Notable Quotables: The Grass is Always Greener

Check out this post on how the grass is greener but the waterfall is higher!

It seems as though there is always someone around just waiting on the right moment to utter the timeless phrase. With some people, it’s almost a game. And it’s hardly about hard work.

This job stinks! I wish I could do that!

Well, the grass is always greener!Boom.

A Brief History of Greener Grass

Rumor has it that this phrase was first uttered in a song in the 1920s. Some websites, namely this one, attribute it to a song wisely entitled “The Grass is always Greener in the other Fellow’s Yard.”

I actually heard the Ovid reference covered later by the website in his Ars Armatoria (Art of Love). It says: “The harvest is always richer in another man’s field.” This probably references the temptation for another’s spouse, although that is not entirely certain. Generally, it’s attributable to jealousy one way or another for what someone else posseses.

Regardless, the ultimate meaning of the phrase is something we all know. But is it really something we employ or even believe?

A New Life for Green Grass

A few years ago, I caught a quote by a pastor that gave a little twist on the old favorite. Pastor Chris Hodge of Church of the Highlands said in one of his talks:

The grass is greener on the other side, but the water bill is higher!

Now this isn’t a sermon for you. That little turn of phrase at the end more precisely encapsulates the true meaning of the phrase. I’ve probably overused the phrase for witty rejoinders to friends and family. It’s only because I actually believe in the wisdom of those few extra words.

Hard Work Pays Dividends

Whatever you’re looking out at, the story behind it is full of hard work. Even those lucky few we read about in business or sports or whatever other arena put in the hours and the work to succeed. We hear loads about 10,000 hour rules and other ways to quantify work, but the message is the same. If you want green grass, it’s time to get to work.

Take my yard.

I’ve grown to secretly enjoy cutting the grass, although the key to it is pretending that you hate it so that you can scrape those few extra minutes of podcasting or music out of it while you work. (I have kids, don’t judge me…)

Smarter Hard Work Does More

Sadly, and perhaps to the slight detriment of my man-card, I pay a service to help me fertilize and weed the yard. Even doing that, it still takes a lot of work! If I forget and leave the sprinklers on after a particularly wet period or don’t clean the leaves and other stuff up, my yard is anything but green. Maybe, kinda sorta like it is now.

And so it is with life. Chances are that the other thing you’re looking at – business, job, house, or whatever all takes work. In this era of special snowflakes, it’s easy to let that thing or person consume us or, more often, depress us. If you linger on the thing, it will do just that. Unhealthy focus on one thing will inevitably lead to the neglect of others.

The grass is always greener indeed, but the water bill is higher. Maybe that translates to you working harder or maybe it’s the realization of limits and the ridiculous amount of debt that really awesome car would give you even if you had the income to support it. Either way, you better be ready to pay that water bill in business or in life.

All bill paying aside, the journey can still be a fun one. What are some of the ways you learned that the water bill is higher for all that green grass in your life?


Check out this post on how the grass is greener but the waterfall is higher!