My mother recently sent me an email talking about Charles Schulz’s philosophy on life. Even though Charles Schulz left this world 21 years ago, I continue to be a big fan of his.

In so many ways, Schulz was a revolutionary; the way he produced his comic strip, the underlying messages of his holiday specials produced decades ago that still ring true today, and I could go on. His philosophy on life is centered around this basic tenet; the people in our lives that care the most are the irreplaceable ones. I know this is common sense, but how he revealed that message is a tribute to his genius. The format was a quiz.

The first six questions asked the person to recall recent award winners specifically Heisman Trophy winners, Academy Award winners, and Nobel Peace Prize winners. Unless you are a trivia buff, recalling the last five to ten winners of these awards is a difficult task. The next five questions are a little more personal. They ask a person to recall influential teachers, helpful friends, and supportive people in his or her life. Coming up with three to five names for each of these categories is easy for most of us.

Schulz then summarizes that awards tarnish and winners’ names are forgotten, but what we remember best are those people who lent us a helping hand. Those people are not necessarily the wealthiest or most famous. Charles Schulz nailed it again. Only a select few of us will achieve celebrity status or fame, but each one of us can be a friend who is present for someone in need.

In this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been and continue to be many opportunities to lift each other up. The gestures do not need to be grandiose; a smile, text, phone call, or thoughtful words go a long way. Hopefully, this philosophy strikes a chord with you also. If you prefer to read the quiz in its entirety and in Schulz’s words, here it is.

The cast of Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz – Image sourced Apollo Magazine


The Charles Schulz Philosophy 

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz,

The creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip.

You don’t have to actually answer the questions.

Just ponder on them.

Just read this straight through, and you’ll get the point.

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 simply are the ones who care the most.

1 Comment
  1. PEGGY PAUL 3 years ago

    Wendi – this was a great exercise in identifying what is really important and where we need to focus our priorities. Beautiful blog – thank you.

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