Any Charles Schulz’ fans out there – this one is for you! And even if you are not a fan of – or have been oblivious to – ‘Peanuts’, this one should stop you in your tracks. The strip is devilishly short – Charlie Brown says, ‘Some day, we will all die Snoopy’ and Snoopy responds ‘True, but on all the other days, we will not’.
The first time I read it, I was struck. Days’ later I continue to be mesmerized. The placement of each word is genius. If you think I am on meth, let me explain.
How many times in life and business have we encountered a sour bag, a wet blanket, a cynic or the consummate baiter – a colleague, customer, partner, boss – who revels in the negative for the sheer pleasure or maybe they can’t help themselves and drag you and your buddies down along with it. And the negativity and cynicism spread like cancer. #Stop. There is a better way and Snoopy shows us how.
1. Disarm: The first word out of Snoopy’s mouth (after hearing Charlie’s dour lament) is “True”. Just think about that for a second. If we acknowledge our pessimistic colleague’s dire prediction with a simple ‘I hear you’, how do you think they would feel? And then we continue to shed some light.
2. Dilate: This is the central thesis of the strip (heck there are only 17 words but has more meaning than a novel!) – where Snoopy dilates the aperture of thinking to provide perspective. He focuses on ‘all the other days’ – and suddenly that one day where we meet our maker seems so insignificant. Same thing in our life – just expanding the perspective moves the dialog from a narrow viewpoint to a larger canvas and suddenly the viewpoint seems but a speck in the larger scheme.
3. Debunk: And then the final kill shot to put an end to this doomsday prediction – ‘we will not’. As simple as that. Snoopy used ‘not’ at the end with finality. Note he did not say ‘not die’. That would have reinforced the negative sentiment. Similarly, our use of a powerful yet simple word to end an inane conversation (after doing the disarm and dilation) and we can move on.
I am now going to delve back into my teen years for some binge reading on Peanuts. Life is too short – let’s focus on ‘all the other days’ friends.