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One important life lesson from The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

·676 words·4 mins
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What I’m about to say has nothing to do with a “digital life” rather the opposite of it. But I think the learnings are relevant.

I picked up “The Mysterious Island” during a sale on Amazon because it had Jules Verne written on it. I’m a big fan of his writing because of the translators who I think have done an excellent work of bringing it to English and keeping the spirit alive.

The Mysterious Island sometimes reads like an encyclopaedia of the natural world - a testament to Verne’s incredible knowledge of the world. Despite using three large paragraphs to go into about a bird and its feathers, Verne’s story is actually gripping - with the encyclopaedia bits adding more color to the imagination.

I’m blown away by how these 5 castaways, who have lost everything, begin to find ways to live on a desolate and disconnected island which they name Lincoln Island after their president role model. So you now know the era it is set in.

They survive a storm by sheer courage in trusting each other’s judgements and skills.

I wish I could tell you more, but I’m afraid I’ll quickly spoil everything for those who haven’t read the book yet.

But I can tell you this.

Every time I finish reading a chapter, I am only inspired by the way they approach solving a problem. Each character in the story brings with them their knowledge of the world and unique skills - and each picks problems they know only they can solve.

What I was amazed though is at how they “apply” their knowledge and skills. There was an instance where they had to make a fire otherwise they would just die because of cold only amplified by a thunderstorm and chilling rains - and there was nothing flammable.. But then they did! They made a fire and everyone survived to see the next day because of that!

This made me think..

The application of knowledge #

No can teach us how to “apply” knowledge - I think this only comes from exposure to problems and constant practice. I am convinced this is an art.

I mean I could look at people solving problems all day, but unless I solve them myself, I won’t be able to hone the skill to solve problems! Students can do this better because they’re solving problems everyday or preparing for exams. They’re working with sample question papers.

I think once we get older and get into our jobs that doesn’t give us the exposure or freedom to do things we want, we lose the skill of problem solving. Because it is simple - the more one does it consistently, the better one gets at it.

This application of knowledge is the skill that differentiates people who can find their way even through the toughest situations in life and become achievers. Because I think their mind quickly thinks of ways to find solutions instead of struggling between thinking and not panicking, like most of us are today.

And I think this comes with the courage to step out of one’s comfort zone and face these challenges head-on.

I am reminded of instances where I’ve run away from problems where I can’t see a solution - and I think this was due to a lack of application of knowledge - possibly due to lack of paying attention. But I’m determined now that this is something that I have to fix.

What will happen to the castaways? #

This book has been amazing so far and every chapter has something new. I’m only 30% done at the moment, and after having read “A journey to the center of the earth” and “Around the world in 80 days,” I trust Jules Verne to weave another crescendo before bringing the story to its natural end. But I wonder what will happen with these castaways on an island that is disconnected from the world entirely.

What ever happens to them, I’m sure there are many more life-lessons waiting for me inside.

Santosh Subramanian
Santosh Subramanian is an author at Digital Side Quest. He has over 11 years of experience in digital marketing, content development, and marketing management. He also has an MBA in Marketing from NMIMS. Santosh has worked at companies like Dell, Deloitte, Amazon, Facebook and startups like Agile CRM and groundHog. In his free time, he likes writing, reading, playing video games and dabbling in web development.