Most of us, if asked, do have a favorite book or books; all of for different reasons. Some for the sheer imagination of the author that keeps us hooked to the story till the very end. Others with the unexpected climax or predictable and happy endings. Different people like different books. I personally like books that help find a solution to people’s problems. Some books quote real life stories and help us look at the silver lining. But ‘Who Moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, is one such book that has left an indelible mark on the way I think and perceive things.
Somewhere inside, we all are afraid of change, whether it is the fear of a child shifting to a new city and adjusting to the problems that come along with, like adjusting to a new environment, making friends, etc. As children graduate from school to college, they all express their worry and fears about how much life is going to change henceforth. All things change; that is a fact of life and this book helps people to understand and accept this concept gracefully and fearlessly.
It is a simple book to understand; I finished reading it in an hour. The protagonists of the book are 4 symbolic characters, the mice name Scurry and Scuff, and the Littlepeople, Hem and Haw. They all wish to reach cheese, which is ultimately what they desire in their lives- happiness, prosperity and success. All four of them are shoved into a situation where there is no cheese to sustain their lives anymore. While Scuff and Scurry work hard towards finding new cheese, Hem and Haw try not to explore the world beyond the niche they have created for themselves. It shows how, during an emergency, the former made the effort to find a solution to their problems, and the latter believed that solutions would come their way without making any effort.
The lessons learned from this book are manifold. For one, it shows that happiness can be derived only when people learn to share knowledge with one another. People are selfish and crave for immediate material gains, without even thinking once, about those who are less fortunate than them; of other human beings, who, just like all of us, wish to find their cheese some day. Unity is power, only when people cooperate with each other, concrete solutions can be found to problems.
The book also stresses on the futility of worry. What is the point of having all the luxuries in the world and yet worrying about losing it all someday? Ups and downs are all a part of life; they teach us lessons that help us grow. Instead of pondering over one’s failure, it is wiser to analyze why one failed and make sure never to repeat the same mistake again. That is the true essence of life. In a very practical method, it speaks of how humans should learn how to interpret their present situation, understand warning signals and prepare oneself for necessary change.
Often, holding on to a special aspect of the past hinders one’s ability to find new cheese, or happiness in the life that awaits them. Eventually, it is in our hands to decide who and what is worth the worry. External forces should not weaken our sense of security. By being alert, it is possible to make positive changes in our lives. As explained in few lines of the book-“”The Quicker You move, you will get it sooner. Movement in a New Direction may help you to attain it. Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come. Conquer your fear and behave as you are courageous.”
In my opinion, it is a must-read. Like all books, I am sure people may find certain aspects of the book unrealistic. But in its totality, it teaches us a very good lesson, which is very relevant in today’s world. This book has something inspiring for everyone. It asks it’s readers a very profound question that is tough to answer- What would you do if you weren’t afraid?