Who moved my cheese by Spencer Johnson is a short book (about 30 pages) that is packed with a lot of important lessons that we can pick up during this pandemic time. It was a parable about change; it is about a journey of four characters (Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw) searching, finding, losing and must rediscovering their cheese, in a large twisting maze. Johnson uses cheese as a metaphor for what you want in life, such as a well-paid job, a loving relationship, possessions, or a healthier body while the maze is the environment, we live in such as our workplace, our friends, family. The book talks about the problem that no cheese is everlasting and life changes, whether we love it or not. As Heraclitus once said “Change is the only constant in life”

TL;DR

  1. Summary about the book who moved my cheese
  2. Changes Happen
  3. Anticipate Change
  4. Monitor Change
  5. Adapt to change quickly and enjoy it

A brief summary of the book

Who moved my cheese revolves around the four characters who live in a maze and all of them love cheese. When the cheese disappears, Sniff and Scurry head into the maze to search for new cheese while Hem and Haw feel betrayed and start complaining that someone had stolen their cheese from them. Hem and Haw wasted their time and energy hoping that their old cheese will return. After several days, Haw lost hope and realized that the old cheese would not return so he decided to head into the maze to search for new cheese. Haw tried convincing Hem but Hem was stiff and wanted his old cheese back. During Haw’s journey in the maze, he wrote whatever lesson he learned on the wall believing that one day Hem might move on and start finding new cheese. In the end, Haw found a huge place filled with cheese and discovered that Sniff and Scurry had already been there. ‌

Changes Happen

No one would have anticipated what the whole world is going through right now. Just 5 months back, we celebrated 2020 in hoping that the year is going to be wonderful, without being aware that there was a virus breakout in Wuhan. In just 5 months, everything changes. From economics to our lifestyle, some people lost their jobs, some people lost their loved one. This pandemic has indirectly taught us that changes always happen no matter how small or how big the impact is. Let me give you an example, a story, and how the lessons in this book can help you overcome the changes that you might be going through. Tony and Steve are two businessmen in the vegetable industry. They both have farms and produce good crops for their surrounding neighborhood. With the profit that they gain from their crops, they invested it back into their business. Tony who keeps himself updated with technology decided to invest in hydroponic and also vertical farming, Steve on the other hand just bought new lands and hired more employees to take care of his farm. Steve managed to grow his business bigger and larger while Tony was still adapting to the new technology, learning, and understanding its capability. There were times where storms hit their neighborhood and Steve’s farm will be affected the most, even then Steve doesn’t find a way to overcome it. During the recent pandemic attack with the announcement of lockdown, Steve had to let go some of his employees, he also faces a decrease in sales since many people are not visiting the supermarket to avoid getting contact. This leads to a decrease in revenue and Steve faced a major loss where he had to sell his land for a lesser price in order to sustain his business. Meanwhile, Tony who had recently started a website that accepts orders and delivers crops to his customers’ doorsteps, was able to stay in business. Tony was also able to avoid letting go of his employees since his farm is mostly automated and he only recruited a few people to take care of it. ‌

Anticipate Changes

Tony was able to anticipate changes when he realized what the storms had done to his crops. He reflects on his previous experiences and wants to find ways to solve the problem so that the storm will not surprise him again. Tony also knew that the technology around him was changing rapidly and new ways of agriculture technique were on the rise. He feared to start again, learn new things and take the risk to invest in new technology. Fearing that it might end up somewhere worse since it was a new field for him. That is when he recalled an important message from his late dad, “What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists.”. We deny changes, whenever our environment changes, we tend to put the blame on someone else. We cling to what was, instead of what simply now is. The world is constantly changing, and it always creates new opportunities, whether we recognize them immediately or not. ‌

Monitor Changes

When Tony had the money to reinvest back in his business, Tony decided to research his available options. Those are expanding the lands and crops or using a new agriculture technique like vertical farming. With the rising price of land, Tony decided to go with vertical farming. By always keeping himself updated about the current technology, Tony was able to start another business of selling fish alongside with his farming with the help of setting up an aquaponic system. With the increase of delivery services around his neighborhood, Tony had an idea to create a website where he can supply crops for his customers to their home. This is to ensure that he was always up to trend/change. Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come. There is no sudden change in our life, we often ignore the signs or don’t educate ourselves with the recent trend/issue. Remember no matter how secure something feels, you should always expect change to happen because when you expect change (both gradual and sudden) to happen, you’ll better monitor and anticipate it early. ‌

Adapt to change quickly and enjoy it.

When the pandemic hits, Tony was able to withstand it as he had been updating his business with the current technology while Steve was hit hard and nearly lost his business. When you monitor and anticipate change early, you’ll find it easier to adapt to it quickly. When you are able to adapt to change quickly, you will enjoy it, feeling happier, less stressed, and more adaptive than those who resist the inevitable. You will learn that you will love testing out or coming out of your comfort zone and ready to embrace change again and again when it happens. You’ll have more time, space, and energy to embrace new outcomes that may prove even better than the old ones. You’ll shift your focus from losing what once was, to gaining what might someday be. Life moves on and so do we. ‌

You Cannot Change The Past, But You Can Learn From It. When The Same Situation Arises, You Can Do Things Differently And Become Happier And More Effective and Successful Today.