Sparky didn’t have much going for him. He failed every subject in eighth grade. In high school he flunked Latin, Algebra, English, and Physics. He made the golf team but lost the only important match of the season, and then he lost the consolation match. He was awkward socially. He never once asked a girl to go out on a date in high school.

One thing that was important to Sparky was drawing. He submitted cartoons to the editors of his high school yearbook, but they were rejected. Even so Sparky aspired to be an artist. After high school, he sent samples of his artwork to the Walt Disney Studios. Again, his work was rejected.

Still Sparky didn’t quit. He decided to write his own autobiography in the cartoons. The popularity of his cartoon strip eventually led to countless books, television shows, and licensing opportunities.

Sparky, you see, was Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip. Like his main character, Charlie Brown, Schulz seemed unable to succeed at many things. But he made the most of his talent and refused to quit.

So, the next time you’re faced with criticism, choose to believe in yourself, and never give up on your dreams.

Here are 15 insights from Charles Schulz:

  1. Be yourself. No one can say you’re doing it wrong.
  2. In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with.
  3. Just thinking about a friend makes you want to do a happy dance, because a friend is someone who loves you in spite of your faults.
  4. All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
  5. Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
  6. Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.
  7. If you can’t beat ’em, cooperate ’em to death!
  8. Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s all about the friend who comes and stands by your side in bad times.
  9. It just seems that if you hang on for a while longer, there is always something bright around the corner, or the dark clouds will go away and there will be sunshine again.
  10. Happiness is anyone and anything that’s loved by you.
  11. Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
  12. There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential.
  13. Happiness is a warm puppy.
  14. If you grit your teeth and show real determination, you’ll always have a chance.
  15. Don’t be a leaf… Be a tree!

Find 180+ more inspiring quotes (and compelling photos!) in The Nature of Excellence gift book.