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Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese?
This is a summary of a very interesting story titled ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson.
This book is a simple parable that tells an amusing story of 4 characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. They represent the way different people behave when they face change in their life. In this parable, cheese is a metaphor for what we want to have in life: a job, a relationship, money, a big house, freedom, health, recognition etc.
The maze represents where you spend time looking for what you want. The four characters are Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. Sniff sniffs out change early before others are aware of it. Scurry sees what is needed and takes action immediately. Hem ‘hems’ and ‘haws’ in a new situation and wishes the change wasn’t happening. That is, he denies risk and change as he fears it will lead to something worse. Haw laughs at himself for not wanting to change then moves on to explore the maze and then comes to enjoy the new taste of cheese. That is, he learns to adapt in time when he sees change leading to something better. So this is how the story goes:
Once, long ago, in a far away land, there lived four little characters who ran through a maze looking for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Two were mice named Sniff and Scurry and two were little people named Hem and Haw.
They all shared something in common: every morning they each put on their jogging suits and running shoes, left their little homes and raced out into the maze looking for their favorite cheese.
Finally Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw all discovered what they were looking for. They each found their own kind of cheese one day at the end of one of the corridors in Cheese Station C. Every morning after that, the mice and the little people dressed in their running clothes and went to Cheese Station C.
Sniff and Scurry continued to wake up early every day and race through the maze, always following the same route. When they realized that the cheese was running low they moved on to find new cheese.
In the beginning Hem and Haw also raced towards Cheese Station C every morning. But after a while they awoke each day a little later, dressed a little slower, and walked to Cheese Station C.
Hem and Haw didn’t realize that the cheese was low, until one day the cheese was no longer there. “What? No cheese! Who moved my cheese?” he shouted. “It’s not fair!” .They sat and contemplated about what to do. They were afraid to look for cheese elsewhere. They were afraid of change.
While Sniff and Scurry had quickly moved on, Hem and Haw continued to ‘hem and haw’. Haw started to get depressed. He had made future plans based on this cheese. The next day Hem and Haw left their homes and returned to Cheese Station C again where they still somehow, expected to find their cheese. But the situation hadn’t changed; the cheese was no longer there. The little people didn’t know what to do. Hem and Haw just stood there, immobilized like two statues.
Haw eventually was able to see what he was doing, laughed at himself, faced his fears and followed Sniff and Scurry into the maze in search of new cheese, while Hem remained behind, thinking that somehow, his cheese will someday be replaced.
Soon Haw realized that he was enjoying the change of pace and that the hunt wasn’t really so bad. So he understood and embraced change, he wrote what he had learned on the wall, hoping the signs would help Hem find his way. Finally, he met Sniff and Scurry in the new cheese station they had discovered.
The story ended with Hem realizing that when you can read the writing on the wall, you can do well in changing times.
The moral of the story is that, sooner or later, each of us will experience change in our lives and we will all deal with it in different ways. The ones who move on will have a chance to find a new source of comfort, while those that remain behind are condemned to failure.

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