Most of us grew up watching cartoons as children. Tom and Jerry, beyond a doubt, has to be one of the most popular and generation bridging cartoons ever. The rivalry between the two has spanned over 50 years.
Most episodes would begin with Tom scheming about how he could eat Jerry. But no matter how hard he tried, Jerry always found some way to escape, even after Tom had succeeded in swallowing him. In the Looney Toons cartoons, there have also been many similar rivalries.
Elmer Fudd has hunted Bugs for many years without much success, but he keeps coming back to get that “scwewy” wabbit. The constant hunt for the road runner by Wild E Coyote also has to be one of the most determined series of plots in cartoon history. He usually has a perfect plan, which should work by all logical means, but someway or somehow, the road runner always manages to get away. Sylvester is another popular character that has a similarly determined mindset for turning Tweety into his lunch, or sometimes he’s just minding his own business, but he somehow always manages to get into trouble.
What is the point of all this cartoon referencing? What do all these rivalries have to do with anything in life? Is there something that Elmer, Sylvester, Tom and Wild E Coyote all have in common? The answer is tenacity, and they all have it. Each one has a goal that they want to achieve, usually lunch. No matter how many times they get outsmarted, bashed, slammed into the side of mountains or squashed by falling anvils they keep striving after their goal, simply because they can see it in their mind’s eye. They always know what they want, and they are not going to let a few obstacles – whether it be the IQ of their opponent, the height of what they are striving for or the fact that what they are after is moving at a faster speed than what they can keep up with. They just find a way to do it
Consider The Road Runner, Jerry, Tweety, and Bugs Bunny to be the ultimate survivors. No matter what their hunters use to come against them, they always find a way to survive. No matter how many times they get trapped, they constantly find a relevant means of escape. Think about it, have you ever watched a Looney Toons cartoon, in which Wild E Coyote succeeded in completely capturing the road runner or that Bugs didn’t escape Elmer’s capture? No matter what the situation, they both exhibit their true nature. Bugs Bunny has the nature to survive at all costs and Elmer Fudd has relentless tenacity, no matter how many times he has previously failed.
Another group of cartoon characters I greatly admire are Top Cat (TC) and Yogi Bear. These guys are what I’d like to call, “The Original Kings of Hustle”. Top Cat is an entrepreneur, someone who brims with confidence and never allows anything to get him down. When he faces an obstacle he simply finds a way to overcome it. Whether it be a lack of money, assets or staff or occasional human obstacles in the form of officer Dibble, his brain always begins to work and he succeeds in overcoming the interference in some manner. Despite the fact that all of his ventures end up collapsing, he always keeps on trying, and the spirit within him never die.
The same goes for one famous Jellystone Park resident who is “smarter than the average bear”. He is the mammal that had exquisite taste long before Remy rat. Unlike the other bears that are satisfied with fruits nuts and berries, he longs for more, picnic baskets in particular. Despite all of the obstacles facing him, usually in the form of Ranger Smith who represents authority figures, or by his fellow bears who are satisfied with what they can rummage around, he wants something better. Usually there are things that people will tell him are not meant for bears, saying that they are out of his league and convincing him that he should stick to what he knows. Yogi never lets any of that veer his determination, and due to his extreme perseverance, more often than not he succeeds.
Life is not very much different. Like the little kids playing or the cartoon character that falls down or is losing, we do not want to just give up and quit. There are always going to obstacles in our way. Even as babies when we gradually learned to walk, gravity was constantly an obstacle. We plainly fell down several (hundred) times, but that didn’t stop us from trying. Today we walk without even giving it a second thought, or remembering how difficult it was for us to learn.
Children usually fall down many times and get back up without even a second thought when playing “cops and robbers” or “tag”. Many of us have also played some form of sports and loved it. There is no doubt at some point in time that we lost a game or missed a shot, but we learned not to quit because of that.
Like those cartoon characters that kept going despite several knock downs or defeats, if we have a strong enough vision, we should not allow any failure to make us quit. Most of the successful people in history and in the world today have had so many failures that it’s a wonder that they kept on going at all. Col Sanders the founder of KFC had about 1009 rejections for his recipe, Abraham Lincoln failed in getting elected for many different offices, JK Rowling received many rejection slips, Steven King threw away the manuscript for “Carrie”, because of so many rejections. Bing Crosby was written off by a casting director. Are you seeing a pattern here?
It’s not going to be easy, but no matter how many falling cartoon anvils get dropped on us, and no matter how many mountain sides we smash into – if our dreams are truly worth it, we should learn from our favorite cartoon characters, and never give up.