What is your favorite cartoon character?
Beyond Superman, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, the Simpsons, Scooby Doo, Winnie the Pooh, and others, none compare to Wile E. Coyote.
First aired in 1949, Wile E. Coyote has chased the Road Runner across millions of TV screens. He’s dumb, tries the most ridiculous things, reads books that seem to be smarter than him, and occasionally comes near death…or at least should come near death. In fact, he never ultimately achieves his goal of eating the Road Runner. Periodically he does catch the bird, but usually due to his own idiocy, his arch nemesis always escapes.
So why is he the greatest? Why not Superman or Batman who use their high intellect or super powers and always catch the bad guy within 30 minutes? Even Bugs Bunny and Scooby Doo typically come out on top by the end of the show.Why aren’t they the greatest?
Wile E. Coyote is the greatest cartoon character because he never gives up regardless of his own inabilities. He never gets to the point where the prize is not worth the effort. He never lets his own past failures affect his drive. He never assumes “he can’t.” He always tries new things, new methods, new ideas. Some are crazily stupid, but he is willing to keep trying anyway. His goal never waivers.
He researches his opponent. He studies books that will help him understand birds and how to catch a road runner. He reads the “how-to” manuals that come with new bird-catching products and explosive materials.
He also risks his life…a lot. He is willing to get into the cannon that will shoot him as fast as the Road Runner can run. He is willing to climb to the top of the mountain and jump off to catch his prey from overhead. Wile E. is ready to give his life for the cause of catching his victim.
If you have watched as many Wile E. Coyote cartoons as I have, you eventually develop the perception that his goal of catching and eating the Road Runner seems to exceed his desire to actually calm his hunger. Sometimes I wonder if the prize of the hunt has become more rewarding that the purpose for which the hunt originally started…to eat the bird! But alas, Wile E. wants to EAT THAT BIRD.
So he reads more, studies more, thinks outside of the box more, and nearly dies again.
As you watch, you just wonder, why doesn’t he give up and go find another bird?
His dream seems foolish to us.
It’s because he has vision and purpose and chooses to never give up on his dream.
Regardless of his failures, he still presses on. Other cartoon characters rarely (if ever) fail. Rather, they always hit their mark the first time and succeed at everything. They never experience failure, and for the rare instances they do mess up, everything works out by the end of the episode.
But life isn’t like that.
We have great ideas, try new things, get enamored by the latest and greatest products or methods or ideas or services. And those often fail us. Or we fail to apply them correctly. Either way, failure hits us in the face like a one-ton stone in the desert. Life is full of failures and mistakes.
When we keep at the same goal, but try new methods, there’s a greater chance for success. Wile E. never tries the same thing twice. Each attempt is different…newer…crazier…sometimes dumber. But still different. Still trying. Still keeping his eyes on the goal.
I’ve been Wile E. for the last couple years. I’ve almost given up on the prize…many times. I’ve wondered what is wrong with me? Why has God not allow my dream to come to fruition yet? Why is nothing working? Why does nobody else see my gifts and abilities and potential?
After some particularly discouraging news one day, I got this text from a good friend of mine.
“Sometimes our dreams are foolish to others.”
Wile E. Coyote’s dreams seem foolish to us, but it never seems foolish to him. He just hasn’t accomplished it yet.
It was a well-timed reminder that I needed to hear. My goal is mine alone and between God and me (and my family). My dream, my goal, my target, my hope, my purpose.
The prophet Habakkuk wrote,
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end – it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3, ESV)
Whatever you are working on, whatever you are dreaming about, whatever you keep failing at, whatever is crazy, whatever people think you are foolish for trying…keep doing it anyway. Just keep trying. Keep reading, keep brain-storming, keep trying new things, keep learning. Learn from those mistakes. Learn from other’s mistakes. Remember what does NOT work and don’t go back there.
Always keep moving forward with your eyes on the prize.
Failure and disappointment WILL come, but it doesn’t have to be the end. Failure doesn’t have to define you. Find your strength in God who wants to do wondrous things through his children. Unique things, different things, passionate things. But you may hit roadblocks in the process. You may fall off a cliff or get blown up by a missile or run over by a truck or get melted by lava. But your dream is still valid, your passion may still come from the God who loves you and gave you that dream. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26, ESV).
Do not give up on God, and do not give up on what He has set out for you. Sometimes our dreams are foolish to others. But they’re not foolish to God if He is the one who gave them to us.
It’s your dream, your vision, your passion, your purpose. Go after it you foolish coyote!
So who is your favorite cartoon character and why?
Leave a comment while I go buy bird seed and build a rocket sled!