“The grass isn’t always green[er] on the other side [of the fence]…”
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it…”
“The grass is greener where you water it…”
We’ve all heard these green grass quotes. Commonly used as popular analogies to say, ‘it’ could always be worse; whatever your ‘it’ may be and the ‘other side’ being a metaphor for what may be beyond your reach, or possibilities that you may not have on your side. The grass is a symbol that can represent anything and everything pertaining to your life or a particular circumstance. The color representing what everyone wants as it relates to their own version of ‘it’ on their side: green, plush, barefoot grass. The problem I have with this is the ambiguity that there is another side, and the grass can still be greener. Even though the iterations of this quote became more meaningful by adding the water metaphor, implying that you have to nourish and work at something – it still distracts from the message. Greener? Greener than what? Another side? What if I want to water the other side after I know what’s over there? What if the other grass requires less water?? NO, NO, AND NO…all figuratively speaking of course to keep the consistency, but you get the point.
From my perspective, to get to the core meaning of this message – you need to remove ANY IDEA that the ‘other side’ exists so that you can focus. Greener is still a comparison.
One time I participated in a group exercise. We were asked to go read through a very large selection of inspiring leadership sticker quotes that were scattered on a number of tables, and pick the one that as a leader we related to the most and stick it on our learning binder. Within a couple of minutes of searching, there was the quote by author Neil Barringham: “The grass is greener where you water it.” I picked it up immediately and knew I didn’t need to look any further. Before placing the sticker on my binder, I crossed out the word greener, and Neil’s name and amended it. Rule breaker… I know! 😉 If you know me well, you know that in addition to hearing “own it” – there is another phrase I also say often:
It’s simple. If you want green grass, then water it, and that’s the only green that matters. Stop comparing it to an illusive side, closed box or different versions of ‘what if’s’. These are just distractions. This doesn’t mean that you forget about all the possibilities, it means that you realize the possibilities are where you want them to be.
Do you have a favorite ‘green grass’ or inspiring quote? Maybe it’s one of the above I mentioned or a different one? What does it mean to you?