Who Moved My Cheese?

Last Update: Apr 2, 2020

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I am not sure of how many of you are familiar with the book by Dr. Spencer Johnson Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese is a simple story (the book is hardly a hundred pages long) of four mice who live in a Maze. Every day they look for their cheese and find it in the exact spot every single day. Until one day, someone moved the cheese and there was no more cheese.

As the story unfolds, it tells us how the four different mice, Sniff and Scurry being the courageous ones and two who are referred to as the "LittlePeople" and are called Hem and How. The Little People behave a lot like real people.

The Quest of Finding the Cheese

The book is nothing more but a profound story of many truths in our lives.

The Cheese represents anything that we are looking for in our life. Whether it is the success we are thriving for in our careers, whether it is the looking for the love of our life, or even simpler things like finding our first job or even going to work. It also signifies are higher emotions like the balance of life, relationships with our family and friends, our spirituality or our well-being.

The Maze is where we look within our society to find our cheese. This can be the workplace, the environment that we are surrounding ourselves with, our family, our homes and our social habitats - real or virtual.

The Story - The mice are always running around the maze - very much like a game and finding their cheese in exactly the same place everytime. Until one fine day, catastrophe hits. There is no cheese in the usual place. The mice are face with an UNEXPECTED CHANGE.

The mice all deal with the situation very differently. The SmallPeople mice, become indignant and arrogant, and they rant and rave because the cheese has been moved. They declare that the cheese is their sacrosant right and that it should be put back immediately! And Haw demands Who Moved My Cheese? Perplexity, bewilderement and entitlement is their reaction.

Sniff and Scurry prepare for a long journey to look for alternative cheese within the Maze.

The SmallPeople stay behind and bicker and argue and blame each other for the lack of cheese. After being in DENIAL for a while - hunger prevailed. This is when Haw proposes that they start searching within the maze to look for new cheese. Hem, who is does not want his comfort zone threatened refuses the proposal. But Haw wants to overcome his FEAR OF LOOKING FOR NEW SOLUTIONS. Therefore he embarks on his journey to look for new cheese. He found the COURAGE to embark on his search.

Haw, therefore starts making the search by himself, but before he goes deep in the maze he starts chisseling on the wall: "If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct" and that was the parting shot to his friend Hem to chew on in his absence.

During his journey in the maze - Haw, becomes fearful and procrastinates and chisels other stuff such as "What Would You Do If You Weren't afraid?" Haw is plagued with worries. What if the other mice already found the cheese? What if he were too late starting off? But he would stop and rest and fuel himself with a little more energy. During the course of his search, he comes across morsels of cheese which are enough to nourish him during his journey.

Haw comes to realize that the cheese has not entirely vanished but it has dwindled from over consumption. He worries again and again on whether he will find enough cheese in the next cheese station and visits several that are completely empty. Dealing with the fear, he smiles and full of energy moves to the next station. Haw turned his fear into courage. When he realised that he could actually conquer his fear Haw inscribed another of his thoughts on the all of the Maze: "When you move beyond your fear, you feel free."

At this point Haw has collected enough morsels to be able to go back to his friend Hem and share his spoils with him. At least enough to give him sustenance. To his great disappointment Hem Refuses The New Cheese. Hem is proud and uncompromising and will not accept help from his friend Haw. He is still demanding for his cheese and asking "Who Moved My Cheese"?

So Haw leaves again and still hopeful from the little bits of cheeses he found in the past, he keeps searching for a Cheese station that is bountiful. One day he happens on Station N which is full and abundant and with varieties of cheeses which is beyond his expectation and plenty that he had never tried before.

However, this time, knowing that the abundance one day could dwindle, he does not let himself become complacent and keeps exploring his maze to find the joys of other possibilities. Through his journey he always made inscriptions to the wall.

"Change Can Happen - Who Moved my Cheese

Change must be Anticipated The Cheese Will Move One day

Monitor Change - Keep checking your cheese and monitor if it is dwindling or getting old

Speedily Adept to Change - If you are smart enough to part with your old cheese the quicker you will be able to find new and better variety of cheeses

Change - Look for the New Cheese

Enjoy Change! Though it brings some fear, change is a challenge and will bring excitement. With it it brings new cheese."

Who Moved My Cheese - My Conclusion

I doubt that any of us have lived in times where this little book was more valid. Our cheese has been moved, or we have so overconsumed it that we will have to get out there and search for it again.

What is going to be our take in these unprecedented circumstances? Will we be indignant and hope that once this pandemic is over that life will go back to how it was? Will whoever moved our cheese bring it back?

Or are we going to turn our fear into courage and go out there and look for new ways to find even better cheese?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been having a shocking impact on our life. In most cases, we feel the fear and stay in the safety of our houses, abiding time until such moments when life will go back to normal. This is to be expected.

But what if life will never get to normal? Hem and How are we going to deal with our new life when we get it back - if we are lucky enough to stay safe and healthy?

I leave you with a Bob Dylan Song from 1964 which again has never been so right as now:

The Times They are A Chaging.

I would love your opinion.

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Recent Comments


Hi Mariella sounds like a great book. i will look for it.You're right It does have similarities to today's circumstances. i am sure that there will be good strong people who will lead us to new environments. there is always resilience in people. People like leaders. We will come out of this and we will learn. The way we will live, I'm not sure. I look forward with enthusiasm and ready to embrace our new standards.
Thank you for your thoughts. Very compelling.
Have a great day

thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I am sure that we will emerge into a new world with different values. One hopes that they will be better.

I did not know this story. It is a very interesting book and quite revealing of real situations. I don't know which world we will have after this long and difficult road to recovery, but I hope that there will be more solidarity because many countries will need the help of the stronger countries to recover.

Stay safe!

Thank you for your comment Ingrid. If you do find the time read this book as it will always be very valid. Somehow, I believe it in my bones that we will emerge into a better world

I hope so and we are capable of it. You're right, let's remain optimistic.

Mariella thanks for the opportunity to comment on this excellent book which has been on my bookshelf for some years (yes I did read it) LoL.

The US Special Forces talk about adapt and overcome, the UK Special Forces, who dares wins. All amounts to the same, the only constant is change and the species who are best fitted for change on this planet, given our intellectual capacity, is Homo Sapien.

We have all the nature given tools we just have to apply them, I doubt very much that we will ever find that cheese in the same place again, this is one of those major watershed moments that shape societies.

Great post thank you

Hamish 🧐

So very true Hamish! There will never be a time when this won't be a benchmark

So true good lady 😌🧐

Many Congratulations, I love this book. It is one of my all time favourite motivational books, one that a friend gave to me to read when I was living not far from you in Tripoli. I had to learn Arabic for that job and although it is still rusty, I can still survive. It was a classic case of me having t find new cheese and in many respects WA is another new piece of cheese that I am thoroughly gorging on! Those of us who are members of WA are I believe well ahead of the curve (such an over used phrase these days I know, but this is in a positive context). I`m definitely Scurry.
I enjoyed the book so much I bought it in Spanish to remind myself as well as to expand my Spanish vocab. Indeed I was thinking about “who moved y cheese” the other day and it was a great motivation, knowing I have Scurried along and am pretty active with my new site.
Terrific blog. Sincerely enjoyed it. Thank you for the reminder.


You really made my day !! I have been to Libya a few times though not in the past ten years. Keep scurrying on your site and find cheese a bountiful!

Thinking about it there are a few mice characters that are missing from this tale. (excuse pun).

There should have been a mouse who said - I was eating too much cheese anyway. Sending my cholesterol through the roof. I'll be better off just chewing on cardboard or whatever these maze walls are made of. Then that paint Haw used to write on the walls is starting to look tasty...

And perhaps another prophet-of-doom mouse who would have taken the disappearance of the cheese as a harbinger of the Apocalypse.

Ah the best laid scheme o' mice and men ...

I'm sure there's a silver cloud somewhere in this lining

I love this thinking Andy! Perhaps it is time to come up with a new version of who moved my cheese?

Excellent Post Mariella, I feel that we most certainly will have to adapt and change going forward or we will be left behind. I started working 1964 with computers before most people knew what they were. As you get older like myself, you have to adapt to be part of what is happening. That is why I am partaking in as many of the things, other than Covid-19 that are going on. I enjoy working with younger people and of course it makes you feel younger and challenges one's brain to keep working. Love your Post, Perfect for the times.

You have said something which really struck me. You like working with younger people because they make you feel younger. That is so true and nice. When I was younger I like to work with older people because I would learn faster from them but now I find that it is quite the reverse.
Thank you so much.

Like Le Petite Prince, it is one of my two favourite books that I read as a child and as an adult. We are in unchartered territory that is for sure and we are having to adapt to change. Some people are struggling with this change and acting in a reactive scared way, whilst others are being proactive and adapting.

So true. I had forgotten about Le Petite Prince. Time to revisit

I think that's the book I have read more than any other, I think I probably read is about nine times. I always find something new in it

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