6 Life Lessons from The Little Prince

The Little Prince was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous French writer and poet. It is one of the top translated books in the world and voted one of the best 20th century books in France. This book embodies many conceptual lessons regarding loss, love, friendship and “grown ups”. It was written for kids, but really for adults (you’ll understand when you read it). Here are some life concepts from this book:

1. “All grown ups were once children, but few of them remember it”

Our body may grow old, but our heart need not to: Lose the inner child and you may lose your creativity and without creativity innovation becomes very difficult.

2. Be honest, to yourself and others. If not, it might cost you dearly.

In this book, there’s a rose that The Little Prince cares for deeply. He waters her and protects her from predators. One day, the rose says that she does not need him to survive. Her pride causes The Little Prince, the only one person who loved her, to leave. Be true to yourself, don’t let your pride cloud reality.

3. The essential is invisible to the eyes.

One of the main messages of the book (The Fox’s secret):

“One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.” 

We see things too much on the exterior, we judge too fast and think too little. There are wonderful people in this world that cannot be discovered simply with the naked eye.

4. Don’t be a geographer, be an explorer.

During his journey, The Little Prince meets a geographer. The geographer states that he knows every place and everywhere but never actually been to any of them. He knows about some distant stars but has even never explored his own homeland. It is beneficial to know something; but to feel, that is something entirely different. We reach towards the stars, but forget the beauty that is underneath.

5. Enjoy the ride, you’ll only get this one.

In the Little prince’s journey, he encounters a worker whom follows his job orders on a planet that revolves every minute. He never gets a moment of rest. Some of us are the same, we work so much that we forget to enjoy the things some others don’t have the privilege to. Appreciation is key to happiness.

6. The person in the mirror.

On his journey, The Little Prince meets a King whom can only speak of others and only knows what he rules. It is easy to speak of others, but it is hardest to judge oneself. This theme is essential in investing. Judging yourself is what helps one grow. Knowing your own limitations may prevent disastrous investments.

*Here’s an exercise to improve your qualities, suggested by Warren Buffett: Take a notepad and write down the greats that you admire, and why you admire them. Then, list qualities of these greats that you find attractive or would like to have. If you think of it, most of those qualities aren’t special skills, and with practice, you can make them your own.

I discovered this book through my father, who has a passion for French literature and education. This book has been a huge influence in my life philosophy and creativity. I highly recommend reading it, it’s very short (you can read it within an hour). If it’s your first time reading this, don’t rush it, enjoy it. You can find The Little Prince here.

Of course, JMO (just my opinion).

 

 

 

 

Why Greatness?

From Alexander the Conqueror, to Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, to Warren Buffett, all these legendary stars had one thing in common, greatness. They had certain characteristics that distinguished them head and shoulders above the rest.

Everyone works hard, so why aren’t we able to achieve greatness in what we do? Firstly, you’re probably not doing the work you love. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant didn’t become greats because they loved money, they succeeded because they were in a line of work they loved. They weren’t forced to practice everyday, they not only wanted to- they needed to. We often attribute success to the wrong things.

The way to achieving greatness begins in your line of work, particularly the work you love. I’m not talking about a casual interest, it needs to be something you go out of your way to do, and excel in. As Steve Jobs puts it If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. You need to find what you love to do, period.

But why strive for greatness? Why not just do good enough work and call it a day? If you’re satisfied with the latter then save yourself some time and read no further.

How To Start Your Journey Towards Greatness?

Jim Collins, author of the best-seller, Good to Great provides an exceptional answer to the whys and hows of greatness. To start on the hows of greatness, we go to an outstanding concept:”Level 5 Leadership”. To achieve greatness, you must become a Level 5 leader. To achieve this level, you must start with yourself. The characteristics of a great leader are honesty and modesty. In success, they always give credit, never take. When things go poorly, they look in the mirror, not around. Being this leader means that you are crazed about results and performance, you want the very best, no less and you will do absolutely any amount of work to reach it. You can start with improving yourself and climbing the ladder of leadership levels.

The End Game of Greatness

Why does achieving greatness matter? When it’s all said and done, it’s impossible to live a great life if you haven’t found meaning in it. It’s equally difficult to live a meaningful life without meaningful work, for your work will take up much of your time.

“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs

Perhaps in doing great work, you’ll gain that rare feeling of a job well completed, that feeling in creating something of value, something worth more than the sum of its parts. Or maybe even better, as Collin puts it:

“…you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”

-Jim Collins, Good to Great

Good to Great was exceptionally written. Collins shows that greatness is indeed attainable, and illustrates what distinguishes the best from the rest. Indeed he does outline the qualities of great leaders and provides guidelines for theses traits while analyzing a list of companies. My mentor recommended this book to me, and as he passed on his recommendation to me, I will pass it onto you. I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did, and that the knowledge you gain will better you in your business life and personal. You can start your journey towards greatness here.