Moving Along With My Cheese
Miami Dade College
Dr. Adrienne M. Cwiak
November 17, 2018
Moving Along With My Cheese
“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, is a parable that shows how individuals deal with change differently. “Cheese” is a metaphor for what you want to have in life – whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money, health, or peace of mind. 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 characters are faced with unexpected change. Eventually, one of them deals with it successfully and writes what he has learned from his experience on the Maze walls.
The story begins with a group of old friends who met after their high school reunion, discussing how much their lives have changed since leaving high school. One character named Michael decided he would tell them about a little funny story he heard involving cheese. In this story the four characters, two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two little people, about the size of mice, named Hem and Haw live in a land where they searched for cheese for survival and happiness. Every morning they would run through the maze in search of exceptional cheese. The two mice had restrained brains, but good instincts. They could sniff out the place and dig it hoping to find the cheese they liked so much. The little people had complex brains but full of emotions and beliefs which they used to find their peculiar cheese. Both mice and little people had a routine where they could wake up every morning and run, sniff and look for cheese. They finally found the cheese, but the two mice kept their daily routine looking for more and looking for any changes.
Hem and Haw became comfortable with their lives that they have stopped looking for cheese. One day both mice and little people realized their cheese was finished, but the mice were prepared for it because they had noticed the change. The little people were extremely scared. ‘what! No cheese?’ Hem yelled. ‘Who moved my cheese?’ he hollered. Hem and Haw decided to stay because they thought that the cheese will once again reappear. After a while the situation does not change and soon they start blaming it on everything but themselves. Eventually, Haw gets smart and decides to explore the maze for more cheese. He tries to convince his partner to go with him, but he won’t. Haw adapts to change as he learns it can lead to better things. Ham realized he was wasting time and knew he had to move on with life. Haw said, ‘sometimes, Hem, things change and they are never the same again. This looks like one of those times. That’s life! Life moves on. And so should we.’ As he journeys to new areas of the maze, he pushes past his fears and learns many life lessons. Wanting to remember everything he has learned, he wrote to the largest wall in Cheese Station N the following six important lessons on change: (1) Change Happens – they keep moving the cheese. (2) Anticipate Change – get 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 the new cheese. (5) Change – move with the cheese (6) Enjoy Change. Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of the new cheese.
At the end of the story, the readers don’t know whether Hem joins Hew. The story then jumps back to the friends who have gathered again to talk to each other, speaking of the mistakes they had made because they did not change their behavior when their situation had changed. They were all inspired by Michael’s story to start moving with their cheese.
In the story, Sniff is represented as someone who sniffs out change early before others are aware of it while Scurry is represented as someone who sees what is needed and takes action immediately. On the other hand, Hem is represented as someone who denies and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse hence why he didn’t go look for more cheese once he had run out. Haw is represented as someone who hesitates to change at first, then dares to move on to explore the maze and comes to enjoy the taste of new cheese. That is, learns to adapt in time when he sees changing leads to something better.
The theme of this book is to encourage change along with the situation with which you are presented in your everyday life. In dealing with this change, you have to move with your cheese and know when to find it. Don’t dwell on the things which you can’t change anymore because there is nothing really permanent in this world except change. Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. People also tend to get comfortable with their lives that the idea of change frightens them enough that they don’t want to think about it. However, one can miss out on new adventures and wonderful experiences if you don’t change with the situations. Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters the most is the attitude we have about change. The audience for this book is the reader themselves. As Haw stated ” If you do not change, you can become extinct”, meaning when things change you should change as well and adapt yourself accordingly, otherwise you will be left behind. The main belief from reading this story is that change will happen whether you like it or not but you can either run from it or believe in yourself and adapt.
Each of us has our own perspective of what “Cheese” is and we pursue it because we believe it will make us happy. When we get it, it becomes a natural part of our life but when its taken away, it can be traumatic. For me, my cheese is being the world best homicide detective. It has been my dream for as long as I could remember. My family has been super supportive of me but for someone people, that’s not the case. For example, some people think that just because the pay is not good, means that I have to change my career. On the other hand, some people think is dangerous and they don’t want me to get hurt or worse. At the end of the day, it’s my dream and I will do whatever it takes to make it come true even if it means changing my life and the way I live. I’m not saying I’m not scared of change because I am but it’s not going to get in the way of my happiness. What I would consider the “Maze” in my life would be going to school and furthering my career so that I could have the best education possible. When I get a job, I would be one step closer in reaching my dreams and the relationship I make with the people around me will also impact my life and theirs. I think everyone should read this book because everyone has a different situation and reading it will make you have a better understanding of change and what you have to do to make your life easier and happier.