After completing a considerable chunk of Tolstoy's major works, I've been thinking about the lessons that I've gained through my hours, days or even weeks, of reading.
Here are the twelve life lessons that come to mind first, which I'd like to share with you alongside some favourite quotes. After all, what better benefit of reading could there be than gaining lessons to keep with us for life?
1. Expand your social circle and open up new perspectives
"He felt surrounded on all sides by quite different people, with their own serious interests, their own joys and sufferings, their own life of toil that was genuine and human. 'This is it,' thought Nekhlyudov, 'the best society'." ― Resurrection
2. Failure is normal, but setting too many rules for yourself can make it inevitable
3. Great art is often the result of great help
"Sonya's contribution should not be underestimated. Deciphering his execrable handwriting, and then preparing a legible final draft of the manuscript, was a gargantuan task..." ― Rosamund Bartlett, Tolstoy: A Russian Life
|Anna Karenina, a novel which has|
provided me with many life lessons.
4. Anxiety is fleeting when you shift your attention to nature and the world around us
5. The shortness of life scares us all
"Can it be that I have not lived as one ought?" suddenly came into his head. "But how not so, when I've done everything as it should be done? ” — Ivan Ilyich
6. Life isn't really that complicated
|Leo Tolstoy (left) playing chess with the son of his friend and publisher Vladimir Chertkov in 1907|
7. We can choose our feelings and be in control of our minds
“If you want to be happy, be.” ― Leo Tolstoy
8. Be kindhearted and avoid greed
9. We should be careful how we define beauty
|The Death of Ivan Ilyich - perhaps the best|
short story to help us understand death and
10. When we find ourselves wanting more, quite often we need the opposite
11. We all deserve an education and opportunities for lifelong learning
“To educate the peasantry, three things are needed: schools, schools and schools.” ― Anna Karenina
12. There's no such thing as perfecting ourselves - acceptance is far more valuable to pursue
"If you look for perfection, you'll never be content". ― Anna Karenina
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