Doug Funnie and the Inspiring Life

Doug Funnie

Doug Funnie is my hero.

If you don’t know who Doug is, shame on you.  Doug was the titular character on his own TV show on Nickelodeon (and eventually ABC) back in the early 90’s.  In each episode, Doug struggled to find his way as a normal kid in suburban America, dealing with things like bullies, grade school crushes, lack of confidence, fear of trying new things, and more.

“Doug” debuted in 1991 when I was just a wee little lad, which meant that I looked to Doug as a role model.  Not because he was the best at anything, or because he was cool, but because he was just like me!

  • He was a picky eater.
  • He dreamed of being a superhero and international spy
  • He wanted to be in a band
  • He struggled with self-confidence
  • He was a good guy who always tried to do the right thing

As I grew up, I continued looking to Doug and his cartoon life for advice. I was such a Doug fan and identified so much with the character that I went to my high school senior masquerade in high school dressed as Doug!  You can’t make this stuff up, and who would?

Today, let’s take a look at what we can learn from Doug.

You’re gonna wanna listen to the Doug theme song while reading this.  I apologize to your coworkers, as you’ll be singing “do do do!” ALLLLLL DAY.  

Scared?  Do it anyway

Doug on the Wall When we first meet doug, he has just moved to Bluffington, and he’s terrified that he won’t make any friends.

As a shy guy, one can sympathize.

Fortunately, Doug musters up some confidence, wanders down to the Honker burger (despite being scared to do so) and immediately befriends his eventual best friend, Skeeter, and (love interest) Patti Mayonnaise.

I doubt the Honker burger served grassfed beef and sweet potato fries, but we’ll let it slide this time.  

Had Doug sat at home, feeling sorry for himself, he never would have made these lifelong friends.  He realized that if he wanted something in life, he had to take it.  Sitting around hoping and wishing and waiting for something to good to happen doesn’t work.

It takes action!

What are you sitting around waiting, wishing, and hoping to happen? 

What are you putting off because you’re scared?  You should probably do that, immediately!  As Eleanor Roosevelt told us, “Do one thing that scares you every day.”

  • Try a new food.
  • Have a conversation and talk to a stranger.
  • Sign up for a new class.
  • Volunteer for a new project at work.

Ignore the people that don’t matter

bully clenched fist

Along with meeting his best friends at the Honkerburger, Doug also happens to run into his new nemesis, Roger Klotz.

Roger was one of those people you can’t help but dislike: he gets great satisfaction about making Doug uncomfortable, miserable, and just causing trouble. Rather than trying to improve his own life or look at his own insecurities, Roger only seeks to bring others down to his level.

For the entirety of the Doug series, Doug and Roger battled back and forth over every issue imaginable.  Roger tried to bring Doug down, and Doug continued to strive to be better.

Here’s the truth – if you are doing anything of importance or trying to better yourself, you will run into people trying to bring you down.  You can choose to listen to these confidence-sucking vampires, or you can recognize them for what they are: sad people who are unhappy and bring others down to feel better about themselves.  To borrow from another 90’s television show that helped mold my youth…haters gonna hate, slaters gonna slate.

Don’t let the haters keep you from doing things that you want to do.  Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.  If you don’t have any of those people in your life, join us online.    

Use your journal


“Dear Journal…” started a lot of our adventures with Doug, as he chronicled ALL of his adventures.

He wrote down when he had good days, bad days, what went right, and what went wrong.  If you happened to stumble across Doug’s journal years from now, you could go back through it and discover everything you ever needed to know about the man.

What does YOUR journal look like?

I keep a journal, though its less about my feelings and instead more about my training.  I can go back through the last eight weeks, for example, and see how my workouts have gone, how many calories I’ve consumed, how much stronger I’ve become, and which days were good and which days were bad.

Because I know exactly how things have gone, I have no problem analyzing my results and then changing my plans in the future improve!

When it comes to tracking results, two quotes come to mind: “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” and “That which measured gets improved.”

If you are trying to get healthy, lose weight, get stronger, run faster, or jump higher…

  • Specifically how are you improving?
  • What kind of results are you getting?
  • How quickly are you progressing?
  • What days do you feel good on, and what days do you feel bad on?

KEEP A FREAKING JOURNAL!  The more you can track, the more metrics you’ll have to show whether or not you’re succeeding.  Just ask Saint or Staci; if they weren’t tracking their weight, measurements, and photos, they never would have known adjustments were necessary halfway through.

Track everything, and do it properly

Don’t be afraid to transform yourself


Doug was a normal kid growing up in suburban America.  He had a normal life, with normal friends, and normal problems.

However, he constantly dreamed of being something MORE than that.

When faced with a particularly taxing problem, he would imagine himself as one of two alter egos:

  • Quail-Man, a super hero who fought evil with patience, intelligence, speed, and the “Quail-Eye.”
  • Smash Adams, a suave international spy who never got overwhelmed no matter how dire the consequences.

Doug would then take the actions that he knew his alter-egos would have done…and proceed to save the day.

Although everybody has imagined themselves as James Bond at some point (I even lived like him for a weekend), how many people create superheroes that wear belts on their head and underwear on the outside?

Doug, that’s who!

Doug created characters that  possessed the qualities he lacked.  His alter-egos were confident, powerful, calm under pressure, and knew what to do in any situation.

Who’s your alter ego and what are they good at?   What skills do you wish you had?  Try imagining yourself as somebody completely different, and then do what they would do.

  • If you are shy, your alter ego is outgoing.
  • If you get scared at trying new things, your alter ego goes out of his way to try new things.
  • If you are afraid of failure, your alter-ego actively seeks it out.

Here’s how to create your own version of Quail-man in 4 Easy Steps.

Banging on a Trash Can

old trash can

Although he wrote one helluva catchy song, Doug was a normal dude trying to in a normal life.

No radioactive spiders, no gamma rays, no zombie apocalypses, just a kid, his imagination, and a desire to figure out this game we call life.

I doubt there’s a single rebel in the Nerd Fitness Community that can’t relate.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, a Doug or a Patti, it’s okay to want a better life for yourself.  But you need to go after it.  Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try new things.  If you are scared, create a version of yourself that isn’t scared, and then live as him when the moment calls for it.

Doug, thank you sir.  You have inspired me to be better.  

Hopefully after today, you’ve inspired my fellow Rebels to be better as well.


Zach DanielsToday’s Rebel Hero: Doug played the banjo so this seems like an appropriate time to give a shout out to Zach Daniels, one of the world’s best banjo players and a great friend of mine.

Zach is the man, loves Nerd Fitness (as referenced by his epic pose in his Nerd Fitness shirt here), and he’s got a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new album and new band, Silversmith (him and his sister, how cool is that!).

I don’t plug too many things on Nerd Fitness, so thanks for checking out the campaign, watch the video, and listen to the song.  Good luck Zach!  Excited to hear the new record.


photo source:, journal, quail-man, doug on the wall, clenched fist, trash can

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    25 thoughts on “Doug Funnie and the Inspiring Life

    1. Haha, I actually caught an episode of Doug last night after not watching it since childhood! The one where he played on the football team and was known as the “Kid with the Golden Toe.”

      I find that I want to prepare until I reach perfection instead of just going out and just trying and failing and learning and having fun. For instance, I want to be in perfect shape before I join the biking group in my community. After reading this article, I am definitely going to join the group!

      Great article! Thanks Steve!

    2. I love Doug! I used to read that comic strip all the time… back in the days when I actually got the Sunday paper.

      I love all your points, but my favorite is to dream of being something more—to transform yourself into an alter ego.

      Acting as an alter ego offers so many possibilities… you can dream you’re an athlete, and actually become one! You can be a confident, outgoing person even when you’re shy (my weakness), or someone who eats healthy and loves to cook even when the normal you doesn’t.

      So cool! Thanks Steve!

    3. As usual, you make me think about who I am, as well as who I want to be.
      In the time, place and family in which I was raise; it was more about what I couldn’t, shouldn’t, or shouldn’t want to do. But I oh-so-secretly aspired to be…Lt. Uhura. She was so brave, in the truest sense of the world – willing to take on an assignment that scared her. Smart, dependable, and a member of the bridge crew. No one ever told her she couldn’t do something because she was “just” a girl. And I thought it was so cool that the only one smart enough to take her place was Spock himself!

      But you know, somehow over the last 45 years, I forgot some of this. Thanks for the reminder Steve.

    4. You’re right about talking to strangers. A couple of years ago I made it a point to open up conversation with total strangers and beautiful women. This is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone.

      Here’s a random story about Doug: I used to get in trouble as a kid for calling my kid brother “patti mayonnaise” because his name was Patrick.

    5. I just love your stuff. And I love how you have so many links to other helpful past blogs!!! I go to read one and end up reading several. There is ALWAYS something that I find in your blogs that allows me to level up. You rock. You’re hilarious and clever…but also a huge blessing to all of us here in the community. THANK YOU.

    6. The “talk to strangers” is quite challenging (for me) but I just learned that people actually respond in a good manner (most of the time). I took that challenge from “The Flinch” book. I have added more from this article, and more of my own. I still am scared, but I know I have to push thru. Thanks for the great post.

    7. I feel a much deeper connection with you today Steve! I’m a huge fan of 90’s Nick with shows like Doug, Hey Arnold, and the like shaping my childhood. I still watch these shows today as I have them all on my iPod. It’s because of this that I must nitpick your article just slightly. Doug did not go to the Honker Burger because he was brave he went because his dad told him to get the family food.

      But I think that helps your article just the same. Doug faced his fears and ventured into the unknown to provide for his family. After a long journey to a new town they were tired and hungry with only Doug to rely on. Sometimes we decide to brave or do things we aren’t comfortable with for someone we care about instead of for ourselves but we still put ourself on the line and grow from it.

    8. Excite and fright.

      Living by this and pushing forward.

      I write 3 pages stream of conscious every morning adding my daily intention and close the day with a page of gratitude. Yes, lots of feelings in there. A morning dump to move clearly through the day.
      I like that you track what you consume. As of last December I began tracking all of my resources, time, money, expenditures, and including fuel for the body. 9 months later, I still track the resources and know that what I consume matches me perfectly.

      I appreciate what you share! Thanks!

    9. Steve, I love your posts here. You break down big concepts in a fun way that’s easy to relate to. Doug is definitely a good guy to look up to: gonna have to see if this show might be on Netflix, as this post made me nostalgic for my Nick Toons. Cheers!

    10. Oh I totally remember Doug!!! I watched that as a kid as well. Great article. Relating to Doug is easy and I always enjoyed the show. 🙂

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    17. Man, I freakin’ LOVED Doug. I thought I didn’t have a good high school experience like I expected from shows like Doug (though that wasn’t high school iirc). Then I realized, I actually kinda did. I had some friends, I got bullied (and once had my life seriously threatened). I didn’t go to prom. I had crushes but didn’t really do much about them except one but that… she was not a very serious person. 6 years ago, before I joined NF, I watched the episode where Doug tried to lose weight, and it kinda inspired me to start working on it, for a little while. But I watched it again recently and all I can say is, I am, Ronald Weisenheimer!

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