After more than a decade, I re-read this classic book, Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson. I thought I will share my reasons as to why ALL of you should read this book (or re-read this).
I experimented to write a review of this classic with a new technique – just write down those paras that I underlined when reading the book (ofcourse made minor changes to ensure readability of the review).
The book is about two mice, Sniff & Scurry and two little people, Hem & Haw trying to find Cheese. Cheese being an allegory to what each one of us whats in our lives (whatever that is!)
Consider these statements what I underlined while I read the book:
1. Sniff and Scurry (two mice characters in the book) used a simple trial-and-error method of finding cheese. They remembered the corridors that held no cheese and quickly went into new areas. They got lost, as you might expect, went off in the wrong direction and often bumped into walls. But after a while, they found their way.
2. Like the mice, the two little people, Hem and Haw (two other characters in the book) also used their ability to think and learn from their past experiences. However they relied on their complex brains to develop more sophisticated methods of finding Cheese. Sometimes they did well, but at other times, their powerful human beliefs and emotions took over and clouded the way they looked at things. It made life in the Maze more complicated and challenging.
3. The mice did not over analyze things. To the mice, the problem and the answer were both simple. The situation at Cheese Station C had changed. So, they decided to change.
4. Hem and Haw had not been paying attention to the small changes that had been taking place each day, so they took it for granted their Cheese would be there.
5. Maybe we should stop analyzing the situation so much and just get going and find some New Cheese.
6. Running through the Maze [to find New Cheese] usually involved some uncertainty. But Haw also knew it was likely to only last for a while.
7. Hem argued, ” I’m not interested in getting lost and making a fool of myself”. With that, Haw’s fear of failing returned and his hope of finding New Cheese faded.
8. Haw was beginning to realize the difference between activity and productivity. We keep doing the same things over and over again and wonder why things don’t get better. If this wasn’t so ridiculous, it would be even funnier.
9. Haw painted a picture of him finding New Cheese in the Maze, and felt confident he would eventually find it. He gathered his courage to start finding New Cheese.
10. 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.
11. Haw thought about how he’d gotten himself into this cheese-less situation. He had believed that there may not be any Cheese in the Maze, or he may not find it. Such fearful beliefs were immobilizing and killing him.
12. Sometimes fear can be good. When you are afraid things are going to get worse if you don’t do something, it can prompt you into action. But it is not good when you are so afraid that it keeps you from doing anything.
13. He decided that if he ever got a chance again, he would get out of his comfort zone and adapt to change sooner. It would make things easier.
14. Whenever he started to get discouraged, he reminded himself that what he was doing, as uncomfortable as it was at the moment, was in reality much better than staying in the Cheese-less situation. He was taking control, rather than simply letting things happen to him.
15. Haw now realized that the change probably would not have taken him by surprise if he had been watching what was happening all along and if he had anticipated change.
16. Expect change to happen.
17. Haw wondered why he had always thought that a change would lead to something worse. Now he realized that change could lead to something better.
18. He was happy when he wasn’t being run by his fear. He liked what he was doing now.
19. Haw realized again, as he had once before, that 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.
20. It was natural for change to continually occur, whether you expect it or not. Change could surprise you only if you didn’t expect it and weren’t looking for it.
21. When you change what you believe, you change what you do.
22. He realized that the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own folly – then you can let go and quickly move on.
23. You did not need to over complicate matters or confuse yourself with fearful beliefs.
24. He had to admit that the biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself, and that nothing gets better until you change.
25. Most of his fears were irrational and had kept him from changing when they needed to.
Most of the time, we are hung up about how things should be, rather than seeing how things are. This dichotomy in our minds about what our ideal world view is and what the real world is cause mental panic-attacks and capsizes our thought process. Our past knowledge is useless in such situation.
Accept change. Go with the flow. Enjoy the flow. Continue to accept change.
I highly recommend you to spend 30 minutes to read this book. Just a little over 100 pages with big easy to read font. A lovely inspirational book.