Wednesday, June 19, 2013

100,000 – That’s all Folks!

"You birds have 100,000 bad drawings in you—
start getting rid of them now!"

These are the words that Chuck Jones heard on his first day of class at the Chouinard Art Institute.

I don’t know if the rest of his classmates took the instructor’s advice seriously, but Chuck certainly did. In fact, he got busy knocking down the bad drawing count that very day. Good thing, too. When a studio opportunity came knocking, he was ready to answer the door. The rest became “What’s up Doc?” history when Chuck created Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Porky Pig, and the gang.

Chuck never forgot that opening line, and he repeated it often over the years. In fact, The Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas features a manhole cover labeled “100,000 Bad Drawings”. 

Everyone should have one of those.

Obviously, Chuck and his teacher knew that practice trounces talent every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

A lot of folks out there won’t even start churning out their 100,000 bad drawings, poems, science projects, whatever, because they tell themselves something like this —

“Sure I’d like to be a great artist, writer, scientist, auto mechanic, whatever, but I just don’t have the talent for it.”

Well guess what, Cupcake – you were born with no talent for walking either.

None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

I mean, if someone had offered you a billion dollars to walk 5 steps at the age of 5 weeks, you wouldn't have gotten your diaper to clear even a one-inch hurdle.

Welcome to the 100,000 rule.

I’ve raised two children and have witnessed the process firsthand. Trust me when I say that you had at least 100,000 bad steps inside of you. 

And trust me on this one, too — you never said, not even once, “Well, Snap! I have absolutely NO talent for this! Good God, I’ll never make it as a walker! I am DOOMED to butt-scoot for the rest of my days!”

You didn’t say any of this, but I know exactly what you were thinking…

You see, my daughter was a late walker. She didn't take her first step until she was a full eighteen months old. Apparently, she had other priorities – like focusing her brain development on all things language rather than the motor cortex. So here’s the thing — she was speaking in clear, full sentences before her toes ever touched the floor. She was like those babies in the e-trade commercials back before there were e-trade commercials. It actually used to creep my mom out a bit, but that’s another story…

Anyway, when my daughter finally had enough of crawling headlong into the coffee table, she pulled herself up and did what you did way back when.

I have the entire “falling flat on her face scene” on video. Then it got a little weird.

After she pulled herself up, but before she took another one of her 100,000 bad steps, she shouted —


I kid you not. 

Over and over again. 

As any parent will tell you, her 100,000 bad steps were over in a flash, and from her moves on the basketball court, you’d think she was born with stepping talent. She wasn't. But she believed.

You did, too. And I’ll bet you said exactly the same thing she did – you just weren't able to say it out loud at the time.

Say it now.

100,000 times.

PROMPT: Be a believer! Get some of those bad drawings, paintings, poems, stories, songs, and science projects out of the way today… one baby step at a time.


  1. I BELIEVE, my friend, I believe. ^_^

    1. Of course you do -- And GREAT things are happening because of it! ;-) Can't wait 'til your big book debut!