Have you heard of the book The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse? It has topped the bestseller list in the Publisher’s Weekly Comics category for a year now, selling over a million copies. But to label this book a “comic” is a misnomer.
Written and illustrated by Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, The Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a fable that eavesdrops on a conversation between the four characters in the title. The pages are sparsely worded and interspersed with sketches. Yet, for all its brevity, the book is packed with inspirational thoughts covering themes like love, courage and kindness, and ultimately the realization of why we are all here.
What follows below are seven life lessons from The Boy and The Mole. These ideas appear in bold, followed by my take each one. For additional insights, I suggest you pick up this enchanting little book. You’ll find that what at first glance appears to be a children’s book has wisdom for those of all ages.
7 Life Lessons from The Boy and The Mole
- What is the biggest waste of time? Comparing yourself to others. In our times, this might be labeled as Instagram disease. It involves looking at others and wishing you had a better, more exciting life. Know that what you see is only a highlight reel featuring the very best parts. Feeling envious? Change the focus to your own life including your own personal strengths, all you have to be thankful for, and the good things to come in the future.
- As you get older, you may wish you had listened less to your fears and more to your dreams. Fears can be tamped down but dreams have a way of sticking with you. If you feel you’ve spent too much of your life listening to your fears and not doing what you really want, know this—it’s never too late to pursue at least some aspect of a dream that’s been delayed. Did you once dream of moving to France? Start planning an extended stay there. Figure out what part of your dream you can still realize.
- One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things. No event or other person has the power to do us harm—unless we let it happen. In any situation, we have the ability to control our reaction to it. Practice taking everything in stride knowing that all things must pass. Adversity can be overcome and we often come out of a bad situation stronger, wiser and better prepared for what the future brings.
- Asking for help isn’t giving up. It’s refusing to give up. Sometimes we need to lean on others, be it our significant other, a group of friends, an outside organization or God. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of inner resolve and strength to find solutions to whatever problems have come your way. The sooner you ask, the sooner any problems you may be facing can be resolved.
- The greatest illusion is that life should be perfect. The truth is, life is messy at times. It’s just the way things are. For virtually every one of us, there are some rough edges in our jobs, with our friends and/or with our relationships with the people we love the most. A better way to view life is put it on a scale and ask yourself: Does the good in my life outweigh the bad? Life does not have to be perfect in order to be immensely rewarding.
- When the big things feel out of control, focus on what you love. The past year, between the political chaos and ongoing COVID lockdown, has been tough for all of us. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop looking outward, via social media and the 24-hour news channels, and focus on the good around you. The loved one in the room next to you, the dog resting at your feet, the hot cup of coffee in your hands. Love is often found right under your nose.
- The best discovery is that you are enough. It can seem like we’re all on an endless quest to become better people, to lose weight, to get more physically fit, to be kinder, to become more spiritually enlightened. Kudos to all of us for making these and other efforts. But the fact is, you are good as you are right now. You always have been. You always will be.