The Wonderful Wisdom of Calvin and Hobbes

by Henrik Edberg

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

When I was a kid one of my favorite things was to go down to the local used books store with my weekly allowance in hand.

I didn’t go there so much for the books, but for the comic books. For the superhero comics, the Scrooge McDuck adventures and the funny ones. I could get a whole bag of used comic books for just a few dollars.

One of my favorite monthly comic books from that time had all these odd and hilarious comics from all around the world. And one of them was Calvin and Hobbes. I didn’t always understand it, Calvin and Hobbes had strange and serious thoughts mixed in with the crazy and imaginative adventures of the small boy and his best friend.

I still return to Calvin and Hobbes from time to time. And the things I didn’t quite understand then make more sense now.

So in this article I’d like to share some of my favorite thought-provoking and witty wisdom from Calvin and Hobbes. I highly recommend checking out the comic books in your local library, on Amazon or in your own local used books store if you haven’t already.

1. Look around you and appreciate your life as it is right now.

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

Take a few minutes to not just be looking at the next thing you need to do. On the goal you are focused on. Focus on those things too.
But spend most of your time in the present moment. Work and play there fully and not with your thoughts elsewhere.

Pause during your day and be still. Take those pauses to appreciate the wonderful things around you. The people, the weather, a roof over your head during winter and the food and so on. All the big but also small and good things you may sometimes take for granted in your life.

2. Everyone has bad days.

“Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won’t help.”

No matter how optimistic or how solid your habits for getting things done are there will be bad days.

Sometimes you can turn them around by for example getting an energy kick and releasing some stress through exercising.

And sometimes you can do no more than accept that this is how things are right now. And that can actually help. When you accept and you stop feeding the issues of that day with more energy – the energy you use when you so intensely want to control and fix the issues – I have found that many of the negative feelings and thoughts in one’s mind tend to fall away and disappear. It becomes easier to think more clearly again and you feel better.

And use a bad day as fuel from creativity and learn what you can from it.

A bad day when things don’t go so well often wind up being one of my more creative days in retrospect. I rethink things on such days. I learn from mistakes and temporary failures. I get new ideas.

You can also see such a day as a reminder of how life will not always bend to your will and be perfect. A very helpful mental habit to develop to reduce stress and the pressure you put upon yourself and to live a happier life.

3. Find the time for lazying around.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

Life isn’t just what can be captured on a to-do list. It is not achievement upon achievement.

At least for me life is also to spend some time with just lazying around in pajama bottoms on the weekend. To spend some time every afternoon with just petting our cats. To hang out with my girlfriend or friends and sometimes do nothing much at all.

Because there is much happiness to find in doing the nothing you want to do. And because you can often find new ideas and directions when you not doing much at all.

4. A friend can help.

“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.”

If you feel scared or worried about something then that thing tends to become bigger and more frightening the longer you hold onto it alone and in your mind.

So instead, let a friend help you.

Let what you are scared or worried about out. Talk to your friend about the issue. Just being able to vent and to get someone else’s perspective on things can make a world of difference. It can make you see things in a less scary light.

And maybe the two of you can even find a first practical step you can take to start resolving the situation.

5. Do what YOU want to do.

“What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a sombrero?”

It can be hard to do what you truly want to do. How will people react? What will they think or say?

To just fit in is most often – in the short run at least – easier.

But the cost in the long run can become a life where you are almost always holding back.

So maybe you cannot do what you want all the time. There are consequences and responsibilities and at least temporary limitations in a regular life.

But do what you can with what have right now. Take small steps outside of your comfort zone – if the bigger ones feel too scary – in various parts of life.

And don’t focus too much on how people may react. My own experience is that in most cases they will be somewhat or very supportive or pretty indifferent. The truth is that the world does not revolve around me or you. People rarely have very much time or energy to spare for thinking much about what you do anyway. They are busy with their own lives.




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{ 25 comments }

Martin S. January 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Wonderful piece of a blog post, Calvin & Hobbes is just magical and there are so many references to everyday life, both as a kid and as an adult.

I’d like to add one moment to the list. One of the finest moments in the entire series:

“It’s a magical world – let’s go exploring.”

http://i.imgur.com/Xdoqd.png

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for the kind words and for adding that one. It truly is one of the finest ones.

Roman Soluk January 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Very real and true tips. But the first one is great. We really need to look around and appreciate our today’s life. It’s so short… Many of us are constantly making plans without realizing them, we are waisting our lives. Live today!
Thanks Henrik for this inspiration! It’s great!

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thank you Roman, I appreciate the continued support! :)

Trevor January 11, 2013 at 3:13 am

“Do what YOU want to do.”

Truth. Perfect, simple truth. There are enough miserable bastards going about their zombie lives with nothing to show for their unhappiness except for a little bling and some neglected relationships.

Don’t fall into the trap of living society’s “ideal” life. You know; nice house, 2 cars, and a white picket fence. These things are just things.

Life is experience! Live it!

However makes you happy. Just live it. Don’t waste any time . . . you’ll run out of it soon enough.

Cheers!

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Thank you sharing your inspirational viewpoint, Trevor!

Jaime January 11, 2013 at 4:06 am

I agree 110% with these tips. I think it is so important that numbers 3 and 4 are the most important. It is so important that we stop our busy schedules to just take a breather and chill out…everything you have to do will still be there when you are done taking some “you” time. I think it’s also important to rely on the support of the loved ones you have. It’s not healthy to keep everything inside and a good friend is always ready for a vent session to help out!

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Thank you for sharing, Jaime! Those are some wise words.

Inspiring Citizen January 11, 2013 at 8:27 am

Dear Henrik and my dear fellow readers,

Whenever I go to most of the blog posts people just say – hey you have done a great job, your article is stunning etc.

I seriously doubt whether people go deep down the article to understand the inner meaning of it. I am saying this because we are a generation who just skims through articles and how do you expect to get the entire essence of the article. So next time you visit any self help blog please visit only when you can invest quality time to go through the article because that is when you get most value out of it.

Please correct me if I am wrong and also you can share your thoughts and feelings on how you see this.

If you apply these 10 words used by Obama, more people will start loving you because he has already proved that to the world. Some may disagree with me on this and that is expected.

http://www.inspiringcitizen.com/10-positive-words-obama/

Love you and speak to you soon.

Sincerely
Inspiring Citizen

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Hi there! I don’t know how other people think or use their comments. But I know that I at least have written comments on other blogs that have been very short and appreciative after having read a whole article with no skimming. That is my two cents. :)

Inspiring Citizen January 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Dear Henrik,

Thank you for your valuable feedback and the feedback was not aimed at you.

Regards,
Inspiring Citizen

William Veasley January 12, 2013 at 12:53 am

Hey Henrik,

Awesome points here my man! It’s not easy and it takes a lot of strength, but I have started to walk my own path and make my own trail. For so much of my life I have been a follower of mankind and now I am no longer that same man. I have lost a lot of my so called friends because I live my life differently, but I am in the process of finding new ones which is a bit hard because I tell then truth and don’t bite my tounge at all anymore (Besides at work). I just believe a true friend isn’t someone that’s going to tell you what you want to hear, a true friend is going to speak their mind and tell you what they believe to be right and even if it is something they know you wouldn’t want to hear. Those are the type of friends I look for, but as also some of the hardest to find.

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Thank you William! I wish you the best in your search and on your journey!

Leanne January 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Henrik!
Thanks so much! My kids are always reading calvin and Hobbes! Little did I know how inspirational and educational it is. No wonder my kids are so amazing. All this time I thought it was My influence! haha

Thank you for your wonderful, positive articles. Keep up the great work!

“What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a sombrero?” –Leanne

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Thank you! I will. :)

Heather January 14, 2013 at 2:34 am

Henrik –
I loved this post so much.
I think we all struggle with keeping a positive mind and preventing ourselves from slipping into a spiral of negative self-talk, especially when bad things happen. This is exactly why I like the quote about “lucky rocketship underpants.” It reminds us that sometimes stuff just happens regardless of who you are or what you “deserve;” it is the nature of existence.
I am a new blogger trying to be encourage positive self image through a creative writing blog and seeing others out there in this growing community is inspiring.
Thanks for the post and for running this blog.
Heather

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Thank you very much, Heather! I wish you the best of luck with your blog!

Charley January 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hi,

I randomly stumbled accross your blog and it has really made me smile and topped up my positivity so, thanks! All the best. x

Henrik Edberg January 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Welcome and thank you! Glad you liked it!

Christina Sponias January 16, 2013 at 3:50 am

Comics teach you many things. I loved them when I was a child and a teen, but then I started reading other things that occupied my mind all the time, and I forgot their existence. Your post was a nice reminder. I like specially the part about doing nothing. This is something I really miss.

Erika Matos January 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Do I love this? Indeed I do! Because lately I’m recognizing so many lessons hidden in comics, cartoons, and material aimed at kids. Not to say that there isn’t any brain junk out there, but it’s refreshing to know that we can still find wisdom in the innocence of a drawing with words. Thanks for this post! xo

Maristela January 19, 2013 at 5:01 am

Dear Henrik – I was looking on Google for an article about positive thoughts and there you were! So I start to read it, and simply love it. So much I copy some of the things you have wrote and sent to friends of mine who really could use the encouragement. Like this one for example. I am a mother of one child 11 years old who is growing to learn about himself and his place here in the world. I personally struggled for many years with the feeling of inferiority, and for the first time I am enjoying where I am right now -As you said . Thank you!!

Ben January 20, 2013 at 6:49 am

Yep, the thought of being perfect and never having a bad day is tempting and some people try to present themselves as not having this. But we all do, no matter how perfect or humble we are. :P

And the doing what you want to do stands out to me aswell. It reminds me of the old saying that while your thinking of what people think about you they are thinking about what everyone else thinks of them.

-Ben

Noel January 21, 2013 at 3:31 am

Hi Hendrik, someone broke my car window and stole my bag last Friday. I’m feel so awful and sad about the incident and keep thinking “I’m suppose to go back early, I’m not suppose to…, I should have… ” . Yes, I spent a lot of energy trying to ‘fix the issue’ and that’s why it’s so hard for me to get over it. The fact is, it had already happened and is irreversible. I need to accept it, then move on, because “Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won’t help.” right? Thanks Hendrik..

Najla Speaks January 29, 2013 at 4:46 am

I love this! Very practical… and all from a comic strip :}

http://najlaspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/got-breakfast-are-you-still/

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