The new Muppet movie was just released and their marketing has been all over everything from OPI nail polish to Wired magazine for weeks to build hype. It’s been the ridiculous kind of blatant overmarketing that usually drives me nuts. And yet here I am, shamelessly contributing to it.
But I can’t help it. I love it. I just love the Muppets.
There is something so unique and special about the Muppets. And I don’t just mean how a character’s entire town breaks into song and dance whenever he has the whim. The Muppets are the perfect mix, a pinch of playful parody blended with a generous heaping of optimism and quirky characters.
I think we should all be more like the Muppets. Sometimes I wish I was a Muppet. And so, without further ado, my five-step guide to living like a Muppet.
5. Surround yourself with characters.
The Muppets wouldn’t be the Muppets if they weren’t such a strange, lovable bunch of weirdos. Each is a unique character in his own right, no explanation given (or needed). Can you imagine the Muppets without the eccentricity? Who would watch that? Surrounding yourself with people who do not quite fit in the mold will challenge you to broaden your horizons and think differently.
4. Believe in the people around you.
No doubt about it, the Muppets believe in each other. They are always there to catch each other when they fall, lose their confidence or tell a bad joke. Especially for creatives, I think this is so, so important. And you have the power to create this kind of atmosphere with your circle by taking this first step and encouraging it in those around you.
3. Return the favor to yourself.
There would never be a Muppet Show if the Muppets didn’t believe in themselves enough to be their weirdo selves and get up on stage and share it with the world. This same kind of confidence is also crucial for success in real life.
There is an element of that classic fairy tale, Disney-style magic in the Muppets. No matter how awful things get along the way, no matter how hopeless the situation becomes, even when time has run out and they’ve come up short, they never, ever stop believing. Believing that good will prevail, that somehow they can reach their goal if they work hard enough and stick together … belief that even if they don’t, they still have each other and everything will be okay. If you’re going to make a career off your imagination, you’re going to have to believe in that magic too.
1. Be a weirdo.
The Muppets are a bunch of weirdos. There’s no way around it, and it comes up in their movies again and again. Yup. Weirdos. It’s what makes them special and it’s what gives them their magnetism. My favorite people in life have been total weirdos. And some of the world’s most successful people are weirdos, too. Look at Steve Jobs and his obsessive need for perfection. Look at Lady Gaga and her over-the-top costumes. Look at Elvis. People don’t mind a few charismatic quirks. In fact, they’re drawn to it. Don’t be afraid to wave your weirdo flag high.
And by the way, I saw the movie already. It was everything I hoped it would be. And between all the manufactured hype and my own childhood nostalgia, the standards were really, really high. See it!