Mister Rogers and Quotes to Live By

Last week, Monica posted her reaction to a film we saw together, “Mister Rogers & Me.” I interviewed filmmaker Benjamin Wagner before the New York premiere and was excited to finally see the film he had been working on for the past seven years.  As a result, Monica and I walked out of the theater inspired and with a new outlook on life. Below are 10 takeaway quotes that left a mark on me.

1. “Deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”

The premise behind the film, when Wagner explained his position at MTV, Mister Rogers simply responded, “You know Benjamin, I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” In the end, life isn’t about material things. It’s about the relationships you have with one another and yourself.

2. “There’s something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

Throughout the film, those closest to Rogers explained that he left a great impact after their first encounter. His ability to focus on the person he was talking to as if they were the only person that mattered to him was unlike any other. When you’re in conversation with someone, look them in the eyes. Don’t scan the room for who is passing by or check your phone for email updates. Be completely focused and attentive.

3. “Human life is very deep and our modern lifestyle is not.”

At the end of the day, life is about the deep connections you make. “The movie really looks at media but it’s also looking at culture and values and choices we make about materialism, reflection, and quiet time,” Wagner explained. “Ask questions, dig a little deeper, spend more time reflecting on the world and what you can do to be a better person.”

4. “Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past.”

As a child, Mister Rogers was bullied because of his weight. It was then that he decided he would never demean another person. The way he was treated as a kid greatly inspired his outlook on life. Even through hardship, he learned a lesson to teach others.

5. “I like you just the way you are.”

A staple phrase on his television show, one of the subjects in the film said “we don’t hear this enough in today’s society.” I have to agree. With celebrities airbrushed in our magazines, models strutting down the runway telling us what we should look like, wouldn’t it be nice to have an advertisement with this phrase as a constant reminder?

6. “The best thing you can offer someone is your honest self.”

True quality and wholesomeness does rise. In a world where ratings and readership appears to be most important, those with the right values will ascend and be remembered.

7. “That which is most essential is invisible to the eye.”

This quote can be interpreted differently by every person. What is most important to you? I guarantee when you think about it, it’s not going to be that item you saw advertised in a commercial.

8. “Simple is not the same as easy. Simple is often very difficult. Simple is right.”

At the end of the day, the right decision often results in the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and be okay with what you’ve done. You are the only person that has to live with your decisions and the outcome of them the rest of your life.

9. “Often when you think you’re at the end of something you’re at the beginning of something else.”

This statement has affected my life more than I sometimes realize. As a freelance writer, gigs come and go and I’m always worried about what will happen at the end of a project. Luckily, I’m learning to more readily accept the unknown and embrace new beginnings.

10. “Pick something that you love to do and you won’t work a day in your life.”

By far a mantra throughout my career, I find this quote the most essential. While a pay check is essential to live, it is vital to find something you’re passionate about. Americans live to work while our European friends work to live. I think we should adopt their mentality. At least if you love what you do, working overtime won’t be so bad.

For more on “Mister Rogers & Me” visit the Website.

Annie Reuter, is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where she uncovers what it's really like to spend the day with a rock star.