Amazing Tips to Deal with Change

How Do You Deal With Change? Insights from the book Who Moved My Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable about change that reveals profound truths. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a “Maze” and look for “Cheese” to nourish them and make them happy.

“Cheese” is a metaphor for what you want to have in life — whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, health, or spiritual peace of mind. And the “Maze” is where you look for what you want — the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in. In the story, the characters are faced with unexpected change. Eventually, one of them deals with it successfully, and writes what he has learned from his experience on the Maze walls.

“When you come to see “The Handwriting on the Wall,” you can discover for yourself how to deal with change, so that you can enjoy less stress and more success (however you define it) in your work and in your life.”  – Spencer Johnson, January 6, 2009

Who Moved My Cheese Story Overview

  • Characters – The fable of Who Moved My Cheese? Tells the story of four individuals and how each of them deals with change. You have the two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and then you have the two ‘Little people’ Hem and Haw.
  • The Setting – The concept of the story is that our four characters find a large supply of cheese in the maze that they live in. They get very used to the cheese being in the same place every day, Cheese Station C.
  • Surprise! – One day when they come to Cheese Station C, it is completely empty. Now Sniff and Scurry had paid attention to the condition of the cheese and were prepared for this. They immediately set back out into the maze to look for New cheese, adapting quickly.
  • Uncomfortable. – However, Hem and Haw were very upset that their cheese was not where it was supposed to be. They had become comfortable and felt entitled that their cheese would always be in Cheese Station C.
  • Let’s Change! – Time passed and Haw realized that they would also need to venture back out into the Maze to look for New Cheese. Hem did not like this and refused to budge from Cheese Station C.
  • Does This Smell? – Haw decided to start out on his own to look for the New Cheese. He left several messages on the walls along the way. Hoping to guide his friend Hem. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.
  • On An Adventure! – The farther that Haw explored, the more he realized about change, and finding his New Cheese. When you move beyond your fear, you feel free! When you change what you believe, you change what you do!
  • New Cheese! – After exploring the maze, Haw finally found New Cheese at Cheese Station N. His friends Sniff and Scurry were already there enjoying the New Cheese. Haw realized that change happens. They keep moving the cheese!

As long as he paid attention to the writing on the wall. He would be better prepared for change.

Change Happens.  They keep moving the cheese!

Can you read the handwriting on the wall?

  • Anticipate change. Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old!
  • Enjoy change, savor the adventure, and enjoy the taste of New Cheese!
  • Adapt to change quickly! The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy New Cheese!
  • Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again…They keep moving the cheese!

The Characters and Their Roles in Dealing with Change

  1. Sniff – Sniff is the Innovator of the story.  The one who sniffed out the situation and say the changes early. He sniffs and looks ahead; anticipates changes.
  2. Scurry – Scurry is the Producer.  Scurry went into action immediately as soon as the change started. Scurries ahead and bumps into change.
  3. Hem – Hem is the Stabilizer.  Hem would like to stay in familiar territory. One who denies to change as he fears it will lead to something worse To discuss, deliberate, or contemplate rather than taking action or making up one’s mind.
  4. Haw – Haw, the Unifier also wanted to stay in familiar territory, but eventually realized that he would have to seek out New cheese and change. Who learns to adapt in time when he sees change can lead to something better! If you hem and haw long enough, someone else will do it first.

Which one are you when it comes to dealing with change?

  1. Sniff = The Innovator
  2. Scurry = The Producer
  3. Hem = The Stabilizer
  4. Haw = The Unifier

Life Lessons from “Who Moved My Cheese


Change is happening everywhere.  We do better when we can adapt to it quickly. Are you afraid of change? Do you think other people are afraid of change? Sometimes we’re not even aware that we are afraid.


Don’t just manage your daily problems as they come up. Make sure to look ahead, paying attention to where you are going.  This is managing when you should be leading. Avoid taking yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself, change what you are doing, and do better.


Always remember that change happens; to anticipate the change, monitor the change, enjoy the change, be ready to adapt and change quickly, and most importantly.


Amanda Wash
Director of QA and Learning & Development

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