Whether you were made to read the book in High School or were forced into watching the black and white movie with your grandparents, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is without a doubt, one of the most important literary works in the recent past.
With the death of its author, Harper Lee over the weekend, here are the most important lessons we can take away from it. So head over to that book shelf and blow dust off one of the most important books you will ever read!
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
All successful and meaningful relationships require empathy and understanding. It reminds us that in order to better understand the people around us, we need to take a step back and put ourselves in their shoes, because it allows us to gain a different perspective in different situations.
In all aspects of our lives, we will at some point or another encounter situations and people that challenge us to think in different ways. A way to look at this in terms of business could be if you are working for a really tough, aggressive, negative manager who seems to never have anything nice to say, take a step back and look at the situation from the outside in.
Maybe your boss is under a lot of pressure from the big bosses or head office. Maybe they are having personal problems at home. Atticus teaches us that there are always reasons why people are the way they are, and there are reasons why people act they way they do.
He teaches us to be empathetic, which is one of the most important things you can learn in the school that is ‘life’.
“Before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
We are all faced with challenges in life and it is our responsibility as human beings to approach these situations with a sense of morality and ethics. Whether you believe in karma or not, I am certain you can agree that having the weight of something on your conscience is one of the worst feelings in the world. To Kill a Mockingbird reminds us to always think before we act.
Think about those times when you have said something that you shouldn’t have, or done something behind someone’s back. Think about that feeling you get in your stomach when you realise you have done the wrong thing. Yep, that’s your conscience trying to tell you that you’ve been total jerk.
In order to avoid the awful feeling, it’s important to always think before you act and ask yourself if you are making the right decision before saying ‘YOLO’ and just doing it.
“Until I feared I would loose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
In simple terms, don’t take anything for granted. Whether it be the people in your life, the job you have or the clothes on your back… it’s important to be grateful for the things that add value to your life.
You know that pain in the ass assignment you have to do. Yeah, the one that’s due on Friday that you probably haven’t started yet. Look at it as an opportunity to learn new things and increase your skill set.
Or that friend that keeps messaging you to catch up… they might not be here tomorrow, so just go meet up for that coffee or glass (bottle) of wine and stop taking the people that put a smile on your face for granted.
“Real courage is knowing you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
Sadly, sometimes in life you just have to put on a brave face and smile. Maybe you applied for your dream job and didn’t get it. Maybe you ask for a raise and it got slammed in your face. We all face shitty and unfair situations but we need to challenge ourselves to find the courage to just persevere, no matter how tough it is.
Atticus reminds us to take calculated risks, even if there is a possibility of failure. Maybe your thinking about applying for an internship but don’t think you’ll get it because you haven’t had enough experience.
Try anyway, because the act of trying can be a great achievement in itself.
“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world son. I wish I could keep ‘em all away from you. That’s never possible.”
We all know that unfair situations, shitty people and even failures are ugly. If we keep ourselves from experiencing these trials in life, we will never grow and develop as people.
That’s why its important to not be discouraged each time you are faced with dilemma, because they can be the biggest and best learning curves.
If you are currently facing a trying situation, look at it from a different angle. Instead of thinking, ‘this is so unfair’, think, ‘this is just an ugly situation that is gonna toughen me up and make me stronger’.
Don’t be afraid of having problems and difficulties. Be more afraid of not using the problems and difficulties to grow as a person.