Goal Achievement – A Calvin & Hobbes Classic!

"Bill Watterson" June 7th 2014, and if you know of Calvin & Hobbes, you’ll enjoy this story. If you don’t know of Calvin & Hobbes, you’ll still enjoy the story – of passion and a classic goal achievement lesson…

Calvin & Hobbes was a cartoon strip about a little boy and his adventures with his toy tiger Hobbes. I say toy tiger, but Hobbes was as real as real could be for Calvin, and readers could relate to Calvin’s problems separating the real world from his imagination.

Created by Bill Watterson, the strip became hugely successful with 10 years of syndication. Watterson was notoriously reclusive – he didn’t give interviews, no autographs, and no merchandising, believing it would take away from the characters he had created.

Then, in 1995, he sent a short note to editors saying he was stopping the strip. That was that, he just stopped it, and slipped away from the limelight he had never been in anyway – no interviews, no autographs, no conventions, no revivals.

I’ve always loved Calvin & Hobbes, and the story of Watterson just stopping because he said he’d done enough appealed to me.

Then June 7th 2014 I noticed a post on Facebook about him returning to the comic scene. I *had* to click the link, and a great story appeared…

Comic Stephan Pastis writes a strip called Pearls Before Swine, and was influenced by Watterson just as so many other cartoonists were. He was due in the area where Watterson lived, so asked another comic friend to ask Bill if they could meet. Bill didn’t reply, which surprised no-one.

The friend suggested that Stephan still email Bill anyway, so he did, sending him a special strip he had written about the reclusiveness of Bill. Here’s where the story takes off…

Not only did Bill reply, he said he loved the strip Stephan had sent!
Not only that, Bill asked if he could run an idea past Stephan to get his opinion!
Not only that, that idea was for Bill to secretly draw Stephan’s own strip!

Wow, double wow, and triple wow.

So, over 3 days in early June 2014, Stephan’s strip appeared, featuring a schoolgirl that could draw better and was showing up Stephan’s lesser skills, tongue in cheek style. People were trying to guess who was doing the drawing, but the sheer reclusiveness of Watterson meant that it didn’t occur to people it would be him.

Bill had asked Stephan not to reveal anything until after the strip had run, so as the last of the 3 strips ran on June 6th, Stephan posted on his blog June 7th.

Let’s not mess about, here’s a plain old link to that post:

The post covers the story, and you can see the strip Stephan sent to Bill, and the 3 strips that Bill drew.

I simply love this story. I love Calvin & Hobbes, so that helps.
I loved the integrity behind Watterson’s actions back then, so that helps.
I love the excitement you can feel from Stephan’s blog post, so that helps.
I love the goal achievement lesson, and it’s this…

Goal achievement theory as many teach it, including myself, says that you should get in touch with people who have already achieved the goal you’re aiming for. It doesn’t matter how famous they might be, do not set limits on who you approach. If you take action and do this step, you never know what might happen.

That’s the lesson, and it cannot be better illustrated (see what I did there?) than this story. Taking action, following your passion, letting your imagination run, they’re all there. It’s a story that made me smile and simply *required* me to write an article about it.

So, look to your own goals – who could you get in touch with that has already done it? Got a list of names? Now pick one of the names. Got one? Now get in touch with them and ask them something. Do it, you might be amazed at happens!

Ok, do let me know what you think, I’d love your feedback! Leave a comment below, and if you enjoyed the article, please share, like, tweet, +1 etc, I’d appreciate it.

‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget to use the connect with me buttons on upper right of the page!
P.P.S. Here’s another article about someone using *exactly* this technique!
Goal Achievement – Mama Mia!
P.P.S. You can also grab my free report on using social media to make profits from your passions, FB Passion Profits – The Basics!

Do leave a comment!

Leave a Comment


  • What an enjoyable post – especially the link to the post. I spent quite a while going through the strips of Calvin and Hobbes. Haven’t laughed so much in a longgg time. Thank you Gordino!

    • Thanks Chris,
      I love this story, and I know I’m going to enjoy getting out my own Calvin & Hobbes books!

  • Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! What a great story, and a great post! First, I’m ashamed to admit I live about 20 minutes from Cleveland and had NO IDEA Bill Watterson lived in the area. (For all I know – he could be my next door neighbor . . . hmmm . . .) Secondly, about a year ago I embraced this philosophy – contacted someone “big” and was shot down. My confidence plummeted and I haven’t reached out in the same way since. NOW – after reading this post – I’m ready to reach out again. Truly, the next experience CAN’T POSSIBLY be as bad as the last!!!!

    • I think you’re right Lisa, many people lving as neighbours to Bill may not even know who he is. Glad the post is prompting you to try again, the story inspired me, and if your next experience *is* as bad as the last, you’ll just try again with the next reach out!

  • Gordon , that is such a wonderful story ! I can only imagine how excited Stephan must have been. Its ” nothing ventured nothing gained ” put into a real life context . Glad you wrote about it ! Well done!

    • Thanks,
      I knew you’d pop along, and I knew you’d love the story – he must still be on cloud 9 today! In fact it was you that introduced me to Calvin & Hobbes – not sure how and not sure when, it was a long time ago, but thanks! 😉