Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Life lessons from Zootopia

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    “In Zootopia, anyone can be anything.”

    Judy Hopps believed it. And she’s just a bunny!

    But Judy didn’t let being “just a bunny stop her from believing she could be Zootopia’s first bunny cop. Everyone thought she was crazy. All the cops in Zootopia were large animals, like rhinos, tigers, wolves, and elephants. Even Mom bunny and Dad bunny tried to talk her into doing something more bunny-appropriate… like raising carrots in Bunnyburrow.

    But Judy didn’t let that stop her, dismissing all the naysayers she worked hard to get into Zootopia’s police academy. And get in she did, even graduating top of her class!

    But reality hits her hard once she gets on the force. Chief Bogo, a very large cape buffalo, wasn’t too interested in being politically correct, and assigned the academy’s top graduate to be a traffic cop.  

    She could hardly believe it! She’s the top grad and she gets parking duty??? Maybe things in Zootopia weren’t as utopian as she grew up believing. Maybe you really can’t be anything you want to be.

    Ever felt that way???


    Judy Hopps realized her Zootopian dreams wouldn’t magically come true. They require consistent hard work and, in her case, pushing through the lack of support. As Chief Bogo so graciously reminded her, “Life isn’t some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true.”

    Bogo is right. Life is not always kind and friendly. Reality tends to dish out liberal doses of discouragement while only sharing scant sprinklings of encouragement. There are more dream crushers than dream catchers, too many doubters and too few believers.

    But don’t you stop dreaming! Just work hard to make your dreams comes true.

    Peter Economy says, “Goals are just dreams with deadlines. Dream big, and you are sure to achieve great things in life and in business.” He expounds on this principle in an article on INC.com, 3 Proven Ways to Make Your Biggest Dreams Come True:

    1. Give yourself permission to dream – The only one stopping you from achieving your biggest dreams is you. The secret to accomplishing your biggest dreams is to give yourself permission to dream. 
    1. Visualize yourself accomplishing your biggest dreams – It is essential to visualize your biggest dreams because this practice will lead you to create a clear mental picture of what you want to accomplish in life, which helps you set your personal and professional goals. 
    1. Put your ideas to work – Use your ideas to define your goals, then prioritize each goal accordingly to accomplish your dreams. Realize that dreams don't come true overnight while you're sleeping. It takes time, effort, and patience--and being completely awake and fully engaged.


    Judy wanted to be a full-fledged cop, catching bad guys, solving crimes. Instead, Chief Bogo disregards her top-of-the-class record and relegates her to writing traffic tickets. Still, Judy strives to be the best parking cop she can be. Thanks to her perceptible hearing she’s able to detect every expiring meter and processes 200 tickets before lunchtime.

    She played the hand dealt, saw the opportunities around her, and made the best of it.

    No matter our situation, the challenges we face, nor the naysayers, bullies and pessimists, we are also surrounded by opportunities. Open your eyes to see them. More importantly, open your mind. Winston Churchill said it well: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

    Seeing opportunities means we don’t blame others, for anything. If we want to take complete control of our life, Brian Tracy teaches, “the first thing you must do is to accept 100% responsibility for yourself and for everything that happens from this minute forward. Accept responsibility and take charge. You especially must keep yourself positive and focused. You do this by reminding yourself and repeating these words: I am responsible! I am responsible! I am responsible!’’


    Being rewarded is not why we do good deeds. Yet the Law of Reciprocity states no good deed goes unpunished.

    Our bunny cop Judy discovered this. While on parking duty she saved a rodent from being crushed by a giant donut. Later on this simple good deed helped her out of a sticky situation.

    Generally we don’t expect a good deed to be returned to us by the receiver. Yet, in practicality in often happens. Buy lunch for a coworker and that same coworker will often buy lunch for you the next time.

    It’s all about fairness, or being even. Turning again to Brian Tracy: “When you do something physical for someone such as helping them move or lending them your lawnmower, they want to pay you back by reciprocating in some way. We have a deep psychological need to be even with others. If a person does something for you, we feel a need to get even by doing something nice in return.”

    The more universal principal is often called Karma. What goes around comes around. If you’re good to others, others down the road will be good to you.

    Adam Grant, in his book Give and Take, which I’ve just begun, calls these people who search for fairness in doing good deeds, “matchers.” You do for me, I do for you. Later on we’ll explore his thoughts of the three primary roles of givers, matchers, and takers.


    I leave you with this final advice from Zootopia’s first bunny cop, Judy Hopps:

    Real life is messy. We all have our limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means – hey, glass half full! – we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So no matter what kind of person you are, from the biggest elephant to our first fox, I implore you: Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us.

    Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

    Les Patterson

    P.S. Take 13 minutes today to explore Joseph LaLonde’s, “13 leadership lessons from Zootopia.” And go see Zootopia!

    Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at www.CacheValleyMediaGroup.com. Feedback and comments are welcome at les@cvradio.com. ©2016, Les Patterson. All Rights Reserved.