Lessons Learned from Dr. Seuss
"Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!" – Dr. Seuss
When I was a kid, Dr. Seuss was a constant source of inspiration for me. His stories filled my head with endless possibilities.
Between Great Day for Up and The Cat in the Hat, I was pretty much prepared for making the most of any day. I think his real masterpiece though was Oh! the Places You’ll Go! This is the book that convinced me I could move mountains and that life is what you make of it.
21 Lessons Learned from Dr. Seuss
There are so many great lessons from Dr. Seuss. Each of his book is such a treasure trove of ideas and actions for a better life. What I did here is boil down a set of 21 lessons that highlight his key themes across his works and quotes:
1. Be a thinker of great things.
Dr. Seuss teaches us, “Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
2. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Sometimes you just don’t know what you’ve got until after it’s gone. In Bartholomew and the Ooblek, King Didd got what he wished for, but the sticky Ooblek goo was worse than the fog, snow, sunshine, and rain that it replaced. The King quickly wanted his old weather back and he learned to appreciate it.
3. Be your best you.
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Make the most of what you’ve got. In Yertle the Turtle, we see “feather envy” and it’s a gentle reminder to be careful what you wish for and appreciate what you’ve got.
4. Bend your world in wonderful ways.
Nobody bends it like the Cat in the Hat. From the metaphors you use, to the thinks that you think, you can shape your world that’s right in front of you.
5. Don’t put yourself in a box.
You’re only limited by your own imagination. The Cat in the Hat teaches us how to let our imaginations run wild.
6. Don’t waste your time worrying who’s better than who.
In Yertle the Turtle, Dr. Seuss teaches us that “You have better things to do than argue who’s better than who.”
7. Dream it and do it.
You can move mountains when you put your mind to it. Direct your life like a blockbuster and make things happen.
8. Edutainment wins over boring and ho-hum.
With whacky words, wondrous worlds, and fantastical characters, Dr. Seuss taught us the edutainment is how you change a child’s life. Reading is only boring if you make it so.
9. Kindle your curiosity.
Keep your mind open and your eyes peeled. Stay curious and follow your growth.
10. Life happens in moments at a time.
Don’t miss out on life by tuning out the little things along the way.
11. Own your fun.
There’s more to do than play in the rain. When you’re bored, you’re boring. The Cat in the Hat teaches us to be the maker of our own fun. Make each day your own special blend of whatever it is that best floats your boat.
12. Play at your day.
You can play at your day, in every way.
13. Persistence pays off.
Be relentless in your pursuit of things. In Green Eggs and Ham, it was through persistence that Sam-I-Am finally got the unnamed character to try the green eggs and ham. In real life, Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.
14. Treat people fairly and squarely.
In The Sneetches and Other Stories, Dr. Seuss shows us that we can’t judge people by their lot in life or whether they have a star on their belly. In Yertle the Turtle, it’s a reminder not to climb over people on your way to the top, because they’re same people you’ll see on your way back down.
15. Try it … you just might like it.
In Green Eggs and Ham, when the unnamed character was surprised to find out that he actually likes green eggs and ham once he tried them. You just never know until you try.
16. Saying you’re sorry can help make things right.
In Bartholomew and the Oobleck, when the king finally said the magic words, “I’m sorry,” and “it’s all my fault,” he helped make things right again.
17. See the bright side of things.
It’s a great day for up, when you can see the sunny side of things. Sure sometimes you’ll have to work at it, but positivity is a skill. Do it daily.
18. Setbacks happen.
Deal with them and move on. Make trouble think twice about messing with you.
19. Some people are much more unlucky than you.
When you’re down in the dumps and things get real bad, remind yourself that somewhere, somehow, someway … somebody is much “more unlucky than you.”
20. Success is a journey and we all have our own paths.
Make your journey count. Don’t let fear stop you. Don’t let conventional wisdom stop you. Lead the life you want to live, and when there’s no path, make one.
21. Your voice counts.
In Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss shows us how one little voice can tip the scale … after all, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Quotes by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss has so many quotable quotes, from enjoying your day to being more you. He has such a way with words. Even when he reminds us of something we already know, he has a way of saying it that makes an old song sound new.
Here is a sprinkling of some of my favorite quotes:
- Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
- Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
- Only you can control your future.
- So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.
- The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
- Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
- Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
- Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
- You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.
- You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
It’s inspirational gold. There is nobody youer than you, and the more that you learn the more places you’ll go. Bravo.
For more quotes, check out my Dr. Seuss Quotes page.
Books by Dr. Seuss
One of the best ways to get to know Dr. Seuss is through his books. Here is a round up of his books::
What has Dr. Seuss taught you about life?