The last two times I have logged on to LinkedIn, I’ve seen business insight articles like What We Can All Learn From Matthew McConaughey and The Ryan Gosling Story That Will Change The Way You Talk About Your Business popping up in the news feed.
It has made me question if I should still log into LinkedIn, or if I should just try my hand at writing one of these types of articles myself. So here goes nothing:
What We Can All Learn from Grover
By Justin Lowe, skeptical LinkedIn user
Edited by Susan Nelson
You might think you know Grover, but the real Grover started back on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 60s. The original Grover may have been a prototype with a raspier voice and different colored fur, but I mention him to make a point—you don’t become Grover overnight.
Grover is a puppet over 40 years in the making—and he’s still evolving.
But the world is not as simple as it was in the early 70s when Grover started becoming his true self. We live in a world where Starbucks can produce a decent copy of coffee in less than a minute, a plane can take us to another country in a matter of hours, and at any moment you can look at your smart phone to read the latest thoughts from Alec Baldwin.
Now while enduring a dull day at the office, we can pull out our smart phone and see Instagram shots of a friend enjoying a fantasy vacation. We might simply like the photo and be happy for our friends. But it also might make us wish we were there. It might make us want the reward without putting the work in.
It can’t be a good thing that after a long day’s work we can come home to our work-in-progress houses and watch a television show in which a dilapidated house is completely remodeled over the course of a 30-minute episode.
You see, Grover wasn’t built in a day. Grover became Grover by employing two tools that are some of the most powerful in our tool box. Need a hint? They both start with the letter P.
No, not puppet (ha ha ha). I’m talking about patience and persistence.
We have to remember that we are prototypes. Our jobs are prototypes. Even our houses are prototypes. Right now they might have raspy voices and brown colored fur, but eventually, if we keep at it, they’ll become amazing blue Grovers with fuzzy pink noses.
Which is why I bring up another word that starts with the letter P. Perfect.
We want our jobs, houses, bodies, lives to be perfect. But Grover is not perfect. Remember when Grover had to take a series of customer service jobs to make ends meet? Me neither. But I went to Grover’s wikipedia page and it’s all there:
And of course, see Sesame Street predict the state of Regal Cinemas here:
Not only did Grover work at jobs he may not have been proud of, but he wasn’t even very good at them. Did that stop Grover from becoming the Grover we know today? I don’t think so. Becoming a better version of yourself “takes as long as it takes.”
But wait, what about Super Grover? Does that mean I have to wait even longer to become the semi secret super hero version of myself?
You don’t become Super Grover by “waiting.”
Until you learn patience, you will not progress (another P!). There is no progress without patience. Case in point – it’s 2014 and we still don’t have flying cars.
Patience means having the capacity to accept or tolerate delay. It means enjoying the road trip instead of asking, “Are we there yet?”
Now let’s do a quick math equation:
Patience + Persistence = Progress.
Think of life as a marathon rather than a sprint. You have to save a little energy for the last lap. Don’t race time, thinking it will lead to progress. The truly enlightened make time their friend instead of their enemy.
One way to be persistent is to just do a little bit at a time. I used to set out to clean my entire house in one afternoon, but after several hours, I would find my house looking worse than when I started. This happened because I bit off more than I could chew. But then I learned to take on one room at a time. Say you set out to clean the bathroom, rather than the whole house, and then you take on another room after you finish the bathroom. If you go room by room like that, you’ll end up cleaning the whole house without getting overwhelmed.
But I want everything to be perfect!
Then you might as well crawl into your grave now. Perfect is what we see in magazines, in movies, and on TV screens. Perfect isn’t reality. It’s a fantasy.
Throw out the word perfect.
Embrace patience and persistence and replace perfect with progress.
Now you’re on your way.