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Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Eggs_and_Ham

~For the past several Mondays I’ve been reading from the book, “Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace and Fulfillment at Work”. It’s written by Alan Lurie, a rabbi with a business background working in commercial real estate. Several years ago, Mr. Lurie was asked by his boss to deliver a weekly sermon to the staff centering on business and ethics. He has compiled several of them in this handy little book. At this point, I’ve read three of those sermons or pep-talks. This week’s, titled “Try Them, Try Them: Developing Persistence” (pgs. 38-44) was unique and inspiring enough that it has driven me to want to share the insights and lessons learned.
~Just by reading the title, you know the main point is going to be about being persistent. Well, persistence is surely playing a role in my life as I continue my job search. I’m trying to remain positive and steadfast. However, as you read further into this piece, Mr. Lurie talks about how a co-worker of his finds Dr. Seuss’s story, “Green Eggs and Ham” to be one of the best stories of effective marketing. It is pointed out that one of the messages of this great children’s story is that of persistence – to market and sell the green eggs and ham to the uninterested and highly resistant grumpy character. As we recall, Sam-I-Am tries every angle. One doesn’t work, he immediately tries another, and then another and another, until he succeeds. As a matter of fact, once he succeeds, the once resistant grumpy character discovers he actually likes the dish. Geesh, what took him so long! Ah, well this lovely end realization also provides further wisdom and points of consideration for the adult reader to ponder. Let’s continue to explore.
~Not only does Sam-I-Am teach about persistence, the author of the piece points out several other lessons. Sam is rejected multiple times. (Oh, I understand that well, right now!) Yet Sam maintains a positive attitude. He remains optimistic and he doesn’t take the rejection personally. (Hmm maybe something I need to keep practicing and reminding myself of). It’s pointed out that he keeps his ego out of the situation. (Now that’s a tough one but a good one to try to embrace. It’s not about me even when I’m trying to sell me to a potential employer. It is about them and what they need as a best fit for a position. My needs are not of their concern or awareness for that matter!) Mr. Lurie next hones in on the fact that Sam believes in his product. He believes in it enthusiastically. If he didn’t or found himself bending the truth or his ethics just to get a sale then at some point it will undermine him, his conscience and his ethics. (OK, keep enthusiastically believing in myself and what I have to offer to an employer. I know I have great skills. Stop trying to sell myself short, bend my skills or my abilities just to say I got a job offer, any job offer. Bend too much just for the sake of a job and I may find I’m in high water or hate the job. Both will bring on a living hell I’ve experienced before and it was not good for either parties involved. The best fit job is out there for me and I will find it if it doesn’t find me first!)
~Lurie takes his insights to the next level. He notes it as a “subtle, spiritual lesson on the nature of persistence”. Sam is an agent of change. Oooh, the big feared concept of change! The resistant character is actually resisting change. He would rather stay in the comfort zone of eating what he knows he likes vs. his “desire to try something adventurous and the lure of playing it safe…a refusal to enter the unknown and accept the risk that comes with changing…old ways.” As I stated earlier, once he finally succumbs and tries the dish, he finds loves it. Sam had to keep at him until he accepted the chance to try and change his opinion/experience, resulting in a positive outcome.

~Lurie then writes this passage that rings so true in my life as it has happened multiple times.

“Dr. Seuss’s book is a story about the persistence of the call to growth and change. If you have experienced this phenomenon, you know that, somehow, the same message continues to reappear in your life – perhaps in different guises, from different people and different situations – and that this message will continue to pursue you until you consent to listen and act.”

~Well, amen to that! I’ve lived it. I’ve less graciously referred to it as the Universe’s Way of trying not to hit you upside the head with a two-by-four! Personally, I’m tired of getting hit upside the head. I’m still learning to see the signs sooner that a change in my life is needed. I’m getting better but it’s a work in process. I do know that I’m better with the concept that change shouldn’t be assumed to always be bad. In fact, even if first assessed as negative, I’ve found given time that I see more positives resulted.
~To close out, I’m going to review what Mr. Lurie points out as lessons from this innocent children’s book:
1. Don’t give up.
2. When one approach fails, try something new.
3. Stay optimistic.
4. Don’t take rejection personally.
5. Believe in what you are pursuing.
6. Don’t be so resistant to change that you deny yourself something that’s good.
~All great nuggets of life’s lessons and wisdom found in such a simple story.