Steve Pederson

From the blog

Would You Be Cool With Being a Cornstalk?

Would you be cool with being a cornstalk? I think it would take a great deal of humility.

As my family and I drove through Illinois, Iowa and southern Minnesota on our Summer vacation, I couldn’t help but thinking, “Man, there sure is a lot of corn in this world!” I mean, it just goes on and on, and, to the untrained eye – which is most of us – it pretty much all looks the same.

In some ways, our lives are a lot like a cornstalk. There are literally billions of us. It’s very easy to be lost in the crowd, or to seem insignificant, irrelevant and unimportant.

We can even take these feelings to extremes and think, Who cares if one of us goes missing or doesn’t mature or prosper?

This may seem like a bleak outlook to take, but seeing ourselves this way is an easy trap to fall in to. We can tend to think we’re just another face in the crowd. I know. This is a struggle I’ve had to deal with.

In fact, rather than appreciating and growing in to what I have to offer, I’ve often felt that I need to be like the Jolly Green Giant in order to be noticed.

It’s impossible to not notice the Jolly Green Giant. He stands and towers above the cornfields. He’s one of a kind. He’s unique. In fact, there’s only one statue of the giant in the whole world, and he gets all the attention. You probably wouldn’t pull off the highway to see a cornstalk…but the Jolly Green Giant?

If you just happen to find yourself driving through Blue Earth, Minnesota, he’s a must-see attraction. When you’re standing in front of him, or behind or below him for that matter, he’s pretty impressive. He’s the kind of guy you want to get your picture taken with. He’s the kind of guy people tell stories about.

The problem, though, is that the Jolly Green Giant is a myth. He’s a folk tale. He’s not real. You can’t spread butter and salt on him and sink your teeth into him and say, “Man, that’s good!” You can’t feed him to the cattle or make fuel or vegetable oil out of him.

In other words, as impressive, outstanding, unique and photogenic as he is…he’s not that useful – except as a brand representative. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a mascot or a brand icon. It’s just that he’s not there on the front lines getting the job done and being a difference in the lives of everyday people. No, only a cornstalk can do that.

So, if you think you need to stand above the crowd, be heard above all the noise and get all the attention and admiration of others to feel like your life is worthwhile – try asking yourself this simple question: would you be cool with being a cornstalk?

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