When I first encountered The Little Prince, I agreed that it was a children’s book. It had illustrations that looked like crude drawings of a small child. Its characters include a fox, a snake, a pilot and a Little Prince. But once I started reading the book, I found out that it wasn’t really about a pilot stuck in a dessert with a mysterious little boy.
It is about my life’s journey to adulthood and how my life has changed so much because I have forgotten to appreciate the simple things that make me happy. Going over the book was a refresher, reading it was enlightening and very inspiring.
Here are 5 of the best lessons I’ve learned from the book:
1. But he would always answer, “That’s a hat.” Then I wouldn’t talk about boa constrictors or jungles or stars. I would put myself on his level and talk about bridge and golf and politics and neckties. And my grown-up was glad to know such a reasonable person.
What’s the difference between a hat and a boa constrictor? It’s perspective.
While the child drew a snake, the adults saw it as a hat. Being grown up is a state of mind. Children are creative and imaginative, while adults become so engrossed with the day to day life and are interested only in numbers and figures.
We shouldn’t stop being imaginative and creative because we’ve grown old, we’ve grown old because we’ve stopped being imaginative and creative. Life is more than just our “9 to 5” job, it’s about having fun and doing what we love to do. That’s what it truly means to live your life.
2. “Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers does he have? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
In the world of grown-ups, everything is quantified. From work to society, it has become a numbers game. We create stereo types based on figures and statistics. People are judged based on quantitative analysis rather than their person.
The world has become dull and boring because of the obsession to figures and materials. We’ve forgotten that life is more than just a counting game, it’s about quality. Success is not all about riches and fame, but it is achieving happiness in what you do.
3. “All men have stars,” he answered, “but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman, they were wealth. But all the stars are silent. You—and you alone–will have the stars as no one else has them–”
When you look up to the heavens, you see countless stars. These stars represent what we value in life.
Different people look at the world differently. The star you choose represents what you treasure. But another person may choose another star because it’s what he values.
It is important to know that we should value those that are close to our hearts-aspirations, ambitions and people. Others may disagree, but it is your life. It is what you’ve chosen to do and what you’ve chosen to treasure. Do not follow other people’s star, follow yours and your dreams will come true.
4. “I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
Enduring entails patience. Patience with a caterpillar is like having to wait for eternity. But if you want to see something as beautiful as a butterfly, you’ve got to wait for the caterpillar.
This is like the ugly duckling story because the duckling became a beautiful swan in the end. There has to be a point in our life when we were caterpillars…ugly, shy and afraid. Growth may be slow, but the important thing is if we keep working on it, we will become swans someday. We just have to believe that there is a beautiful butterfly inside us waiting to come out.
5. “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart… Now here is my secret, it’s very simple: You can only see things clearly with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Credit the romantics for making use of this as one of the most famous love quotes of all-time. But if you read it over and over again, there’s more to this than love.
The heart doesn’t only contain matters of love, it also contains the fuel for the soul-your inspirations and motivations. As grown-ups, we live every day in search of something. But we don’t find it because we don’t even know what we’re looking for. As persons, we must first search our hearts and know what’s inside it. Knowing what our heart wants is the right motivation to success.
The lines in the book really need no explanation. The book uses simple words and effortless sentences. Don’t read it with your mind, read it with your heart and you’ll realize it’s about life, it’s about you. Read it again, you’ll be surprised to know how simple and beautiful life is, in the eyes of the Little Prince.
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