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Dr. Seuss Day: 5 great life lessons I learned from reading the beloved children's author

Saturday marks the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. 

While Ted is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in the pages of his books. Dr. Seuss’ work remains timeless, striking a chord with readers of all ages. His vision of fueling the power of imagination, a love of learning and a passion for literacy goes unmatched. He forever changed the way children’s books were written and continues to inspire both the young and the young at heart.

In honor of this 115th birthday, I’ve identified five of the many invaluable lessons I learned from Dr. Seuss:

1. Be loyal

“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant…an elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!” – “Horton Hatches the Egg”

via GIPHY

Humans are loyal creatures, just like elephants! Loyalty is the ability to put others before yourself and be there for another person in good times and in bad. It requires honesty, support, generosity and unconditional love. Loyalty is a prized quality in any kind of relationship, and it makes for stronger and more faithful friendships. 

2. Treat everyone as an equal

“I’m quite happy to say that the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day, the day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.” – “The Sneetches”

The Sneetches teach us that being equal does not mean that we are all the same — we are all different in our own special ways. However, we also have countless qualities in common. We desire to be respected, heard and understood. Everybody should be treated equally and with dignity, no matter the circumstance.

MORE: Here are the top 10 children’s books according to USA TODAY’s best-selling books list

3. Embrace your strengths

“Shout loud, ‘I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham, or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam! I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!’” – “Happy Birthday to You!”

As a society, we have a bad habit of focusing on our weaknesses, but Dr. Seuss teaches us that one should truly embrace his or her natural gifts. Instead of focusing on “areas of improvement,” hone in on your strengths. You will be happier and more fulfilled than ever before.

4. Try new things

“‘I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.’

‘You do not like them, so you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may, I say.’” – “Green Eggs and Ham”

via GIPHY

Whether you realize it or not, you spend most of the day doing things you’ve already done hundreds, even thousands, of times before. It’s rare that we change up our routine simply for the sake of trying something new. There are countless benefits of trying new things, including overcoming fear, stimulating creativity and getting to know yourself better. So, whether it’s trying out a new hairstyle, visiting a new city or even eating green eggs and ham, get out there and try something new.

5. Be true to yourself

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” – Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You may have heard the phrase “there is no relationship more important than the one you have with yourself.” Being true to yourself starts with knowing who you are — identifying your strengths, passions and limitations. It is a life-long practice that requires commitment, because circumstances change as you grow and evolve. But if you always have faith and trust in yourself, there’s no limit to the places you will go.

As the president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Susan Brandt spearheads all business efforts while managing the global licensee portfolio, including publishing, film, theatrical, theme park, retail, promotion, digital, social and television franchises.

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