Jonathan Livingston Seagull has been one of the most inspirational and popular fables (a brief fictional story that features plants, animals or objects that are given human qualities) since the 1970’s. The book that remained in the top of the New York Best seller list for 38 weeks and written by the author “Richard Bach” hasn’t stopped being relevant. Richard Bach (a self-proclaimed atheist), in an interview, says it was a voice he heard while passing by the sea which led to him writing this book and it definitely has aged like fine wine.
But like every other piece of artistic brilliance, this book leaves you with a few unanswered questions and stirs you up from inside. Here are my top takeaways from the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull: A story”. The book that leaves you with new answers every single time.
Not everyone really wants freedom.
We all have people around us who speak of freedom but never really choose to be free. The chains that confine them are their safety net from the uncertainties of the world. Just like a prisoner who starts enjoying the four walls of the prison because the uncertainty that comes with freedom is not his cup of tea.
The pursuit of excellence comes with internal strife.
Everything worth achieving in our life comes with a degree of internal strife. The cycle of giving up and breaking that promise is a part of every journey to success. If you have voices inside you that keep you restless then you are in your pursuit of excellence.
A moment of embarrassing audacity can liberate you of all your fears.
We all feel the need to do something different but find ourselves tied to the thoughts of facing embarrassment later. Take your leap of faith and only then will you find liberation.
When you are chasing what you love you are never really lonely.
The journey towards excellence is never crowded. It is often filled with outcasts, the ones who do not fit into the mentality of the flock. If you are looking for a companion on your pursuit of excellence more often than not you will be disappointed.
But you will inevitably meet people who share your passion towards life, only if you are ready to be the outcast first.
You are your only competition.
Your only true competition is with yourself. That perfect image of yourself you want to be which is never made available to someone else. It is up to you to reach that space and time. And if you are hell bent on running someone else race, you will lose out on that best version of yourself. Because nobody else can be you except yourself.
Everything divine is man’s possibility.
Everything we have read as a divine miracle has been achieved before. The flock that didn’t want to try elevated these amazing individuals to the pedestal of God.
So we as mortals go through life not practicing but chanting their teachings. Because after all how can a man aspire to become a god.
Your pursuit of excellence is what sets you free.
Freedom is what every individual yearns for, freedom from poverty, from your chain of thoughts, from your fears and insecurities.
But if you start looking at freedom as a destination you will never find it. It is only the pursuit of excellence that liberates you, those moments when you are after that perfect flight of life.
“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” is a must read if you are seeking excellence in any sphere of life. Here are my favorite lines from this celebrated and inspirational tale.
“Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body too.”