Things I’ve Learned From Parks and Rec’s Leslie Knope (Part 1)


Leslie Knope has easily been one of the funniest characters to ever be on television. She’s free-spirited, goofy, eccentric, but she’s also friendly, loyal, kind and inspiring. She started as a lower level, Parks and Recreation maintenance employee in Pawnee, Indiana, which was, “first in friendship, fourth in obesity.”

1. Be yourself.

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When the entire town of Pawnee was against her, whether it was from marrying gay penguins to trying to reduce obesity, Leslie Knope challenged the idea of succumbing to what everyone around her wanted her to be. She was completely and utterly the goofy, loyal friend with big dreams, who never apologized from being who she was and going after what she wanted.

2. Strive for a positive attitude.

Leslie’s optimistic spirit is what made her character so great. Even when all the odds were against her, like the town trying to recall her from city council, or when her best friend moved away to have a better life for her child, Leslie’s actions were out of love and, eventually, she was 100% supportive because she knew everything would be ok. Her happy attitude even in her darkest times made her relatable to everyone who aspired to be like her.

3. Try not to be so negative.

Yes, this ties in having appositive attitude, but being negative encompasses so many things. When Leslie was running against Bobby Newport, she didn’t want to do an attack against his campaign. When Leslie insults someone, it’s little insults, like “In my experiences with butt-faces, you are one.” Being kind to those who aren’t very kind to you can help maintain that positive attitude.

4. It’s okay to be inspired by yourself.

imageIt’s hard to rely on everyone around you for inspiration and sometimes, inner motivation is more of an inspiration. Leslie Knope was not ashamed to admit that she is inspired by herself and has her own photo framed, along with Hillary Clinton’s and others.

5. Things don’t always work out how you expected.

Her inevitable recall from Pawnee’s City Council could have dampened Leslie’s dreams to be a big time politician, but any situation she handled with grace (except that time she threw Native American artifacts in her soon-to-be park to prevent Jamm from building a new Paunch Burger there).

6. Waffles are just as important as friends.

“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles and work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter. But work has to come third.” She treated breakfast foods with as high a quality as loyalty and respect as she treated her best friend, and unfortunately heterosexual gal pal, Ann Perkins with, which we should all do to both our breakfast foods and our friends.

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Every day I try to be a little more like Leslie Knope. Here are some start tips: put too much coffee on your whipped cream, eat waffles with friends, when baking buy one whip cream for baked goods and one for directly into mouth, and to be positive when things look bleak. I am one of those people who suffers from a very pessimistic attitude and even channeling a bit of Leslie Knope decreases that. It’s a struggle, but we should all want to be as happy with life as her. Until next time…

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