Dr. Seuss is an oft-quoted author that published over 40 books, many of which have been made into films, and have even been studied in university classrooms. This is a collection Seuss quotes that have the power to change the world if their message is heeded. Simple and poignant at the same time, that is what he was famous for, and is on display. Enjoy!
“Kid, you’ll move mountains!”
No need to get intimidated by the size of the task, it’s just a matter of taking small steps towards your bigger goal. Moving a mountain may sound impossible, but you don’t actually have to move one, it’s just a figure of speech. But there must be a mountain-sized task that you’re facing in your life that feels like you’ll never be able to do. But just imagine if you actually did do it.
How would you feel? How would it change your life? It may sound impossible at first, but the more you think about it, the more you come up with ways that it can be done. Just start chipping away at it, and with enough time and patience you’ll see that it becomes manageable.
“And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”
Of course there are no 100% guarantees in life, but when you have a positive mindset like the one this quote instills you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting it right. Success begins in the mind, and if you go in with a defeatist attitude you’ll surely come up short. Just think of what you could accomplish if you had the belief that you would succeed. You don’t need to be completely assured of success, it’s good to have a bit of a possibility of failure or it wouldn’t be interesting. Just go into it with the confidence that there’s a high chance of success for you.
“Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind!”
You’ve got to keep moving forward and progressing because there are plenty of things in the world to discover. Also, if you lead the way you get to control what it is you find, rather than finding things someone else thinks is interesting. The view from behind is not a very good view, as the person in front of you is blocking most of it. So get out in front and face things head on. You’ll find that it’s much more fascinating, and there is plenty more to see.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Here’s a clever rhyme to get you motivated, realizing that things get done in the world by people who care, who try, and who give their best to what they’re doing. Look around and you’ll see that if no one cared an awful lot, not much would get done, and nothing would have ever improved. It’s easy not to care about things, because a whole lot of things need changing and it can be overwhelming. But if you focus your attention on one thing that needs improvement in your own world, you can make a measurable difference just by amping up the amount of care put towards it.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
This applies to all of us, we were all born to stand out in our own unique way. Unfortunately it’s very easy to fit in, do what everyone else is doing, and get what everyone else gets. Standing out can come in many forms, you can give a standout performance, or you can simply hold ideas and beliefs that are uncommon and go against the grain. So don’t be content just to do things the way everyone else is doing it, stand out like you were meant to!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Here’s a nice breakdown of what it takes to get places. The brains in your head give your body the directions it needs to take you where you want to go. You just have to know where it is you want to go. Determining your destination is priority one. What the brain can dream up, the body can fulfill as long as there is a strong determination and a clear vision of what it is that is wanted. The great part is that this is all up to you, you have plenty of choices, and there are countless directions that you can head.
“If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
It’s great to get out there and try new things, and this phrase reminds us that fun things are out there waiting for us if we just seek them out. Fun is good, and it leads to happy feelings, and that is really the key to having success in life. Make it a point to try new things. They won’t all be fun, but it’s a sorting out process and you have to try many things to figure out which ones you like.
“Think and wonder, wonder and think.”
In today’s world of multimedia flooding our senses at all times, it’s important to take time to just think. Unplug a bit and ponder big thoughts. There are so many movies, TV shows, video games, and music that fill our heads with someone else’s thoughts that it’s vital to clear your mind on occasion and see what your own thoughts are. Wonder about where you’re going, think about what you want. Ponder the great mystery of life and see what you come up with.
“You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?”
You have to be comfortable in your own skin, and this reminds us that it’s great to be ourselves. There’s no one else we can possibly be, and it’s a pleasant thought to think that it’s pleasant to be yourself. Being happy to be you is key to a happy existence, and it really doesn’t make any sense to be less than pleased to be you. There isn’t any way to be anyone else, but if there are things about yourself that you don’t really like, you can make changes to improve yourself and get to a point where you can agree with the quote above.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Leaders are readers, no doubt about that. Reading helps you learn about whatever it is you want to know about. You can study up on an exotic travel destination, or a new method of doing business. There will always be those willing to share their knowledge with you, and this gives you a jump on the situation so you can have as much information as possible. Reading and learning really are the ticket to getting around the globe.
“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”
Don’t be afraid to keep your eyes open and take it all in. There is much to be seen, but if your eyes are closed you’ll miss it. In the story Seuss says that there are plenty of things to learn about, so he may be referring to the fact that there’s so much in the world to discover, but many of us don’t bother to learn about it, so it’s the equivalent of going through life with our eyes shut. It could be a way of saying we need to rekindle that love of learning and start discovering the world like we did when we were children.
“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”
Not just funny things, but fun things. It’s sometimes hard to see funny and joyful things in the world around you, but if you specifically look for them, they’re there. Life is like a buffet and you can take the things you want and leave the things you don’t. There are always equal amounts of everything, it’s just a matter of what you choose to let into your awareness. And this is true across the globe, you can go pretty much anywhere and see people having fun and enjoying themselves, while others in the same place might not be having as much fun. It’s up to you to seek out the fun in life.
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
No matter how complicated we make the questions, the answers remain simple. It may be human nature to want to make life seem more complicated than it really is. Our brains have evolved so much, and we’re able to think thoughts on a level that far surpasses the other animal life on the planet, but the true nature of things remains what it was millions of years ago and what it will be millions of years from now.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
It’s funny to think about thinking. It seems like it’s something that just happens on autopilot, and not something that you can control. Realizing that you’re actually in control of your thoughts, and you can think deep thoughts or not-so-deep thoughts, happy thoughts or sad thoughts on command, it becomes clear that it’s your responsibility to think the thoughts you want to think. Seuss seems to be encouraging you to think in all sorts of different ways, and different directions so that you can scour the mind for really amazing ideas.
“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”
This is not from a book, but is rather from Dr. Seuss himself. Here he points out the importance of fantasy, which his books all seem to delve into. From the way they talk to the way they look, his characters forced readers to escape into the world he dreamt up. Seuss himself even said that he wouldn’t show up to a dinner party with his characters, as they’re too zany and unpredictable. It also seems like he’s saying that fantasy helps you turn the focus inward, rather than outward, you learn about yourself in the process.
“Oh, the thinks you can think!”
There are so many things that you can think about, so many ideas you can come up with. It’s fascinating to think about just how much you can think about. Love, health, money, career, entertainment, it’s all buzzing around your head and shaping the sort of life you’re having. With so much to think about it becomes clear that you have to pick and choose your thoughts. You can’t think about everything all at once or you’ll fry your brain. You become what you think about most of the time, so be sure to keep your thoughts on what you want.
“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”
Sometimes things start to happen and we didn’t plan for them, or we weren’t expecting them. But it’s times like these that you just have to get moving as well, move with those things so that you can ride them out rather than having them run you over. Grow to the situation, don’t let the situation grow out of control. Spending time worrying about it, or pouting about it isn’t going to make matters any better. This is perhaps Seuss’s way of saying go with the flow rather than against it.
“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.”
They say it’s lonely at the top, and it’s because everyone up there is flying higher and higher. They say that success breeds success, so the higher you go the higher you go as long as you keep your sights upward.
“Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!”
This is pulled from the book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? in which Seuss breaks down all of the situations you might not want to find yourself in. It can help you appreciate just how lucky you are to be in the situation you are in, when compared to some of the places and predicaments you might have ended up in. It’s easy enough to throw a pity party for yourself, but if you count your blessings you’ll find that you’ll have more blessings to count as time goes on.
“With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.”
It’s good to stay on the straight and narrow, and avoid the calamities that can come from doing things that you know will lead to trouble. Here Seuss expands on his previous talk of having brains in your head and feet in your shoes, where he says you can go in any direction you choose. By being smart you’ll take a pass on paths that would have led to a dead end. You’ll opt for better paths, which will lead you to better places more quickly, and if you end up in a jam you’re smart enough to know how to get yourself out of it.
“It is better to know how to learn than to know.”
If you know how to learn, you can pretty much learn anything you need to know. So rather than have your head filled with a bunch of things you don’t absolutely need to know, it’s better to have the skill of being able to get the information you need rather than to overload the brain. In today’s world of search engine’s it’s easier than ever to get what you need to know, rather than trying to memorize every little tidbit and factoid.
“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”
It can sometimes be overwhelming to think that you’re on you’re own in the world, but at the same time it gives you the freedom to choose your own path. You’ve amassed some knowledge at this point, and you are making decisions based on that knowledge. No one else will be able to make your decisions for you, no matter how much advice you get. You’ll ultimately be the one that chooses where you’ll end up.
“It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.”
Knowing how to have fun is vital to having fun, no doubt. Surely you have plenty of experiences where you’ve had fun, so that know-how is within you. If you feel like you haven’t been having as much fun lately as you want to, it’s just a matter of tapping into those times when you had fun, and figuring out why exactly it was fun, and then repeating the process. Also, if you find that you don’t know how to have fun easily, just practice. It’s something you can learn to do, it just involves giving it a try on a regular basis.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”
Moments are always coming and going, so it’s sometimes hard to tell how important a moment is until it has past. They say hindsight is 20/20 and that’s because as you go through life it becomes clear which moments shape your life and which ones don’t. Some big moments are easy to see the value, while others might not seem important at the time, but later you’ll find out that’s when everything changed.
“Only you can control your future.”
It’s sometimes hard to remember that you’re the one controlling where you’re going in life. It’s also easy to forget that what you’re doing right now, today, is shaping what’s coming to you in the future. It’s fascinating to think that the thoughts you’re having right now, and the actions you’re taking today are molding the kind of future you’ll have.
“So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!”
Say what you need to say, because your voice matters but only if it is used and heard. If you find that you don’t say as much as you want to because you don’t think your voice counts, this quote will remind you that it’s important for you to express your opinion, as it is just as valid as the next person’s.
“Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”
Life is a great balancing act, and it’s important to choose your steps carefully. At the same time you don’t want to worry so much that you don’t take those steps in the first place. Step carefully, but step. Step tactfully, taking care not to disrupt the balance of your life. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, just be aware of how it is going to affect the other areas of your life.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
This is one of the most popular quotes by Dr. Seuss, and perhaps it’s because it’s so true, and such a witty way of saying it. There really isn’t anyone out that that’s more you than you are. It’s something that can be said about your for your entire life. No one else can think for you, can do your work for you, and experience happiness for you, it’s all up to you, and you put your own mark on your life.
“Everything stinks till it’s finished.”
This quick quote is designed to remind you that most everything can be difficult and a challenge until it’s wrapped up and you can give yourself a gold star for the accomplishment. Seth Godin talks about it in his book The Dip, where most things in life are a bit exciting at first, but then quickly wane and then get challenging and boring until finally you make it through “the dip” and it all turns out good at the end and gets exciting and fun again.
“You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.”
It’s good to take stock of the sort of shape you’re in from time to time. This may refer to your physical shape, your financial shape, or your emotional shape. No matter how you interpret it, this is a nice pick-me-up to think about each day. No matter what shape you’re in, it’s pretty good, and can also get better. It’s a way of saying that there’s room for improvement but also that things aren’t all that bad right now.
“Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
Today could be the day that you pull off the feat that gets you into the history books. Having the mentality that it could be is the only way it can really happen. Make sure you bring the same positive expectations to each day of your life. There’s no better time than today to do the things that you’ll be remembered for.
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So get on your way!”
Today is your day because it’s always today. What a great way to get your engine’s revved up for a fun and productive day. The mountain that’s being referred to is from the quote “Kid, you’ll move mountains!”, and so he’s saying that the mountain that needs to be moved is waiting for you. Whatever that mountain is is for you to decide. It’s different for each person but will represent a big goal in your life that is going to take strength, perseverance, and massive belief to accomplish.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
It’s good to remember that everyone deserves the same respect, no matter their size, the way they look, or their place of residence.
“Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
Turn the tables on your troubles! This quote helps you see that your troubles should be afraid of you, not the other way around. All too often it seems we let our troubles get the better of us. But troubles are only troubles if you let them be, and they really only exist in your mind. The more you think about your troubles, the more troubles you can expect. In this story the character is going to take a baseball bat to his troubles. Why not stamp out some troubles in your own mind. Give your troubles some trouble!
“It’s opener there in the wide open air.”
At this point in the story the character veers off the beaten path and starts making his way into the great wide open. This is Seuss’s way of saying that you don’t always have to follow prepared paths in life, and that if you break with convention you’ll find a lot more freedom in what you can do, and where you can go. The world is wide open if you just take a stand and make your own way.
“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”
It’s not going to be sunny everyday, which is why it’s important to know that you can still have fun. Perhaps the analogy is that life is not always going to go the way you plan, conditions aren’t always going to be perfect for having a good time, but if you apply yourself you can still feel good and make the most out of it. Be prepared for some rocky or not-so-fun times and have a plan in place for how to deal with them so you can still feel good and make the most of it.
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
Wash, rinse, repeat seems to be the message here. Don’t let the good times stop! It’s great to have fun, but don’t forget to set it up so that you’ll have fun tomorrow. Fun doesn’t have to be something reserved only for certain times or certain days, it should be something you strive for on a consistent basis. By expecting to have fun, you’re shifting your mindset so that fun things can come into your life. Often it seems that tomorrow seems dreadful, or you’re not looking forward to something on the horizon. It could be that you just need to have more fun in the now, rather than spending so much time thinking of what’s to come.
(Read this next: 55 Motivational Quotes That Can Change Your Life)
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