Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson: Summary And Notes

who moved my cheese summary“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

Rating: 8/10

Related: Out of the Maze, Our Iceberg is Melting, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Switch, Atomic Habits

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Who Moved My Cheese? Short Summary

Who Moved My Cheese? makes you think about change in a different light. Spencer Johnson shows through a short story how to see change not as the end of something, but the beginning of a new chapter. The story will feel close to home and it will give you a different perspective on your life.

They Keep Moving The Cheese

Change is inevitable. You can see it in every aspect of your life.

But despite that, you hold on to what you have and ignore the writing on the wall.

“The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it.”

This is your fear talking. You worry you’re not capable of adapting to the new reality.

Instead of evolving with the times, you get bitter and blame others (parents, spouse, boss, economy,…).

Change is very rarely fair. However, there is no point in fighting it.

Rather than denying change will happen, embrace it. Realize that your fears are holding you back and preventing you from maximizing your potential.

How to deal with change:

  • Recognize change is inevitable
  • Anticipate change. Evaluate what are the most likely elements to change in your life
  • Monitor change. Look out for new opportunities
  • Learn to change quickly. Invest in skills that allow you to change faster in the future
  • Change. Pull the trigger and act

“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.”

Even Your Biggest Success Doesn’t Last Forever

Goals define us.

You spend nearly all your waking hours pursuing goals.

They are often very difficult to achieve and that’s what makes them so rewarding. But more often than not, achieving your goals and enjoying success becomes your worst enemy.

Success breeds complacency and bad habits.

Suddenly, you don’t need to wake up early to hit the same number of sales. Or you don’t need to learn new skills because you are a top performer in your field already. But soon enough, that stops being the case.

For example:

The humans (Haw and Hem) didn’t realize their cheese supplies were going down. When they did, it was too late and they ran out of food.

The problem with sitting on your success is that the world continues to change:

  • Your skills become outdated
  • Your competitors catch up to your business
  • Your promotions are awarded to someone else

Opportunity waits for no man. Someone who waits as opportunities pass him by can lose any success he has built.

“Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old”

Rather than obsessing about goals only to feel empty when you achieve them, learn to enjoy the process. Fall back on habits and use goals to guide and motivate you.

Don’t stop monitoring change and adapt to the new reality.

How to Enjoy Change

Change becomes more enjoyable when you realize you have control over how you feel. You can either deny its existence or embrace it as a normal part of life.

Embracing change will transform how you deal with problems.

For example:

A layoff can either be a major setback on your career or the perfect opportunity to start your business.

“He knew that when you change what you believe, you change what you do. You can believe that a change will harm you and resist it. Or you can believe that finding New Cheese will help you and embrace the change.”

Realize that most of your fears are irrational. What you think will happen is much different from what will actually happen.

“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.”

Therefore, you can either change now and be one of its drivers. Or you can wait until you become one of the victims, at which point you’ll have to change anyway.

On top of that, you can be one of the winners of the change.

New realities will make new winners and losers. If you identify change and act on it quickly enough, you can build a life far better than you thought possible.

For example:

If you learn computer science and have a great idea, you can make generational wealth with a few years of work.

To help you, look for others who have made the change you want to do. Use them as role models for your own transformation.