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May 6, 2013 / glennlim thots

Feel like a Loser? Learn from the creator of Charlie Brown!

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Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” comic strip, was a chronic underachiever when he was young but was very proud of his artwork. In high school, he submitted some cartoons to his school’s yearbook but was rejected. Believing that he could make it as a cartoonist, he sent in comic strips to local publications in the hope of clinching a deal. None of those deals went through. During that time, he also wrote to Walt Disney with samples of his artwork. It too was rejected.

Instead of feeling discouraged, Charles chose to laugh at his own failures and tell his own life’s story in cartoons. His main character – Charlie Brown, was a personification of his own life’s failures. Charlie would be a little boy who symbolised the perpetual lovable loser that he was. And the rest, as they say, is history. The Peanuts strip became a hit when it launched in 1950, and has since become a successful icon.

So, what can we learn from Charles Schulz…or Charlie Brown?

Well, here is a story of the ‘loser’ who never gave up, who never lost faith in his abilities, and became one of the most successful cartoonists of all time. Like Schulz, we can all use a little dash of self-belief.

But more than that, Schulz was open enough to use self-deprecating humour in his work. That stroke of genius injected authenticity and relatability into his character. Because we all identify with failure and rejection, traits embodied in Charlie Brown. And the ability to laugh at yourself and your weaknesses is so endearing.

Today, let’s learn to first laugh at our predicaments. Hey, don’t take ourselves too seriously, especially when we don’t get things right. And then remember to use our failures and shortcomings as part of our authentic leverage in our work. This will keep us real. And keep us sane!…Glenn Lim

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