Happy Dr. Seuss Day
March 2nd 2016
Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Theodore Seuss Geissel – the famous Dr. Seuss. His children’s writing is world famous, and most high school and college graduations are sprinkled with gift copies of his “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” written just over 25 years ago. Dr. Seuss wrote this book when he knew he was dying of cancer. For all the fame of the Grinch or The Cat in the Hat, this was Dr. Seuss’s best-selling book. In a new book, “Stretch, How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace,” authors Karie Willyerd and Barbar Mistick tackle the question of how to stay relevant in our work lives. The challenges brought forth by globalization, big data, advances in technology, people living longer, and a hyper-competitive workforce make it easier to throw in the towel than ever before. Skill sets that were in high demand a decade ago may now done be performed a machine.
So on this Dr. Seuss Day, please consider this an invitation to pause and reflect, not just on the brilliant work of an author and illustrator, but on the fact that his greatest work came at the very end of his life. As famous and influential as he was, he published his best-selling work - his most influential work - at 86 years of age – as he knew his life was coming to an end – the literal and figurative pinnacle of his career. We can all only hope to do the same in life and work.
In conjunction with and celebration of Dr. Seuss, today is also the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. Improving literacy around the world serves everyone, and tomorrow is World Book Day. We all know the value that literacy brings, especially if you’ve read this far J
In the Uruk period, 4000-3100 BC, Egyptian cuneiforms contained early clay or stone markings, done with a reed stylus or stone etching. These pictograms were game-changers, because stories and lessons of kings and gods, animals and plants, names and histories could be shared across time and distance without the need for a human storyteller. We take it for granted today, but think of the magic that a simple voicemail message contains – traveling across time and space with our own voice to share at another’s convenience. This is what writing and reading unlocked for the ancients.
As we think about the future workplace, it’s hard to place a value on our ability as humans to read. TED Talks, YouTube, and Skype all leverage digital video as a means to share knowledge. The future of augmented reality with Hololens and Occulus Rift may advance that further. Yet worldwide, people worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in just this year alone. That's almost 23 billion messages per day, or almost 16 million messages per minute.(Portio Research) Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day. So reading is still quite fundamental (RIF.ORG) to human communication – and likely always will be. There is nothing better than curling up with a good book – or the dopamine shot that lights up your brain from the text of a loved one. Words still matter, and they always will.
Dr. Seuss would have turned 102 today. Much of his work was done using the anapestic tetrameter literary style of old English writers – supposedly influenced by the rhythm of the engines during his time in the Navy. We can all apply this to our lives – two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” follows the same pattern.
Take some time to read to your kids today – or find a chance to read to others – or buy a book to support those who write for a living. This is an important day – and while we honor Dr. Seuss, we can use his success as a model for our own – to go out on top. As of this writing, we don’t know what Peyton will do, but we can all reflect on Dr. Seuss with a smile and a dream of our own.
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
So... be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!