who moved my cheese

Who Moved My Cheese? (1998) by Spencer Johnson


I have always liked to be accompanied by a book on any trip. During my last trip to Egypt, my book was “Who Moved my Cheese.”

This is a fictitious story of motivation management. The main purpose of the book is to simplify one’s life. It addresses change in all aspects of our lives. It presents an amazing way to deal with change, both at work and at home.

The story is about four characters who live in a maze– two mice and two little people. They found a good source of their favorite food, CHEESE. Two of them have even moved their houses to be near to it, making the cheese the center of their lives. What they fail to noticed is that, over time the cheese is getting smaller, and smaller. One morning, they arrive at the site and find that the source of their food is gone! The 2 mice quickly accept the loss and go off into the maze in search of other sources. However, the little people respond differently. They have built their lives around the big cheese. They feel like they are victims of some kind of theft. They keep looking for an explanation, until they are starved. Meanwhile, the mice move on and find new cheese.

Letting go of what we know is always hard, yet essential for growth and improvement. When you change what you believe, you can change what you do. In this short story the author introduces the reader to an artful way of positively coping with change.
The cheese in the book represents both happiness and success. While you are reading about it, one idea stands out: In order to be successful in life, you have to keep moving. The reason that most people are merely ordinary is because they just want to keep their salaries, their house, and their families under a set ceiling of security. Most of the day they do not really have to think; they just complete tasks. However, such dependence restricts their growth. So much so, in fact, that they could never expect to be truly independent people.

This story has a beautiful way of capturing that moment after we lose a family member, friend, a job, (or any other beloved thing in our lives), believing this to be the end of the world! It also stresses the mistaken belief that all the good things of life are limited to a certain situation, and that the future holds only fear.

The moral of the story is: Instead of seeing change as the end of something, we must learn to see it as a beginning. Life demands this level of risk and adventure. If you are willing to live with this new perspective, change loses its horror. We have all been told this, but sometimes we simply lack the motivation to bring ourselves to accept its reality. However, the progressive person intentionally creates change because the world is not currently how they want it to be. Those who continually seek only security are constantly haunted by the ruinous possibility that they may eventually lose it.

Insights from Who Moved My Cheese

• Be ready to change quickly, again and again. If you do not change, you can become extinct.
• Ask yourself “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?”
• Smell the Cheese often, so you know when it is getting old.
• Remember, movement in a new direction helps you find New Cheese!
• Move beyond your fear, so you can experience freedom; old beliefs never lead to New Cheese.
• Notice small changes early. This will help you adapt to the bigger changes thatare to come.
• Perhaps the book’s title should be “I Moved My Own Cheese!”


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