Who Moved My Cheese? – Dr. Spencer Johnson
- August 4, 2015
- Posted by: Chris Rudram
- Category: book review
I’d had a vague idea that this book was a business management best seller. I had no idea what it was about, why I should read it, or if it was just hype. I just picked up a cheap copy to read and then stuck it on my big pile of books to read. And sort of forgot about it.
Then I started to sort through my books and notes to read as for this blog. It was a slim volume, so I slipped into into my bag to read over lunch. It took me about 45 minutes to digest, my lox bagel also starting to digest about half way through. My set of notes had grown as I jotted down thoughts and reactions to the ideas.
But in the biggest letters there was this question from the book: ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’
The book is all about change, and how to cope with it. But to start there is a lot of hyperbole about how effective the parable within has been. ‘It’s saved marriages!’ ‘It’s saved livelihoods!’ It saved my sanity!’ What follows after the introduction is a short story. It has the central theme of ‘Change Happens’. It’s a simple tale of mice and men. Mice and men find cheese, the cheese is taken away, the cheese is found again.
Presented in a thought-provoking way, the tale makes you consider why change occurs. And how you’d best cope with it when it inevitably comes. I mulled over my response later on in the day, and on the bike ride home. And while lying awake late one night.
I am not sure I came to any grand conclusions. But I did get something out of it. The Cheese of the title is the good life. Your goal. It is whatever makes you comfortable, content and happy. That might be it good job, or a happy family, or the fastest car on the block. That’s the Cheese. The four characters find their Cheese and enjoy their cheese every day.
Until it’s gone (The Cheese has Moved). Prepared for this, the mice just shrug their shoulders and zoom of in their own way to find new Cheese. The two ‘little men’ of the maze are paralyzed. They blame everyone for the Cheese moving. This solves nothing. The cheese has gone from this location, but the injustice of it all upsets them. Eventually, one of the two, ‘Haw’ decides to set off and find new Cheese. And, (spoiler alert) he does find new Cheese. Some of the Cheese is of a new style, and some of it is familiar comfortable Cheese. He understands that the old Cheese going away was something he could have predicted. He understands the mice knew this, and the mice also knew to be ready for change in the future.
So, I’d already decided to start Enigmatic Events as the concept. I was afraid for a while of what would happen if I tried it. What if it’s not successful? What if I can find anyone wanting what I can offer? What would I do for living expenses? Being afraid of consequences is not a bad thing. But also knowing what the worse case could be can help you set off and discover something new. My fears exist, but also the benefits exist as well. I get to be my own boss. I get to work on things I am passionate about. I can set my own path forward, and work with a wider variety of people. I can learn new skills, in a new industry. I can bring in what I do know as well, and try to create something that is mine.
And if it doesn’t work out, I can adapt to that change and look somewhere else for my Cheese. Adapt to change, be aware of it, and move onwards. Even just looking for the end goal can be its own reward. And being able to change once means you can change again later. It won’t be so scary.
So, ‘What would I do if I weren’t afraid?’
I am looking for what the answer exactly is. Enigmatic Events is the vehicle for that search.
Lets see what Cheese I can find.