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These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

These Cartoons Show Exactly How To Be Good Leaders

Indescribable magic happens when milk meets cereal, booty meets couch cushions, and a child’s eyes meet cartoons. No doubt the pinnacle of every kid’s week, cartoons offer an animated escape into a limitless world. Cartoons free our imaginations, bending the realms of possibility in the exact ways that are forbidden and restricted in our mortal world. But beyond the entrancing animation styles, squeaky voices, and reoccurring characters are underlying themes that greatly benefit our lives.

We see our favorite characters struggle, and share in their triumph when they overcome. We relate to them as children, and remember them fondly when we reminisce as adults. Yet, no matter how long it’s been, or how vehemently you tried to convince your friends that you “only watched it once,” your favorite cartoons will always be very special to you. Some of them teach us about love, others teach us about acceptance, but the most memorable, remarkable, and beneficial ones teach us how to be fearless leaders.

Here are the 15 best animated advocates of awareness, in no particular order.


Tommy

    Tommy Pickles

    Though I’ll admit I’m not the biggest Rugrats fan, Thomas Malcolm Pickles can’t be left off this list. Though he and his diaper dandies are regularly stuck in a “pickle” as a result of Angelica’s evil schemes, Tommy always puts the safety of his people over the need of his nap. In the many ways Tommy teaches us to lead, none is more strong than his adventure-seeking, positive, proactive attitude towards his associates and younger brother, Dil Pickles. [Best leader trait: Empathy]

    Arnold

      Arnold

      The only character with an purposefully unknown last name to make the list, Arnold is perhaps the strongest leader to emerge from Nickelodeon in the ’90s. Revered by nearly everyone, Arnold is always looked to for advice, moral help, and to pinch hit against the fifth graders in the vacant lot. His odd head shape is more than a funny reference and catchy tag line. It also serves as a efficient command center to house his idealist perspectives, his many dreams, and everyone else’s best interest. An interesting factoid is that Arnold didn’t start his acting career in animation, but in clay. [Best leader trait: Optimism]

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      Porkchop

        Porkchop

        Before Brian in Family Guy, Goddard in Jimmy Neutron, or Santa’s Little Helper in The Simpsons, there was Porkchop, Doug Funny’s nearly-human canine sidekick. Although he does not talk, Porkchop displays his leadership abilities through an elaborate system of gestures, cute facial expressions, and words if he can find the appropriate writing tools. With sincerity and near telekinesis, Porkchop alleviates most of Doug’s frustrations quickly, effectively, and mindfully. This dog certainly raises the bar for any other animated faithful four-legged companion. [Best leader trait: Accountability]

        Eliza

          Eliza Thornberry

          To rival Mr. Pickles above, Eliza’s yearning for constant adventure often places her and her loved ones in danger, but she always seems to manage. Gifted with the ability to talk to animals thanks to a African mountain shaman at age 10 (great parenting there, Nigel), her knowledge and ability to predict what animals can do often plays to her advantage. Her intrigue frequently gets her into trouble with predatory animals, but she’s no doubt one of the most fearless 12-year-old characters to grace the tube. [Best leader trait: Awareness]

          Reggie

            Regina “Reggie” Rocket

            Big sister to the legendary Oswald (Otto) Rocket, this purple-haired speed machine grinded and kickflipped her way past almost every extreme sports gender gap.  She often acted as the voice of reason for her friends, and refused to be silenced in the media by teaming up with Squid to make “The Zine.”  Reggie’s can-do attitude often saves the gang from losing in a last second game against Larz and his cronies. [Best leader trait: Ambition]

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            Wanda

              Wanda

              Wanda Venus Fairywinkle-Cosma, whose name is too fun not to note, is by actual age and practical wisdom the most mature on this list. Even though she’s constantly bombarded by the idiotic wish granting of Cosmo and Timmy’s nimrod antics, she remains level-headed and always manages to save her fairy godson from danger, her husband from himself, and the day all at the same time. Her deep intelligence is often mistaken for senseless nagging. [Best leader trait: Patience]

              Sandy

                Sandra “Sandy” Cheeks

                Sandy is the only character in Spongebob Squarepants that humans can relate to on the basis of oxygen-reliant. This karate kickin’, science lovin’, ultra friendly Texas native exemplifies perhaps the most important characteristic of leadership: fortitude. Whenever Spongebob, Patrick, or any of the other semi-relevant aquatic residents of Bikini Bottom are in trouble or feeling down, Sandy always seems to be the first on the scene with encouraging, progressive, high-ya! plans of action. [Best leader trait: Strength]

                Eddy

                  Eddy

                  In this instance, the negative sounding adjectives that describe this money grabber outweigh most of the more pleasant ones. Eddy is thought of as selfish, overambitious, power hungry, greedy, a loud mouth, and jealous, but do these not perfectly describe some of the best leaders of our time? No matter how you feel about Eddy personally, he’s one of the first toons on this list that I would call if I were starting a company. No matter how often he’s shut down, deterred, or falls short of getting a quarter (and, in turn, a jawbreaker), he’s always back in the next 15 minute segment with another harebrained scheme. [Best leader trait: Tenacity]

                  Velma

                    Velma Dinkley

                    No doubt a genius in every sense of the word, Velma is the unspoken and unrecognized hero resulting in much of the “gang’s” success. If you’ll take notice, she often has a pre-instilled sense of pride and certainty before they pull the mask off the bad guy at the very end. She’s also extremely well-versed in Morse Code and martial arts, two impractical daily skills that seem to come in handy at the right moments. [Best leader trait: Intuition]

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                    TJ2

                      Theodore Jasper “T.J.” Detweiler

                      Nothing “whomps” about this kid as a bold and brave ring leader. With a sweetness and sincerity that only a mother could love, T.J is often the voice of the voiceless when his friends are in danger, and treats each child of the playground with unfiltered equality. Far from an ‘A’ student, his intelligence and know-how is unquestionable. One is left to wonder if he’d be more like Gretchen if he gave an honest effort in his academics. Either way, this red-hat-flipped-backwards playground deviant is fit to lead, so move aside King Bob. [Best leader trait: Brevity]

                      Jimmy

                        Jimmy Neutron

                        It’s pretty common that Jimmy’s big brain gets him, and the rest of Retroville, in serious trouble. This normally requires Jimmy to invent something else to fix the trouble he caused in the first place. He’s not very well-liked by anyone, really, with the exception of his parents, and his socially outcast buddies, Sheen and Carl. But no matter his adversities, Jimmy always finds the brain and willpower necessary to keep inventing, producing, and testing his limits. [Best leader trait: Courage]

                        Brain

                          Brain

                          Say this with me: “megalomaniac mouse.” Isn’t that fun? Brain’s character can be compared to a coconut. Behind his hard, tough exterior of rudeness, short temperament, anger, and sarcasm beats a sensitive heart that truly cares about the world he so desperately tries to take over. Based of the legendary Orson Welles, Brain exhibits leadership qualities bountifully, but none are stronger than his ability to tolerate Pinky and all of his redundant questions. {Best leader trait: Tolerance]

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                          Courage

                            Courage

                            At first glance, this snaggletoothed dog’s name may seem ill-fitting, but as each episode plays out viewers can tell he fits his title. Abandoned as a puppy, Courage is easily frightened and quick to hide when monsters and ghouls show up to greet him, Muriel, and Eustace on the farm. His instinctual fortitude kicks into overdrive upon the realization that his masters (friends) truly are in trouble, particularly Muriel. Though he’s usually at odds, this pup does not allow his shortcomings to stop him from doing whatever is necessary to keep his friends safe. [Best leader trait: Selflessness]

                            Max Good

                              Max Goof

                              Anyone who personally knows me and my love for cartoons is not surprised by this pick. Playing majorly off The Goofy Movie, Max’s story of love and constant disparity is relatable to everyone. He goes to drastic measures to please his friends and impress Roxanne at the assembly, and his display of tireless refusal to back down in the face of adversity is inspiring. Though he stretches the truth by telling Roxanne he’s going to the Powerline concert instead of on an around the country road trip with Goofy, it ends up playing to his favor in his never-ending struggle to do the right thing. [Best leader trait: Poise]

                              Dexter

                                Dexter

                                Known for his intelligence, Dexter fears no risk. Despite his projects often backfiring because he’s either overanxious or overconfident, Dexter is highly skilled at using quick reflexes and problem solving to get the job done. Even though his clueless parents are obviously American, he speaks with a distinct Russian accent which makes me believe that there’s more of an “off screen” life of his that the viewers know nothing about (my wager is on spy). Regardless, Dexter always has his hands in projects and is determined to invent the next useful thing. [Best leader trait: Focus]

                                Tito

                                  Tito Makani

                                  As the ancient Hawaiians say, “The most important races are won in the ocean of the soul.” An endless source of baffling, meaningful quotes like these, Tito is the fry flingin’ burger bandit who runs the Shore Shack with Ray(mundo). He’s always quick to offer the kids “useful” advice and is very eager to listen and help everyone he comes across. His teddy bear-like stature makes him easily approachable, and rumor has it that his burgers are worth missing the incoming swells. [Best leader trait: Compassion]

                                  It was tough to narrow it down to 15, as there were a lot of solid characters that lead me through my childhood. I’m curious to hear what you think. Who did I miss?

                                  Featured photo credit: Cartoon Collage/@WeAre90sKids via twitter.com

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                                  Last Updated on November 5, 2020

                                  Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

                                  Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

                                  Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

                                  Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can, too.

                                  Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll also look at how to overcome fear of failure so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

                                  What Is Fear of Failure?

                                  If you are afraid of failure, it will cause you to avoid potentially harmful situations.

                                  Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

                                  What causes a fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failing exists:

                                  Patterns From Childhood

                                  Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules. This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.

                                  Perfectionism

                                  Perfectionism is often at the root of a fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.

                                  Over-Personalization

                                  The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]

                                  False Self-Confidence

                                  People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

                                  How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

                                  Unhealthy Organization Culture

                                  Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

                                  Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable messes onto someone else. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

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                                  Miss out on Valuable Opportunities

                                  If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago.

                                  They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

                                  Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

                                  Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

                                  High Achievers Become Losers

                                  Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes turns it into a problem. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure that it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major obstacle.

                                  Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

                                  Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so they have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

                                  The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect yourself, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything, and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

                                  If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

                                  Loss of Creativity

                                  Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

                                  Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant, when you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the most creative solution.

                                  The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity, too.

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                                  Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

                                  We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work, and in life.

                                  How to Overcome Fear of Failure (Step-by-Step)

                                  1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

                                  Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

                                  Write down where you think the fear comes from, and try to understand it as an outsider.

                                  If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

                                  Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

                                  2. Reframe Beliefs About Your Goal

                                  Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

                                  If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

                                  At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

                                  3. Learn to Think Positive

                                  In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

                                  Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

                                  Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

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                                  Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

                                  If Disney and Jobs had believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

                                  It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers[9]. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

                                  How To Be A Positive Thinker: Positivity Exercises, Affirmations, & Quotes

                                    4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

                                    Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

                                    Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

                                    5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

                                    There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

                                    It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.

                                    For example, when you start a new business, it’s bound to be a learning experience. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

                                    6. Have a Backup Plan

                                    It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

                                    “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

                                    Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

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                                    Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

                                    There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

                                    7. Learn From Whatever Happens

                                    Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

                                    “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

                                    Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

                                    For more tips on how to overcome fear of failure, check out the video below:

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    To overcome fear of failure, we can start by figuring out where it comes from and reframing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

                                    Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

                                    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

                                    Failures can be blessings in disguise. Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and long-term goals.

                                    More Tips for Conquering Fear

                                    Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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