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5 Work-Life Lessons From The Muppets

In honor of the Muppets’ new show, we take a look at some of their early career lessons.

The Muppets have been working in Hollywood for almost 40 years, but rather than considering retirement, they are well into the second act of their careers.

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The latest step in that second act is their new show that premieres tonight on ABC at 8 p.m. The half-hour show builds on the reboot the franchise has taken in the last several years, beginning with 2011’s The Muppets. The continued success banks on the nostalgia of a generation that grew up with Jim Henson’s creations and is now raising their own children on the Disney-owned characters.

The Muppets won’t be following the variety-show-style format of the original Muppet Show (1976-1981) and Muppets Tonight (1996-1998). Instead, the new show will be shot in documentary style and will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as achievements, disappointments, romances, and breakups (Kermit and Miss Piggy publicly announced their breakup in a publicity stunt for the show this summer).

But the gang of felt and furry creatures has already inadvertently provided several work-life lessons over the years. To celebrate the next step in their long careers, we’ve gathered a few of their best pieces of advice from one of their very first creative ventures together, 1979’s The Muppet Movie.

Lesson One: It’s Important To Have A Good Business Partner

This quote, from the beginning of Fozzie and Kermit’s business relationship and friendship, illustrates both how important it is to seize an opportunity and why you want someone you trust by your side when you do.

“With good friends you can’t lose / Opportunity just knocked / Let’s reach out and grab it / Together we’ll nab it”–Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog singing “Moving Right Along”

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Lesson Two: It’s Important To Unplug

Rowlf may have to work late hours playing the piano for his lovelorn audience, but he knows what he needs to decompress, and he makes sure not to take work home with him.

“I finish work, I go home, read a book, have a couple of beers, take myself for a walk, and go to bed.”–Rowlf the Dog

Lesson Three: Find People Who Share Your Vision

All of the Muppets’ success has hinged on teamwork and balancing out each other’s differences. Kermit may be the leader and the one with the plan, but he’s always recognized that you can accomplish a lot more with others than you can on your own.

“I’ve got a dream too. But it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better, the more people you share it with. And, well, I’ve found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And it kind of makes us like a family.”–Kermit

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Lesson Four: Keep Reinventing

Kermit has long served as an inspiring leader for his eccentric group, but in the closing number of the movie that served as their origin story, he reminds them that they control their own destiny.

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending.”–Kermit

Lesson Five: You Owe It To Yourself

The Muppets are all about teamwork, but they also recognize their responsibility to themselves. When Kermit wrestles with his guilt about disappointing his new friends, he realizes that perseverance is also important in order to keep the promises you make to yourself.

“I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone, I promised me.”–Kermit

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About the author

Kathleen Davis is Deputy Editor at FastCompany.com, she also manages the leadership and work-life section. Previously, she has worked as an editor at Entrepreneur.com, WomansDay.com and Popular Photography magazine.

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