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A Reflection on The Book Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

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This essay is a reflection on the book called Who Moved My Cheese? The story is about changes that take place in a place called Maze, were four characters were looking for their own Cheese. In this story, “Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life,” (Johnson, 1998, p. 14). It can be material, health, a healthy relationship, a business, etc. Every day, the characters Scurry, Sniff, Hem, and Haw would wake up and go to the Maze looking for their own Cheese. The characters Sniff and Scurry dealt with change successfully. The character Hem was afraid of change, so he withstood and refused it while Haw learned to adapt to change. I found that the messages in Who Moved My Cheese? It can be applied to many aspects of real life. This paper focuses on my relationship with my father (Maze) and how it has affected my expectation of what I perceived to be the role of a father (Cheese). The lesson of Who Moved My Cheese? may help people to discern changes as they mature. Change is hard but in the end, it turns out wonderful.

Who Moved My Cheese?

One day, Scurry, Sniff, Hem, and Haw found their own Cheese at Cheese Station C. Scurry and Sniff are mice. Hem and Haw are Littlepeople. Scurry and Sniff would wake up early in the morning every day to go to the station. They [Scurry and Sniff] would always examine the Cheese to see if it was decreasing. Hem and Haw the Littlepeople would go home full of Cheese and wake up the next morning to get more Cheese. The Littlepeople were getting too comfortable that they didn’t realize the transformation that was happening. One morning the mice went to Cheese Station C and found that the Cheese ran out. Scurry and Sniff anticipated it. The mice accepted the change and adapted to it quickly. They instantly headed into the Maze to look for new Cheese. When Hem and Haw arrived at Cheese Station C, they were shocked and panicked. Hem and Haw would wake up every morning expecting cheese to reappear at the station. They were frustrated and blamed everybody but themselves.

One day Haw asks himself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” (Johnson, 1998 p.48 ). His answer was to explore the Maze and look for new Cheese. Haw knew waiting for Cheese to reappear was never going to happen. Haw tried to convince Hem to go with him but Hem shut him down. Haw walked into the Maze alone and was afraid. While Haw was searching for Cheese he realized if he had been observing the Cheese, the change wouldn’t have taken him by surprise. He (Haw) found little bits of Cheese but Haw kept looking because he knew the little bits of Cheese wouldn’t be enough. Haw felt happier and free when he moved beyond his fear. He learned many life lessons and wrote them on the wall to encourage himself to move ahead and for Hem, if he decides to leave station C. He (Haw) realized change happens and it’s not a bad thing. Haw found Cheese Station N and was happy. He [Haw] didn’t get too comfortable in case he had to run again to find new Cheese. Haw found his friends Scurry and Sniff in the station. Haw changed his habits, now he would monitor the Cheese and explore new parts of the Maze. Haw hopes Hem would change one day and find his Cheese.

My Life

After reading this book, my first thought was how my relationship with my father resembles the parable of the story. In this story Cheese represented “what we want to have in life, whether it is a job, a relationship,” (Johnson, 1998, p. 14). My Cheese symbolizes a healthy and loving relationship with my father. Maze symbolized “where you spend time looking for what you want” (Johnson, 1998, p. 14). My Maze represents the different avenues I took to fix things with my father. I was like the character Haw, we learned to adapt to new Cheese as change lead us to something better.

When I was younger, my father and I had a relatively strong relationship. As I grew older my relationship with my father drastically changed. I tried to figure out why my father and I were having problems getting along. It was because we were fighting a lot and the fights appeared trivial in nature. I tried to avoid the fight by not doing something that will trigger the fights. I was yearning for that relationship (Cheese) and every time I went to my father (Maze) to fix things, the Cheese was never there.

One day there was barely any food in the house. I ask my stepmother if I could get coins from the drawer to go buy milk and cereal. She said “yes.” I laid the coins in the table while my stepmother was getting ready to go to the store with me. Then, my father arrived and asked: “Who took all these coins out?.” I told him it was me. He started to yell at me saying “don’t take my coins, you are a thief.” He kept saying hurtful things. I was telling my father that my stepmother said it was her coins and that I could take it, but no matter what I said he wouldn’t listen to me. I got angry and I yelled, “Are you seriously yelling at me for coins to buy food for all the kids? You have done worse than this and have said things to me that I will never forget.” The fight got worse and the next day I left with my mother. I got tired of trying to fix things with him, so it was time to move on to the next path that came my way. He wasn’t considerate of what I was trying to do and how he was making me feel. He always fought for little things and in the process damaged our relationship.

The character Haw learned, “having Cheese makes you Happy” (Johnson, 1998, p.30). When I had a healthy loving relationship with my father, I was happy. I would cherish every moment with him. I was so comfortable with the relationship my father and I had that I didn’t want anything to destroy it. As I got older, my relationship with my father changed. The author Spencer Johnson wrote, “If you do not change, you can become extinct” (Johnson, 1998, p. 46). I couldn’t stay in the same situation all my life. I had to move on and come up with ways to repair the relationship. If I didn’t change the situation with my father, I would end up not having a life at all.

The role of a father I was expecting was a father who puts his kids first then himself. A father who provides financially and emotionally for his kids. I yearn for a father that showed affection and showed that he was proud of me. A father I could look up to and talk to him about my problems. I was expecting so much in this relationship. I realized that my father was never going to change. I needed to accept him for who he is. I was holding so much anger towards my father that I needed to let it go. Holding the anger wasn’t doing me any good.

The author wrote, “The quicker you let go of old Cheese, the sooner you find new Cheese” (Johnson, 1998, p. 60). When I let go of the old relationship my father and I had, I found new routes to build our relationship. Holding on to the past can block your view to see the future. Haw wrote, “old beliefs do not lead you to new Cheese” (Johnson, 1998, p. 64). At one point, I believed that my relationship with my father was never going to work, but as soon as I stop believing that, I found ways for the relationship to repair.

Haw wrote on the wall and said: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” (Johnson, 1998, p. 48). I was afraid to go up to my father and express how I felt about our relationship. One day I grew the courage to go up to my father and I talked to him about how I felt. I felt free when I express how I felt because I didn’t have to keep holding my feelings in. I told him I wanted to build a healthy relationship and I wanted to let go of the past. Now we are doing everything we can to build a strong loving relationship.

I discovered a fair amount of things from the book Who Moved My Cheese? I learned that I need to accept change and enjoy it. Change will always happen and I can not escape from it. Cheese will never stay in one place, it will keep moving. I also learned that I need to anticipate change. When change happens, I need to be prepared to move along with it. The quicker I let go of the past, the quicker I will enjoy the present. Change is not an awful thing, change can lead me toward success. Never be afraid to do something because it can stop you from getting your Cheese.


The author Spencer Johnson is telling us change is inescapable. We need to learn to embrace change, adapt to it and anticipate it. When we learn to do all that, it can have a positive impact on your health, your relationship and your work. People see change as the ending when we need to see it as the beginning. This story can help you learn to manage major life changes thoughtfully and finding a path towards your dream. When you stop being afraid you start to feel free. Some people get so comfortable with their old routine that they close themselves in a cage instead of being free from the cage.


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