For seven seasons on Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) reminded us about the greatness of meat and the perils of government and women named Tammy. Without question, the manliest man in sitcom history, Ron time and again offered small bits of wisdom to his coworkers, despite wanting nothing to do with the small government outfit he was part of.
Sunday marked Nick Offerman’s birthday, and while a man like Ron Swanson would likely want no part in birthday celebrations, it offers us a chance to look back on his knowledge and how we can apply his musings to our own success in life and channel our own inner Swansons.
“It’s always a good idea to demonstrate to your coworkers that you are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pain.”
Should your coworkers think that you’re a complete psycho who’s not afraid to perform self-dentistry in the middle of a meeting? Probably not. Then again, it’s important that you have the respect of your peers and show them respect as well, particularly if you’re in a management role. It’s all about team work, and the last thing you want is to be that person who nobody respects in the office because they were too afraid to yank — or pretend to — out one of their incisors. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man how to fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing’s not that hard.”
It doesn’t really come as a surprise that Ron’s not an advocate for charity. It might sound a bit cold-hearted, but he means well. Ron’s all about self-sufficiency and not having to depend on others, especially the government. There’s nothing wrong with asking somebody for help or offering help when needed. Ron simply takes things a step further and touts the virtues of venturing out on one’s own and learning through trial and error. At Ron’s very core, this is what he’s all about.
“I would wish you the best of luck, but I believe luck is a concept created by the weak to explain their failures.”
It’s a bit blunt, but Ron’s never been the type of person to sugarcoat things. While he might have approved of Tom’s idea to let people come to him with ideas for solid investments — only if Jean Ralphio wasn’t one of them — he’s not about to impart Tom with some false hope that luck will have anything to do with his potential success. Ron’s a pull yourself up by your own bootstraps kinda guy after all, and depending on luck is the equivalent of planting “magic beans” in his mind.
“I know what I’m about, son.”
How is one supposed to whole-ass life if they don’t know what they’re about and what they stand for? If Ron Swanson orders the party platter, he did so on purpose, because that’s who the man is. Taking time to find yourself and your passions is part of becoming an adult, and staying true to thyself is an important part of one’s character. Whether you’re the type of person who considers fish on the cusp of being a vegetable or are a proud skim milk-drinker.
“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
While most of us probably weren’t trying to juggle a sheet metal and leather factory job before we hit the seventh grade, the lesson is the same: don’t commit to more than you can handle. While Leslie Knope might have had a hard time saying no, Ron knows that taking on more than you can handle usually ends up with a half-assed job that nobody’s happy about. Whether it’s school, work, relationships, or building a log cabin with your bare hands, the last thing you want is to not give 100% and end up disappointing yourself and others. That’s how you end up looking like some lazy, half-assed chump from Eagleton.
“Intensity: Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.”
Essentially, this one’s another way of saying to whole-ass things. Only don’t get cocky and throw out some b.s. percentage about your dedication to try to impress people. Like Ron’s Pyramid of Greatness says, only idiots recommend that.
“I’d like to not get involved in these matters, or any matters of any nature.”
Gossip may fuel the tabloids, but it has no place in the life of a man of Ron Swanson’s caliber. He knows that it only leads to drama, and how’s a man supposed to enjoy his eggs and black coffee if he’s caught up in drama? This doesn’t mean that Ron won’t offer advice when asked or if it’s warranted, but those are rare exceptions. The man doesn’t want the government involved in his matters, and he’s not about to go poking his mustache in somebody else’s business either. If you’re looking to go from man to gladiator and gladiator to Swanson, take this one to heart.
“I don’t know how much money I have. But I do know how many pounds of money I have.”
We all know that money is a requirement for life, so unless you plan on living out Ron Swanson’s fantasy and moving off the grid to live 100% off the land, you’re gonna need some cash in your pocket. Ron may not know the American dollar value of his wealth, but that’s only because he has opted for solid gold bars instead. Yeah, it’s a bit silly, but pretty baller at the same time. While Andy and Tom have made some not so wise investments with their cash, Ron knows that good financial planning is paramount if you’re to live comfortably.