Aside from ‘Red Fish, Blue Fish,” and other novel words in Dr. Seuss’ over 40 children’s books, he’s made some remarkable comments that even adults might want to ruminate on.
“And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)”
I love this quote because nothing is certain in life. We get no 100 percent guarantees on anything – our relationships, our careers, nothin’. With a 98 and ¾ percent guarantee though, which really just amounts to a positive outlook, we can achieve almost anything. Who needs a sure thing? That’d be too boring anyhow. Life stays interesting when we know that it is likely we’ll reach our goal, but we don’t truly know the final outcome. So – take that chance, you just might succeed after all!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”
Apathy is the opposite of passion and sensitivity concerning other people’s challenges. If we keep waiting for others to change the world, it will never happen. We have to care, first. All action springs from that feeling of compassion. Dr. Seuss was so right to point this out.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”
Some of the most depressed people in history were those that tried to fit in, when that simply wasn’t their purpose. We are all guilty of being a ‘caged’ persona. Psychologist William James said, “A man has as many social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares. He generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups.” You can imagine how this might cause mental and emotional unrest. Conversely, when we really let our ‘freak flag fly’ and be who we really are, all that frustration of not fitting in simply fades. We also get the added boon of finding out what makes our life worth living to us – and stop trying to cram our lives into a tiny box that meet the demands of our families, our friends, our colleagues, or even total strangers who are just trying to fit in too.
“If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
A nurse that gave care to thousands on their deathbeds revealed what peoples’ most common regrets were. They included:
Working too much, and not having fun.
Caring what other people thought too much.
Not revealing how they really felt.
Not staying in touch with friends.
Not allowing themselves to be happy, and staying in their ‘comfort’ zones.
If you never did – you should. Have fun. Life is too short, and you don’t want to have regrets when it is time for you to go.
“It’s better to know how to learn than to know.”
Dr. Seuss and Einstein were of the same mind. Einstein said that imagination was more important than knowledge. That’s because you can know a million facts, but if you don’t make space in your brain for new ideas, and new ways of seeing the world, those facts end up being pretty useless.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
The solutions to poverty, pollution, global warming, drought, homelessness, relationship problems, and even global politics are usually a lot more simple than we want to admit. Love more. Be selfish less. Give more, take less. Pray and meditate more. Take small steps. Be the change you want to see, etc., etc. These all seem like over-simplified sayings but they work, and they are more effective than all the complex solutions we can come up with that don’t ever really address the root problems in this world.
“It’s opener there in the wide open air.”
If temperature and lighting are scientifically proven to affect our productivity, imagine what being in the wide air under a perfect sky, and surrounded by trees, with wind flying through our hair can do to all those neural synapses. Being in green spaces – wide open, natural and free – makes us happier, improves our memory, and induces creativity. It is TRULY opener there, in the wide open air.
“I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells.”
We all take ourselves so seriously. Laughter not only brings levity to a tense situation, it also helps to boost our immunity, and creates new neuronal activity in the brain. It helps us find novel solutions to seemingly impossible problems. It helps us connect with others. Laughing gives us a new perspective and even counteracts depression. Without a little nonsense, how we ever let go?
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss is emphasizing gratitude here. We can lament times that have passed, good ones and bad ones alike, but the good memories are a gift, just as much as the bad ones. People who treated us badly helped us grow some gumption, and those who helped us laugh and love more will always be in our hearts. What a gift.
“So, open your mouth lad, for every voice counts!”
Silence is often construed as complicit approval. When we don’t stand up for ourselves, or others who can’t stand up for themselves, we silently allow behaviors and actions that shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
Silence also suggests that you don’t care. Being honest, and speaking up even when it may be difficult shows others that you are invested.
By speaking out, you may even find that others feel the same way you do, but were afraid to speak their minds. By sharing your thoughts and ideas, you give people an opportunity to do the same. Every voice really does count.