What can we learn from The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)?

The Little Prince has been one of my favorite books since I knew how to discover the wonders of the world from a bookstore in my childhood city. There were no public libraries and our parents could not afford to purchase story books for us. Thankfully, we could still read in bookstores, while being very careful not to damage the books.

Some inspirations and lessons from the Little Prince that I would love to share with you:

  1. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”* Sometimes, the essential things can be intangible, while we are living in a world that value tangible things. * This is an observation that was perhaps drawn from a lifetime of experience, and an understanding that a young reader might take decades to grow into. For example, on 20151231 (the last day of 2015), I told our little prince (baby panda) that I am sharing this post as a gift for the future little prince, and he was sad saying that he does not want to give this gift for the future little prince. Funny!
  2. There is a chapter in The Little Prince describing a lone businessman on some distant planet claims to own the star, counting each one in his ledger with an eye to its compound financial value. (i) The magic of compounding/积少成多 (ii) Do you really own what legally belong to you? We come to this world with nothing, and will leave bringing nothing, why don’t we leave kind, beautiful, and useful things for others? (iii) I’m not against wealth accumulation. Instead, I admire innovative entrepreneurs who do not deprive others of resources but generate new resources and jobs for others.
  3. It is possible that The Little Prince was inspired in part by a Polish refugee boy the author saw on a train to Moscow shortly before the outbreak of World War II. “A little Mozart … a life full of beautiful promise [But] this little Mozart will be stamped like the rest of by the common stamping machine.” Lesson: we must proactively keep our life promises as the fundamental of personal responsibility. Do not expect others (including parents, teachers, society, government, the world) to fulfill the promises, only you can do it for your life promises.
  4. In the early days of aviation, the aeroplane “unveiled for us the true face of the Earth.” Remember this magic of flying because many frequent flyers have forgotten it (the magic of flying).
  5. crude yet charming (visuals) of Little Prince can be attractive, thus just draw whatever your heart wants to draw.
  6. The intentions of Saint-Exupéry have never been entirely clear. If the meaning of most fairy tales is necessarily transparent, The Little Prince remains pretty opaque. Lesson: being mysterious is alluring.
  7. The cosmic fairytale of The Little Prince inspired us to be cosmic pandas.
  8. The Little Prince has been described as “more fact than fiction; an autobiography with a childlike framework.” Can you write a similar autobiography with a childlike framework for yourself? Lesson: write and live our own life story.
  9. Be timeless or create some timeless stuff. The story of The Little Prince serves as a reversible telescope. For young readers, it points into the future, toward the heartache of adulthood and the courage required to face them. For grown-ups, it shows the world they way it looked when you were a child. Smaller and smaller, even further away, but still visible through the right lens.
  10. Like the author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who was a French aristocrat-turned-pioneering-aviator-turned-beloved-author, you can be a creative multipotentialite (e.g. Janet Brent The Purple Panda) or a slash careerist with multiple roles in your lifetime. To experience and contribute to the richness of life, embrace multiplicity and diversity!
  11. In The Little Prince, the baobab trees that grow like weeds over the prince’s asteroid seemed relatively obvious symbols of spreading Nazism. Lesson: be careful of growing weeds at your home, they may harm your loved ones. See a contemporary example detailed at Asia2015/20151230_lesson_be_kind_with_protective_shield.txt.
  12. In December 1935, navigator Andre Prevot and Saint-Exupéry had a near fatal desert ordeal. They were stranded for days in the Sahara; dehydrated, hallucinating, dying until saved by a passing Bedouin. We must respect and appreciate desert for being a really harsh environment.

20151217
20151231

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3 comments

  1. […] from as young as toddlers, have done all sorts of things to be likable. I’m inspired by both the Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and our Little Prince. The latter, though straightforwardly criticized honey panda for his naughty […]

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  2. […] of WordPress, a founder + entrepreneur + web developer + musician who shows us that we can be a multipotentialite like stem […]

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  3. […] be kind, senior researchers can offer junior researchers an opportunity to assist in writing a survey/review paper. […]

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