The Charles Schulz Philosophy

Years back, I found something online: "The Charles Schultz Philosophy"—or so the Internet purported it to be. I was recently reminded of it and I just wanted to share it here, in case you hadn't heard of it.

I didn't have much in the way of a post today, because I'm still catching up from my travels over the weekend. I was up and out of my house at 4 a.m. and on the road to Wilmington, North Carolina where I had the pleasure and honor of watching Tracy work like a boss to earn her medal at the Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman triathlon. During the 9-hour drive there (and 10.5-hour drive back; hey everyone? The left lane is for passing, not cruising at the speed limit or 5 MPH under.) I thought a lot about her major accomplishment, and the one I hope to be able to brag about in two weeks when I join the 1% of the population who has run a marathon.

Triathlons, marathons, smaller races, entrepreneurial endeavors, life goals met... these things, these accomplishments, are worth something. Maybe just to the achievers themselves, maybe to their family and friends too, and on the rare occasion, to posterity. But the kinds of achievements that come with trophies or names announced over loudspeakers aren't the only ones to aim for.

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. 
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Another reflection I had during the time I spent going to, in, and coming home from N.C. was how lucky I am to have this friendship and worth traveling so far for. This person, and the handful of others (like this gal) who will be there at my own finish line on the 1st. And the friends who I know will be cheering me on virtually and wishing me luck from afar. The people who want to see me succeed at this goal I've been working so hard toward. And I reflected on how insanely fortunate I am to know such kind people, to have these ongoing and mutually supportive relationships with them, and how I wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world.

The medals and awards are great, and they're fantastic motivation, and I do believe they are worth shooting for. The ones I have mean so much to me, and encourage me to be the best version of myself I can be in all endeavors, on and off the road. I work hard and train hard and appreciate the tokens that signify those accomplishments. But as nice as it would be to have my name somewhere in that first list, at the end of the day, I'm more concerned that someone would name me in the latter one.

We train for greatness on race day. We put in the blood, sweat, and tears to get to the start line. We dig deep and demand more during the race. But eventually, when the race is over, the fanfare subsides, and the medal or race bib becomes just a part of the wallpaper, I want to know I was good and decent and kind enough that someone, somewhere would feel compelled to place me on list number two. And I have a vastly greater amount of affection for every single person on the second list than I do for anyone I could think to name on the first. (In case that counts for anything to you.)
It felt relevant.


  1. I absolutely love the sentiment behind this post. I was trying to answer the first set of questions and literally at the end just went "eh, I don't really know or care" -- but then I got to the second set and answered each of them and voila, your point was proven!

    I wish I could be there to support you at the finish line, friend! I know you are going to do absolutely amazing! Just know you've got someone on the other side of the ocean rooting you on! xo

  2. Omg, I love this so much!!! I was thinking in a similar vein a while back, about how I spend so much time on small "accomplishments" and tasks, but what am I actually going to care about and be proud of when I'm old? And, like these questions here, it's not going to be that string of achievements, it's going to be the interpersonal connections and the experiences shared with people.

    Good luck with the marathon!

  3. I've never heard of this philosophy but I really like it and it rings true to me. I hope you kill it at your marathon, but even if it doesn't go exactly as you planned you will still have so many people in your life to support you and thats what really matters. Good luck tapering this week!

  4. Sometimes you share things that seriously leave the biggest impact on me - although is it bad I could totally name some wealthy people...the highlight reels always pull me in!! I'm so excited for you and your marathon! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  5. [I actually know every World Series winner, Super Bowl winner, and Stanley Cup winner since 1984 (my birth year.) I'm a great party trick.] Good luck with your marathon, I'll be cheering you on from afar.

  6. My life ah-ha's come from you and your writing. Keep caring, keep doing and keep being. I always do a happy dance when I think of you and that I'm lucky enough to know you. <3

  7. It has been a really lone time since I have heard of this philosophy. I sort of forgot all about it. So thank you for the reminder. You are so right, it is about the people in our own lives that make all the difference! I know you are going to rock your marathon!

  8. Love this and I don't recall if I've ever come across it before. However, I do live by it. It always comes down to the people. And I've always tried to be one of those people for others and to surround myself with people that are awesome people.

    I will be cheering you on from afar! Blogging is a lot of things to a lot of people. At the end of the day, for me, it's about blathering on about whatever I feel like and the community. The community is larger and greater than I ever knew.

  9. Love this. I agree, and for the record I couldn't name a single person in the first category. I'm glad Schultz's theory didn't have something to do with the quality of a person being directly related to their ability recall information. :)

  10. oh my gosh i LOVE this. i have never heard of it! i couldn't answer any of the first list, but i could yak yak yak yak yak on and on about the second list. so true. as usual, your writing blows me away, as does your attitude and general thinking about life. i am very fortunate to have 'met' you and i'm sure everyone else feels the same.

    i will be cheering you on so hard virtually. i am so excited for you. i wish i had better words. here are some exclamation points instead. !!!!!!

  11. I've never heard of this, but I LOVE it! So good!

  12. I've never seen this. It's so cool! I had to struggle to think of names in the first category (and the majority of the time I couldn't come up with anyone). But the second category was actually FUN and gave me fuzzies. :)

  13. I've never heard this philosophy, though I agree wholeheartedly that I would much rather be on list #2 and impact someone's life or be there for them in a time of need than anything on List #1 (well, being one of the wealthiest people in the world wouldn't be terrible, but you know what I mean). Beautifully written! I will also be cheering you on from afar!

    Did you purposely post this on Charles Schulz Day?!

  14. I've never heard of this either, but it's so true! I couldn't name anyone in those first 5 categories, but sure can in the second 5!

    I'll be cheering you on from MN! 2 more weeks and you'll rock that race!

  15. I love this! It helps to put everything in perspective so quickly.

  16. I've never heard of this but I love it because it's so damn true. The people who touch your life and make an impact are the ones you remember years later.


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