Who Moved My Cheese: Effect of Change is in the Hands of the Individual

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Any highly regarded philosopher would agree with the existence of the inevitable; that situations are unavoidable, and certain aspects of life are undeniably destined to occur. A good philosopher, or a defiant one, would differ from this concrete form of thinking. He’d say it’s not a matter of the inevitable vs. the avoidable, and in contrast he would think life is subject to change — and that we hold ultimate power over the outcome.

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Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese, debunks the concept of the inevitable and demonstrates that the effect of change is in the hands of the individual, and not of the universe. His novel demonstrates the profoundness of creating the changes occurring in our lives, avoiding the conventional idea of inevitability in a way that transforms an intricate topic into a simple idea. In a well composed, inspiring allegory, Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson alludes to the future being contingent on our own personal circumstances, rather than inevitability alone.

His inspiring story deals with the dilemma of two mice and two little men, searching for, acquiring, and eventually exhausting their cheese supply. Despite expending their food supply, Spencer Johnson notes that it is not inevitable for both mice and men to remain “cheeseless” forever. The mice, rational and clear headed, quickly discover a new supply after searching for new cheese. Alternatively, the men ruminate about their loss of cheese, causing them to become overly anxious and disheveled, preventing the pair from venturing out and finding new cheese. This cheese, symbolizing the most prominent desire of his audience’s lives, has the potential to be attained in other places if the men and mice are willing to search: “When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course”. Johnson’s description of the differing perceptions of change by the mice and men reaffirms the message of conquering the inevitable and asserting control over our future outcomes.

Johnson’s unconventional and abstract method of thought provides insight on how his audience can improve their perception of the “unavoidable”, ultimately enabling his audience to obtain their own “cheese” through a series of self inflicted changes. He mentions the extent to which “Imagining yourself enjoying your new cheese leads you to it”, therefore preventing his readers from being filled with self doubt, similar to the men in his story, and instead motivates his audience to be driven like mice. The more determined the characters became about acquiring the cheese, the more realistic their goal became— a lesson that goes beyond the novel.

The story ends in triumph for both mice and men, evoking inspiration in Johnson’s audience to follow the lead of the characters in the novel, debunking the concept of the inevitable and elaborating on his concept of different outcomes from taking different steps to succeed. Johnson reminds his audience of the dangers of opposing change, as he states, “If you do not change, you can become extinct”. Johnson and his abstract thinking combined have influenced a large variety of people through his captivating novel Who Moved My Cheese, guiding his audience to conquer change and assert control over their own lives, creating their own endings to the stories rather than letting the universe conclude it for them.     

29 April 2022

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