seeing the small: how to look for the little things
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inspiration + advice from marcel the shell



You know you're a bit behind on a YouTube sensation when the star already has a best-selling book. Yes, it's only recently that I've discovered the silliness that is Marcel the Shell. If you're like me and haven't seen it yet, here are the videos: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Two. I've definitely heard a few people say they don't really get it, but every time I see Marcel I crack up. The voice (Saturday Night Live's Jenny Slate) is hilarious enough, but the things he says really make me laugh. Even if you don't like (or get) Marcel the Shell, you can't certainly learn a thing or two from the shoe-wearing shell. Below are some life lessons from Marcel. 


Advice from Marcel the Shell

1. Go with the flow.
"If you do drive a bug, you have to be pretty easy going because you're only going to get to go where the bug wants to go." 

Marcel, being a shell, doesn't have a lot of options when it comes to travel. His bug isn't very reliable and apparently the bus (a caterpillar) isn't running either. But does Marcel complain about it? Nope! He accepts the fact that, if he wants to ride a bug, he's probably going to end up in the kitchen where there's a maple sugar spill. He knows it's not ideal, but he's willing to go with the flow. 

2. Like what you have.
"We don't have a newspaper. But sometimes I'll just read a receipt. I like that 'cause I like to get a feel for daily life."

Marcel might not have a newspaper, but instead of letting that get him down, he reminds us of what he does have: receipts. It would benefit us all to be a bit more like Marcel and, instead of whining about what don't have, focus on what we do have. Not only does Marcel not dwell on the fact that he doesn't have a newspaper, but he highlights why he enjoys have receipts to read. Very positive indeed! 

3. Question the haters. 
"Sometimes people say that my head is too big for my body and then I say, 'Compared to what?'" 

I love the sassiness with which Marcel says "what?" in this line. And it raises such a good point. What if the next time you found yourself saying something negative, you asked yourself: Compared to what? It really does put things in perspective and makes us realize that we're often comparing things unfairly. Don't let other people tell you how things should or shouldn't be. And don't do it to yourself either. Instead, accept things as they are. 

4. Think positively.
"It was pretty hard at the time but now I always think, 'Ohhh, she's traveling.'"

When Marcel lost his sister (she was carried away by a balloon), he could have been down about it. He could have focused on the negative aspects -- not seeing her again, etc. -- but instead he thought positively about it. Instead of focusing on life without her, he focused on the fun and excitement she was probably experiencing while traveling. Loss is a hard thing to cope with, but Marcel does what he can to make the most of it. 

5. Smile a lot.
"Guess why I smile a lot? Uh, cause it's worth it." 

Cheesy as it sounds, smiling is worth it. I know I don't do enough of it and hearing these lines from Marcel (my favorite lines from both videos) motivates me to smile more often. Oddly, it's something I forget to do, but it really does make a difference. Such a small thing can impact not only your day but the day of someone else as well. If you take one lesson from Marcel, let it be this: smile! 

6. Love who you are.
"I'm partially a shell as you can see on my body, but I also have shoes and a face. So I like that about myself and I like myself and I have a lot of other good qualities as well."

This line comes from Marcel's introduction of himself. How often do we introduce ourselves in such a positive light? How often do we highlight the things we like about ourselves for the benefit of others? Not as often as we should probably. It's not always easy to love yourself, but if a shell with one eye and shoes can do it, so can we. Don't be afraid to love who you are -- and let others know it!

7. Make your own reality.  
"My one regret in life is that I'll never have a dog. But sometimes I tie a hair to a piece of lint and I drag it around." 

Marcel might not be able to have a dog, but he does what he can to make the most of it. Yes, there is a bit of disillusionment here, which is something I wouldn't recommend in real life. You don't want to start making things up and pretending, but you can find ways to work with what you have. Life is never perfect, but if you make an effort you can find ways to live a life that's not filled with regret. 

I can't quite believe that I just wrote an article about a shell. But this just goes to show you that you never know where you'll find inspiration. I certainly never expected to learn anything from a silly, talking shell, but here I am, reflecting on his tiny wisdom. Sure, he's fictional, but his positive attitude is very real. It's something we can -- and should -- aspire to. If you want even more Marcel, you can buy his book here


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I read your blog weekly, if not daily, and I always take information away that I love -- but this is my favorite! Marcel the Shell always makes me smile on a bad day, but I never thought to take his silly sayings and use them for myself.

Thank you for this!

Chelsie - Thanks so much for reading! I'm so glad you can relate to how awesome Marcel is. He definitely puts a smile on my face!

Awww! It doesn't get any cuter than Marcel the Shell! And I can't think of a better um, person, thing... or shell to take life lessons from!

Breanna - I agree! He is pretty cute! And I love his positive attitude. You just never know where you'll find positivity.

Hi Dani!

I love Marcel the Shell; he always makes me smile :). Thanks for sharing & hope you are well!

Gina - Me too! He definitely puts a smile on my face! Thanks for reading. I hope you're doing well as well.

Aw, that's really cute. I hadn't heard of marcel before :-)

Michelle - He's pretty funny and cute! Glad you liked it!

I too, had never heard of Marcel the Shell -although my 11-year-old had and immediately called up a bunch of YouTube videos! Thanks for keeping me hip(-ish)!

Bonnie - Hahaha, I'm happy I can help out in the hip department! Marcel is pretty fun for all ages. :)

this is wonderful, I love Marcel so much that I made one for myself, now I put it in random places for my folks to find. It makes them smile :)
If you click my name you can see my version of Marcel :)

Peter - Thanks! I'm so glad you liked this. Love your version of Marcel!

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