My Takeaways From The Book Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, September 05, 2010 at 07:36 AM with 2 comments

Before leaving on a recent trip I went to the shelf at home to grab a few books to read. As I perused the collection put together by myself and my wife, one caught my eye – Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I had heard of the book, but never read it. I remember playing a song in elementary school band based on the book (why I remember that today, I have no idea!). It was my wife’s book, and a small one, so I saw it as a quick read to add to my list for this year.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is the story of a seagull who likes to fly, rather than flying as a means to eat as all of the other seagulls believe. As a result, he is an outcast, and is banished from the society of all other seagulls. Where this upsets him, he feels the collective is wrong and continues to work on and improve his flying skills. The story continues with others realizing he is not wrong, but different, and their interactions with Jonathan.

So could I possibly have takeaways on a fictional story about pesky birds? Actually, when compared to many of the books I have read throughout the years and wrote about here at The Hot Iron I most certainly have! And here are my takeaways from this book of prose and photos.

In the end, you have to live with yourself – You may be wrong or you may be right. However in the end, you are the primary person who has to deal with you. If you believe doing or believing in something is the right thing to do, then you must do it, and be prepared to deal with those who don’t agree with you or any circumstances.

What some may consider fringe behavior may not really be – It seems no matter the decision we make, someone will come out and say it is not “normal” or acceptable. We are considered outliers as a result. But getting beyond your closest critics, you will find some who see your actions or decisions to be not so unusual or outside of the norm. Where getting a second or third opinion is always recommended, you may simply need to be surrounding yourself with other likeminded people.

You won’t know if you don’t try – Whether it’s flying from heights no other seagull has flown before or starting your own business, you won’t know if you can or can’t until you try. What some consider taking a great risk may not be that great of a risk at all. The idea of a going outside of your comfort zone may not be that great of a leap of faith at all. Take a look inside of you and you may see something you haven’t seen before.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a quick read, and an inspiring one. This book from the 70’s is timeless, and I recommend it to everyone.


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