The late Earl Nightingale, a motivational writer and speaker, once told a story about a boy called Sparky, who endured more than his share of hard knocks. For Sparky, school was a disaster. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. In high school, he got a zero in physics. He also flunked Latin, algebra, and English.
He didn’t do much better in sports. He maxed his school’s golf team, but lost the only important match of the season. He was awkward socially. Other students didn’t like him, they just ignored him. He never once asked a girl out in high school He was too afraid of being rejected.
Sparky felt he was a loser. Even his classmates knew it. But there was one thing he cared about—-drawing. He was proud of his artwork, but again, no one else seemed to care. He submitted some cartoons to the editors of his his yearbook in his senior year. They were turned down. Despite this rejection, Sparky decided to become a professional artist. He sent some samples to Walt Disney Studios. He was rejected again.
Sp Sparky decided to write his own autobiography in cartoons. Through his art, he described his childhood self—a little boy everyone saw as a loser and an underachiever. His cartoon character, created out of his shyness, loss, and pain, became world-famous.
Sparky, the boy who failed so miserably in school and whose work was rejected again and again, was Charles Schulz. He created the “Peanuts” comic strip and the little cartoon character whose kite wouldn’t fly and who couldn’t even kick a football—Charlie Brown.
What a story! It reminds us that sometimes the worst things that happen can turn out to be the best things. Charles Schulz turned rejection into resilience. He transformed his sad childhood experiences into art with gentle humor and touched the world with it. Write on!
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