Everyone loves quotes. Everyone loves Dr. Seuss. Put the two together and we have a manifesto that we should live by.
Words of inspiration, adventure, and self-discovery can be found on every page of his books. Here are some of the best ones to keep you going.
“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
This quote is not exactly filled with depth or emotional profundity, but it’s still an important lesson in life. Too often we say the word “no” to opportunities that present themselves to us. Maybe it’s because the word “no” is usually one of the first two words we learn so it’s embedded in our brain to feel a certain comfort within it, but like Seuss says, if you haven’t done something before, try it.
Maybe you won’t like it, maybe you’ll love it, but at least you’ll know which one it is. That is better than looking back and wondering, “What if…?”The second part of the quote is something we could probably all try to do more of, and that is simply have fun.
Give yourself a recess every now and again and just cut loose, climb the monkey bars, go down a slide, enjoy some time in your day, and have fun. It’s good for you, it really is.
“Kid, you’ll move mountains.” – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
This quote is a subtle yet encouraging line from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! In a way, it summarizes what the entire story is about and this simple line can therefore have this sort of profound resonating effect on anyone who has read it (so if you haven’t, you need to!).
Essentially, this quote can have a few different meanings, one of which is the reassurance that you’ll go on to do great things. Another idea is that while it may be a slow process, eventually you’ll dig away piece by piece and move the mountain; you just need to have patience.
And another idea is in the same idea of encouragement, but rather than for us to ourselves, since the sentence begins with “Kid,” it’s as if we should be telling the younger generation some positive reinforcement. We have to let them know they will go on to do great things too, and that they should never get discouraged.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
This quote is reminiscent of that closing monologue in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button when Button (Brad Pitt) is telling his daughter through a letter about the summary of what he wants for her life. To paraphrase, he is essentially saying what Dr. Seuss is saying, that he hopes she has a good life.
He wants her to explore, to see things she has never seen, do things she has never done, to learn and grow, gain new perspectives, and if at any time she finds that she is unhappy, simply pick up and start all over again.
It is up to us what we make of our life, where we go, and what we do. We have the knowledge to figure things out, and we have the mobility to get there, so what would hold us back? The world is your oyster—go find the pearl.
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
If you go through life with your eyes closed, meaning you fall into the trap of the mundane, then you’ll surely miss the best things life has to offer.
We tend to close our eyes in moments of fear, but what if we didn’t? What if those moments that frighten us are actually moments that define us, that push us to the edge and let us see things differently?
It’s the lesson we hear all the time: face your fear and you’ll learn that you really had to reason to be scared in the first place. Even in a more simple explanation of the quote, we could take it that Dr. Seuss is simply telling us to appreciate all the moments we are given, the little hints of flawless beauty we often overlook.
Our eyes don’t even have to be shut these days, because they’re hidden behind phones, or cameras. We are told that we should take things in moderation, well, that applies to keeping our eyes open, and focused on what is around us as well. Phones down, cameras away, eyes open. Enjoy those moments that could become one of the best things.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss
If only we knew this as children, right? It’s odd how we grow up always wanting to fit in, and never wanting to stand out or be different. In school, kids can be so mean to anyone who doesn’t fit the norm so we all seek acceptance and conform to the idea of what we think we should be.
We wear the right clothes, have the right hair, try to do the right activities, and then, as if overnight, a switch turns on, not off, and we realize that we’ve been wrong this entire time.
We don’t want to fit in; we don’t want to be like everyone else. We want to be unique, colorful, and different. We want to be us. The real us. And the real us stands out because we are ourselves, and no one else in the world is exactly like us. It’s a wonderful moment to finally embrace that.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss
It’s kind of funny to think Dr. Seuss wrote children’s books and yet these quotes are so profound. His quotes continue to bring meaning and depth into my life as if they’re a “Best Of” column of life coach advice. This quote reminds me of lyric from the band The Fray that goes, “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” I know, I just quoted The Fray and Dr. Seuss in the same paragraph, my apologies, but there is a link between these thoughts.
It’s the idea that in life we are given an encyclopedia of endless amounts of choices to make, and we are expected to know what to do in every situation. We have to know which way to go at every single turn, even though it’s not just one fork in the road—it’s a buffet of forks! But that’s the thing, maybe the question brings in all the words of the encyclopedia, and all the forks from the buffet, but the answer is simple.
It may be simple because you muster up and give it a yes or no, or it may be simple because while the question is loaded, the answer comes from your gut, or your heart, or your soul. You just have to have the courage to accept it. And sometimes, that is the hardest part.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss can lay some heavy quotes in between writing One Fish, Two Fish and Green Eggs and Ham. I’ll never forget the first time I truly learned this lesson. In high school it’s easy to chalk moments up and let them go because your life is so cyclical, and then even a little in college, as you’re still in this youthful bubble. However, those years after college when you’re trying to find your way into the next chapter of life without any guidebook, well, that’s where it hit me.
I was backpacking in Thailand and met a girl, and before saying a word, I just kind of knew something was about to happen. Our travel groups merged, and we all ended up going on the same three-day trek through the jungle. What else do you do when you’re trekking but talk and get to know one another? We were sleeping in tents, telling stories around a campfire, and it felt as if Neverland actually existed. Then, I blinked, and it was over.
She lived in England and I had to go home to the U.S. So, as our little family of friends all hugged each other goodbye to grab our next boat, train, or plane to our next spot, it hit me, Neverland was over, and I didn’t even realize it had begun.
From that moment on I’ve tried to make a serious effort to know when a good thing is happening and take a few deep breaths, look around, maybe take a picture, and hold that moment somewhere safe in the deep confines of my mind.