The Hidden Lesson of Green Eggs and Ham
Posted on 2/26/2012 by Jason
I’ve never appreciated Dr. Seuss more than since having kids. He made books as enjoyable for adults as they are for children. Hands down, I rather read ANY Dr. Suess book over the Disney Princess Golden Books that have been the focus of Lucy’s recent attention. The former is fun to read, the latter comes off like a lifeless book report of an otherwise entertaining movie. (Just the facts, ma’am.) After reading Cinderella for the seven hundredth time, there are only two possible forms of relief: either a cannonball to the face or a reading of Hop on Pop.
You may have heard that Dr. Seuess’ birthday is March 2, which is this Friday. I hope you will do something worthwhile to celebrate, such as preparing a bit of green eggs, perhaps.
Speaking of green eggs, have you heard the legend that Green Eggs and Ham was written on a bet? It’s no legend, it’s true. After writing The Cat in the Hat using only 233 words, Seuss’ editor bet him that he could not write a book using no more than 50 words. Seuss won the bet when he wrote the now classic tale about some oddly-colored proteins.
Which brings me to an important lesson. And no, it’s not that you should try new things in a box or with a fox. You see, Green Eggs and Ham is Dr. Seuss’ best-selling book of all time. And it contained fewer words than any of the others.
Although it goes against what we learned in kindergarten, sometimes less is more.
During the Civil War, Edward Everett, who was considered one of the great orators of the day, gave a speech that lasted two hours. But no one remembers it, because it was overshadowed by Abraham Lincoln’s, who used just ten sentences to deliver his Gettysburg Address.
But this lesson applies to more than words.
Less clutter is more space. Keeping your house, bedroom, or office desk free from clutter leads to more clarity and more space in your head.
Less activity is more freedom. Not saying yes to every invitation, working fewer hours, and limiting how many extra curriculars your kids are involved in leads to more family time and the freedom to do more things that feed you.
Less disruption is more productivity. Close your office door and turn off email alerts and you’ll get more done. Turn off the TV at dinner and your conversations will be more fruitful.
Less stuff is more experience. Spending less on the newest fashions, furnishings and gadgets gives you more money to make memories and create scenes.
We here have made a mission out of believing that less stress is more fun.
And apparently, less Disney Princess Golden Books is more sanity.
Are you looking for more of something in your life? Space? Money? Productivity? Freedom? Family Time? Fun? Maybe the answer lies in doing less of something else.
[ Green Eggs and Ham. Acrylic and ink on newspaper insert. 11 x 14 inches. ]