgeable and intelligent makes us happy
The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it – When you think that you have a lot of knowledge on one subject you tend to hold onto it a lot more and don’t share with anyone.
If you don’t change, you can become extinct – If you don’t upgrade your knowledge you will become outdated
Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old – Check continuously whether you are upgrading your knowledge level on a regular basis before it gets outdated.
Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese – Exploring and learning new things will make you move to more distant places in your work life.
When you move beyond your fear, you feel free – When you break the barrier that stops you from learning you feel happy.
Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it – The thought of being more knowledgeable, than the others around you, after you learn more helps you to drive yourself in the direction of excellence.
The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese – The sooner you realize that your knowledge or your job is outdated the better it is.
It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheese less situation – It’s better to search for more information and more knowledge if you want to grow rather than cribbing at one place continuously and expecting promotions in your job.
Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese – Doing same things again and again gives you same results but when you want to achieve greater results you need to do different things or do things differently.
When you can find and enjoy new cheese, you can change course – Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that to come
Move with the cheese and enjoy it – Change along with time and you will enjoy life
There are few more things that are inevitable and we must accept it as it is to grow, to learn and be happy.
Change Happens – they keep moving the cheese
Anticipate change – get ready for the cheese to move
Monitor change – Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old
Adapt to change quickly – The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.
Change – Move with the cheese.
Enjoy change! – savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese.
Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again – they keep moving the cheese
There is a lot more story in the book that will make you think about what you are doing now and whether it is the time to change or not.
P.S: When I thought of start writing about books I read, this book came first in my mind as it was the first book to complete since I joined college.
P.P.S: I read this when I was down with a lot of tensions and Needless to say it didn’t help me as I thought it would ;p but I still feel it worth a read.