3 Life Changing Lessons from Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

By Duane Krip

To help alleviate the tedium of my daily commute I have been listening audio books on CD. Last week I spent my windshield time soaking in the hot sun on a tropical island as I immersed myself in the adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Written nearly 300 year ago, it chronicles the life of a sole shipwrecked castaway who spends 28 years stranded on an island near Trinidad. He begins as a wanderer, aimless on a sea he does not understand and ends up enlightened. His enlightenment does not come through listening to sermons in a church but through spending time alone amongst nature with only his thoughts.

With nothing more than some salvaged items from his ship, he embarks on a new life with not even a roof over his head.
 
First lesson:
As I listened to this classic tale, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed how I take for granted all that life has bestowed on me. Really, when you think about it, we live a sweet pampered life. Yet, we are so quick to bemoan our perceived hardships. When comparing our current angst, whatever that might be, to being shipwrecked left for dead on a lost island our problems are very trivial.

No matter how bad you think your current situation is, it could always be worse. Sure, you may feel shipwrecked! Get over it! Be thankful! 

EVERY moment…EVERY situation you encounter in EVERY minute of your day has the opportunity to be viewed as a disaster or a blessing.

Your fate could be worse…like the fate of your crewmates who are now fish food.
 
Second Lesson:
One day, Crusoe noticed a few sprouting plants that were foreign to the habitat. He decides to nurture them to see what they become. Low and behold they mature into a few stalks of corn, barley and rice. He deduced they came from seeds that where hidden amongst the dust particles he shook out of a bag he salvaged from the wrecked ship. They randomly landed in some fertile soil. Those few seeds when harvested and replanted gave him sustenance for years to come.
 
Life will provide for you. You need to open your eyes and see the opportunities that spring up around you and take action.
 
Every day those seeds are there. They may come in the form of people you meet or an inspired idea. In every case, you need to take action to propel the sequence of events that will germinate and grow the seeds into a bountiful crop. 
 
Third Lesson:
Crusoe decided he needed some kind of vessel to allow him to boil water and store grains. Not knowing anything about the art of making pottery he set his focus on figuring it out. Through trial and error and countless failures that would have crumpled the average person into a heap of defeat, he perfected the craft and produced earthenware thus enabling him to raise his quality of life.
 
The attainment of any achievement is through focus and commitment. Failures are not defeats. The broken and crumbled piles pottery scattered around your life are nothing more than lessons on how not to make a pot with clay. You can either stare at the broken shards and moan about the impossibility of your intended desires…or sweep up the remnants and let inspiration take hold and press forward with a new methodology.

The reward of your persistence is the soup you savor, the stew that nourishes and the tea you delight in that never existed prior to your achievement.
 
For the fun of it, this week put into play at least one of Crusoe’s lessons. 
1)      Reframe your situation into one of gratitude for not being ‘fish food’…or
2)      Open your eyes with curious interest and see opportunities and take action…or
3)      Focus with passion and intent on an outcome you desire. 

…and if you are really daring….employ all three and be awestruck at what transforms before your eyes.

Post your results in the comment section below.

Have a great week!

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