Leadership Lessons: Charlie Brown and Snoopy

The Peanuts gang taught us a great deal about life and laughter. They also reveal some great perspectives on the art of leadership.

1. Persevere Through Adversity

No matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away, Charlie Brown keeps coming back. He simply dusts himself off and tries to kick it again. Charlie Brown’s baseball teams rarely won a game. Losing doesn’t define anyone. Persevering, paying the price to improve, and enjoying the growth process are the things that matter. You learn a lot more from failure than winning. You shouldn’t get comfortable with losing—but accept it as part of the journey. Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Walsh said, “Almost always, your road to victory goes through a place called ‘failure’.” Just keep traveling—and keep growing!

2. Maintain a Positive Outlook

Many of the Peanuts comic strips centered on Charlie Brown’s baseball life. Even when his team was being annihilated, he still loved the game of baseball. He seemed to enjoy the simple pleasures like the smell of leather in a new baseball glove, the fresh air of an early spring day, and the camaraderie of his teammates. No matter how dysfunctional Charlie Brown’s personal or athletic life may have been, he never lost the joy of simply playing the game. Enjoy the simple moments of each day. Live in the moment. As Jim Carrey said, “If you aren’t in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.”

3. Keep Leading

Charlie Brown may get picked on a lot, but when it comes to sports, his leadership ability comes out. As the manager of his baseball team, he has to get the wide range of abilities and commitment levels to try and play together on the diamond. Even though Charlie Brown was an average baseball player at best, he was always a student of the game. He knew that details, both big and small, would define his team. Although he was very shy off the diamond, when he was on the playing field he had the courage to say and do what needed to be done.

4. Never Stop Dreaming

Snoopy was a big dreamer. Whether he was flying Sopwith Camels while shooting at the Red Baron, stopping Bobby Hull on a breakaway for the Canadiens, hitting a game winning homer for the Giants or winning a gold medal in figure skating, Snoopy dreamed about the joy of competition and then fulfilled his dreams once he actually played his games. He had an active imagination and a zest for living life both real and imagined. Imagination gives us the ability to envision great things before we achieve them. Life is drab if it isn’t fueled by a compelling vision. Paulo Coelho wrote, “We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body. Many times in our lives we see our dreams shattered and our desires frustrated, but we have to continue dreaming. If we don’t, our soul dies.”