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Who Moved My Cheese

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Category: Book Reports

Autor: anton 19 March 2011

Words: 1885 | Pages: 8


"Who Moved My Cheese?" tells a story of change, of how we react to it, and the trouble we can find ourselves in when we don't follow that change. The story is about four characters, two mice, and two "little people." The characters live in a maze chasing cheese. The cheese represents anything we chase after in life and believe it will make us happy. The story details the trials and troubles we all have in daily lives.

Book Summary

Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson, is a parable that shows how individuals deal with change differently. 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. These four are in a maze searching for cheese; the cheese is a metaphor for the things that make feel complete. The maze represents the environment such as the earth, employment, home, family, or whatever is associated with the change.

Change is the key variable in this story. The change happens when Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw, show up to their cheese station and find that the cheese has been moved. This particular cheese station was once abundant with cheese now it empty. Each of the four reacts a differently to this predicament, some successful than the others. Sniff and Scurry were prepared for change, they have seen it coming, showed very little resistance to change and immediately move on in search of new cheese. The two little people, that were content in their lives, did not notice the cheese supply running low and were not prepared for change. Haw spent a great deal of time analyzing the change before taking action while Hem shut everything out, at one point put his hands over his eyes and ears to drown everything else out he pretended like it wasn't happening he wanted his cheese back.

Haw was afraid of change and he feared leaving his comfort zone to get back out into the uncertainty of the maze, in search for new cheese. Haw decided that he needed to face his fears and go out into the unknown, while his friend, Hem, continued to deny that change had taken place and Hem waited for his cheese to be returned.

Haw decided now was time to move on and find new cheese and he started getting ready to leave and tried to persuade his friend to go with him. "As Hem saw his friend getting into his running gear, he said, "You're not really going out into the Maze again, are you? Why don't you just wait here with me until they put the Cheese back?" "Because, you just don't get it," Haw said. "I didn't want to see it either, but now I realize they're never going to put yesterday's Cheese back. It's time to find New Cheese." Haw now realizes that changes will take place and he must move with the change and react to it positively.

So before Haw began his search for new cheese still afraid and hungry Haw was hoping that Hem would finally see the light and leave the empty cheese station and follow him in the maze, concerned for his friend Haw wrote another message on the wall. "If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct.".

Haw overcame his fear of change and moved into the maze searching for new cheese" As he started running down the dark corridor he began to smile haw didn't realize it yet but he was discovering what nourished his soul. He was letting go and trusting what lay ahead for him, even though he did not know exactly what it was." The character Haw represents people who hesitate to change due to fear of change or a lack of preparation.

Haw later realized that change can be good and most all of his fears were exaggerated. As Haw continued on his journey in the maze he began to resent the fact that he hesitated from searching for new cheese immediately after

it was gone. Haw imagined the two mice had long since found new cheese. He realized that he should have noticed the signs that lead to the change and been more prepared to take action when the cheese was gone. Haw wrote another message on the wall, "Noticing Small Changes Early Helps You Adapt to the Bigger Changes That Are to come." Haw continued on his quest for cheese and was eventually successful. He found a huge station full of more cheese than he had ever seen before. Upon finding the cheese Haw looked back at his adventure and pondered several things he had learned about change. He wrote about these things on the wall in an effort to assist anyone who had to make the same journey. Haw had come to terms with the fact that change is always happening. "They Keep Moving the Cheese." Haw also knew that it was important to anticipate change. "Get Ready for the Cheese to Move." Regretting the fact that he was unprepared for change he wrote, "Anticipate Change. Get Ready for the Cheese to Move." Remembering that he had missed the signs that lead to change Haw noted, “Monitor Change; Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It is Getting Old." Haw reflected back on the time wasted analyzing the change before he acted then he wrote; "Adapt to Change Quickly. The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese." Haw continued noting such things as the importance of change and moving with the cheese, enjoying the adventure of change and being prepared to quickly change again and again. (Johnson 74) Haw learned from the mistakes he made the first time and was prepared to use this newly acquired knowledge on his next adventure with change. The different perceptions of change and reactions to change taken by the characters in this book are very similar to those of people in real life. The mice were acceptant to change and even Haw later realized change was good and it should be enjoyed. This attitude of acceptance to change and considering it to be a spice of life proved to be a beneficial perception in the parable and perhaps also in life. Hem and his ostrich approach to change proved to be detrimental. Denying the fact that change had taken place did not bring the cheese back. Often in life people react to change like the character Haw. Many people become comfortable with the situations they are in and they fail to notice signs of an approaching change. This unawareness to the surroundings can cause people to be caught off guard and unprepared for change when it arrives. That is why it is important to accept the reality that change is always happening and to be mindful of the subtle changes so that you are prepared for the major ones. Haw's fear of change is also common amongst people and more often than not people much like Haw find that their fears are of lesser threat than they have imagined them to be. Many times fear is only a self-contrived obstacle that prevents personal progress. Whether or not change is accepted does not alter the fact that it exists however the way you accept change can alter the way you exist. Hem's existence was obviously negatively affected by his inability to accept change. The mice quickly moved on to a better existence after accepting change without hesitation. Haw learned that his hesitation to acceptance of change caused him precious time without cheese. As Haw learned in the parable, accepting change, anticipating change, being aware of change and enjoying change can lead to living a happier and more prosperous life.

Personal Work Experience

Working in the Aviation industry change is a common practice among different manufactures. While working for Kimberly Clark Aviation (KC Aviation) in the late 1990’s. Gulfstream Aerospace purchased KC Aviation from Kimberly Clark Corporation and then changed the type of aircraft that were going to be completed at the Love Field facility. I was very resistance to change back then I could see myself as the character as Haw. I finally came around and accepted the change and learned the new aircraft. In two thousand one Gulfstream purchased Galaxy Aerospace from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to compete with other corporate jet manufactures. At this time senior management decided to complete the newly acquired airframe form IAI at the Love Field facility. Again I was resistance to change; I had just spent the last three years learning the GIV aircraft now I was being asked to learn another aircraft. I place myself as the character as Hem at this point in my life. I learned that I cannot oppose change forever and I needed to get on board with the new aircraft again.

Now I am employed at Lockheed Martin Aerospace where we are building jet fighters. I work on F16 aircraft at this time. There is new aircraft that is being developed at this time and the F16 will be being phased out.

After reading Who Moved My Cheese? I will act more like Sniff and Scurry and move with the changes as soon as they take place. I have already practiced this by working with management on the new aircraft when they need assistance without complaining about Who Moved My Cheese? (The F-16 aircraft).


The story was short, simple and amazingly effective. Change is inevitable, and it happens all the time. While doing so, I realized that the story somewhat resembled my life as well. I realized that I must also anticipate change and be prepared for when it does happen. In a section after the story four friends describe the impact that the story had on them and how they saw themselves and their actions in the context of the story. The book records one character's progress and eventual triumph and the lessons he learns along the way. Then it hit me in my moment of darkness. I must watch what is happening around me by using my senses to feel if a change is about to happen (like smelling the cheese to see if it’s getting old). If change didn’t take place, then my world would become stagnant as still water.

Change is one of those unique subjects that can be perceived differently by any one individual. You might ask three people what their personal definition of change is and receive three different answers. Some people offer very little resistance to change, they consider it the spice of life; it prevents stagnancy and maintains excitement through diversity. Some people view change like the U.S. viewed Russia during the cold war, as an inevitable threat that we must constantly monitor and prepare for. Other people react to change like an ostrich reacts to danger. They just stick their head in a hole and pretend it doesn't exist. Change is constantly happening all the time to everyone in someway or another. Whether or not change is accepted does not alter the fact that it exists however the way you accept change can alter the way you exist.


Works Cited

Johnson M.D., Spencer. Who Moved My Cheese?

New York: G.P. Putman's Sons, 1998

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