Yesterday, while I was looking among my books for a particular one to read, I stumbled on the ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, written by Ernest Hemingway. I remembered reading it about three decades ago. I had quite forgotten now what this book was about, since it was not an easy one to read then. All I can remember was that the book was about an old man who was a fisherman. So I decided to read the The Old Man and The Sea again, knowing that I can finish it within a few hours since the book is just about 90 pages or a little less. Now, having finished reading the book a second time, it kept me thinking hard, and I could not not help but marvel at the great lessons contained in the book.
The book, The Old Man and the Sea, centered on Santiago, an experienced, old Cuban fisherman who having tried in vain to catch any fish for 84 days, was not discouraged, but launched out the following day believing that the 85th day will bring him luck. He sailed out alone to sea on his boat farther than usual until he could no longer see the land and other fishermen. One of his hooks caught a great fish that was about 18 feet in length. He could not drag the fish into his boat and kill it since the fish was about three feet greater than his boat. Then continued a great struggle between him and the fish which lasted for about three days before he was finally able to kill the fish. He tied the great fish alongside his boat and started his journey home. Alas, by the time he arrived home the third day, only the head, the tail and the bones of the fish remained. He had lost his prized fish to hungry sharks who mercilessly attacked the fish while he drove it home. Though he fought the sharks gallantly, but he was outnumbered, too exhausted and too far way to sea to escape or avoid the fearless sharks.
I discovered that there are some important life’s lessons to learn from the book The Old Man and the Sea. This I shared briefly below:
1. Be Optimistic. Don’t Give Up
Be not discouraged when faced by failures. Success may come at the next attempt. For 84 days, the old fisherman caught nothing, but success smiled at him on the 85th day when he caught the greatest fish of his life.
2. Believe in Your Ability Rather Than Luck
The old fisherman always prepare well for his fishing. He will go far into the ocean where he knows there are big fish. He prepare all his fishing lines very well, make them strong and set them in proper orders and depths. He leaves nothing to chance or luck. The old man doesn’t take short cuts.
3. A Man Should Bear Pain and Hardship Without Complaint
The old man was full of perseverance. He will quickly shrug off negative thoughts and focus on his goal when faced with challenges.
4. Enjoy Your Own Company
The old fisherman was a man that has learnt to be alone. When faced with challenges, he learnt to talk to himself and encourage himself. He motivates himself, and enjoys his own company.
5. Real Friendship Still Exists
The old man was like a pariah in his village due to his apparent lack of success. Other fishermen ignore him. However, he had found friendship in one boy, an apprentice named Manolin, who always find time to be with the old fisherman and help him, despite having being stopped by his parents to go out with the old man. Manolin shed tears when he saw how much the old fisherman had suffered in his encounter at the sea. The boy promised to go fishing with the old man next time not minding that his parent had forbade him.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is a book about perseverance, endless hope, optimism and affection. The old man’s life was hard, but he works hard, maintains his integrity, never complains nor make excuses, never take short cuts, never boasts nor surrenders. He has all the qualities he needs to be successful in life.