The Popeye approach to life

It’s a fairly safe bet that Popeye had little self-doubt. After all, didn’t he sing “I Yam What I Yam”?

While I’m not recommending that you stick a corn-cob pipe in your mouth while knocking back cans of spinach, perhaps there’s something to be said for Popeye’s comfort with who he is.


It’s not always easy to be this way, is it? It’s hard not to slip into wishing you were someone else, or different in some way.

I think, at times, we can all imagine that life would be very different if only we had more money/less worries/more patience/less weight, and so on. But the truth is, we yam what we yam. With few exceptions, we’d do well to learn to be comfortable in our own skin.

Often, of course, we wish things could be different when we compare ourselves with others. But when we do so, we’re only seeing things from an external perspective. We may believe someone’s happy, successful or confident – but the person themselves may well have a very different view.

In the next day or so, if you catch yourself thinking the “if only’s”, try to focus instead on what’s right. Concentrate on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

Think like Popeye.

4 thoughts on “The Popeye approach to life

  1. This morning’s mood nudge made me watch a 6 minute Popeye cartoon in which he sang his “I yam what I yam”. It’s certainly a good motto for life and one for bearing in mind when you find yourself wishing things were different. As my wise sister tells me, things are perfect right now, exactly as you are now, this moment, no different. There are no ‘self improvements’ or ‘if onlys’. You are perfect now.

  2. You caught me red-handed having a go at myself over my perception of my financial inadequacies. Now taking a breath and trying to get a more balanced view & accept what is- is!

  3. Thanks Jon, great advice as always! My challenge seems to be when others don’t want me to be what I yam. I wonder what Popeye would say about that? 🙂

  4. Oh John, I love this idea. Yet, at the moment, when I am scoring 25% on Moodscope instead of my normal 75% I am not myself. I am not what I yam at all. I don’t recognise this negative, ranting, mean person; the me of this present moment, and I don’t want to recognise her. Certainly not in the mirror. I feel it’s best if I just withdraw from the world, withdraw from friendships, withdraw from life (although, thank goodness, this condition is no longer life-threatening for me) until such time as I am myself again. But then I need to explain to everyone why I’m withdrawing. And that’s embarrassing. Because, most of all, I don’t want the “I yam” to be fickle, wavering, inconstant. But yes – with bi-polar – I guess that is exactly what I yam…

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