• Richard Portugal

Is Charlie Brown Motivational?


The universe is so large. Its very vastness both stuns and excites the imagination. From science fiction writers to those at NASA who study the stars, its depth and mysteries have caused awe and wonder to explode our imaginations. We as a people who inhabit this earth have created stories about the heavens, have fashioned cave paintings and gods based on its stars and shooting comets, and have eventually accepted our small planet’s place within this vastness.


I remember a Charlie Brown comic strip where he is looking to the vast sky for

answers only to turn and be punched by Lucy who tells him to wake up and

concentrate on playing right field. And sure enough, the next hit ball flies right to Charlie Brown, who misses it anyway. Charlie Brown then again looks to the sky for answers. He is the eternal romantic who looks to the stars to make sense as to why he inevitably misses the fly ball. If this were a million years ago, he would draw a shooting star on a cave wall.


It is the Charlie Browns of this world who can take our daily mishaps, injuries,

travails and tragedies and make them bearable; who can inflate hope; who can engender optimism; and who can offer peace and acceptance by just peering upward. Charlie Brown knows navigating this world is difficult. Missed fly balls, illnesses, societal pressures and perceived injustices can make us all feel small and relegate our planet’s very existence to a mere spec in the universal cosmos. But Charlie Brown, no matter the obstacles, is a survivor. He seems so vulnerable, yet displays such strength, toughness and determination. He knows life is to be lived, not surrendered to.


I am fortunate to interact with these Charlie Browns on a daily basis. They are my clients who foster optimism, spirit, enthusiasm and confidence. They are the individuals who keep me motivated with positive life lessons of character,

courage and strength. When they drop a ball hit directly to them, it is the ball

who apologizes. They live life with a purpose which inspires those around them.

They are determined, resolute and persistent. Confronted with medical issues

they fight to make their lives more meaningful. These are diseases which can be frightening to behold: multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, strokes, heart attacks. All can attack balance, equilibrium, strength and cognitive fitness. They all can inflict terrible damage to the human body and can be malevolently progressive and destructive. Yet, on an everyday basis, these brave souls fight their diseases; they maintain their strength, speed, reflexes, coordination and cognitive fitness. Their medical issues are only part of who they are, but they do not define them. They display a passion for a fulfilled life that many others take for granted and are driven to live each day and perform activities of daily life successfully. Whenever confronted with vicious obstacles, they display courage and bravery.


They may miss a fly ball, but they, like Charlie Brown, can look up at the vast sky and live their lives with strength, dignity and self-respect. Is Charlie Brown

motivational? You betcha!


Submitted by Richard Portugal, Fitness Senior Style, LLC, 201-937-4722

Copyright © 2018 Richard Portugal All rights reserved.

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