I've finally read the all famous 'Who Moved My Cheese?'. K lent me his book and I finished it in just under an hour. The content of the book surprised me as I have always imagined it to be a book on economics, before I realized that I had it confused with Freakanomics.
The book can be categorized as a self-help one, with the aim of motivating its readers towards accepting change as something positive in their lives and reacting appropriately to it. It starts out with a group of school friends at their reunion, with one member sharing his cheese story with the rest. 2 mice and 2 human beings live in a maze and they've found a huge cheese station in which they thrive and live in. As time passed by, the supply of cheese in this station depletes and is gone before the 2 humans know it. The 2 mice on the other hand, foresaw what was inevitable and had already ventured out into the maze in search of a new cheese haven and found it long before the humans reacted to it.
More like a modern day parable, this short story is amazingly versatile. The cheese itself can be a symbol of money, a job, relationships or anything else of importance to a living soul. Who doesn't love the comfort of living in a predictable space? When unpleasant change takes us off our feet by surprise, more often than not, we fret, blame others and are resistant to it. This story invites us to take change as an adventure!
Here are some of the things I'd like to remember from this story (credits to the author Dr. Spencer Johnson):
1. Change happens (they keep moving the cheese)
2. Anticipate change (get ready for the cheese to move)
3. Monitor change (smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old)
4. Adapt to change quickly (the quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese)
5. Change (move with the cheese)
6. Enjoy change! (savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese)
7. Be ready to change quickly and enjoy cheese again and again (they keep moving the cheese)
Also, there was a sharp line in the book which says that there is a distinction between activity and productivity. This sentence practically shouted to me from the book, probably because I'm in the middle of an extremely tedious and time-consuming research project.
The next best thing in the book was the idea of picturing ourselves in an exciting new state in the future, however uncertain that may be. Being out there in the maze is indeed better than staying in the old cheese station and rotting away. The power of attitude and optimism comes into play here in that we should always look for a better future and be uplifted about our prospects.