Lessons I Learned from Merlin
I have spent many, many years immersed in the life and world of Merlin.
It is a magical, beautiful place, but it is also a place that has taught me a myriad of lessons about life, love, and humanity within our own world. Merlin has been a source of inspiration for me to follow the path of hope. His wisdom, faith, and ability to dig deep and find the good in himself and others, even while facing personal struggles, encourage me to find the magic within to create a better life.
I hope you find some wisdom in these lessons, too.
No matter how small you are, you have the power to do good.
Merlin’s story reminds us again and again that no matter how small or powerless we may feel, we all have the ability to make a difference. It is through our own efforts, determination, and will that we can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, succeed in whatever we put our minds to, and change the world around us for the better.
In times of uncertainty, like those our world faces today — when chaos surrounds us, and we ache to make a difference — it’s important to remember that we have the power to act and change things.
Listen before you speak.
We can learn much from Merlin about respecting the opinions of others, the power of perspective, and the importance of personal growth. When you take a moment to listen to others, to truly hear what they’re saying, you not only show that you respect and care about their opinion, you also give yourself an opportunity to learn — about the person, about the situation, and even, sometimes, about yourself.
Humility may be your greatest power.
Prideful people often lack the ability to notice when they have more to learn, admit when they’re wrong, and accept help and guidance from those with more wisdom, strength, and experience.
Confidence is important, but it’s just as important to never trade humility for arrogance. Though we all aim to move toward enlightenment and deeper understanding, we all remain human and therefore, fallible — just like Merlin.
Cherish love and follow your heart.
Love is magical. In one or all of its varied forms, it’s a powerful emotion that has the ability to fill your heart, mind, and soul so completely that it truly feels like magic.
If you are open to love – if you allow it into your heart to guide you – it can lead you to places you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. It can open your mind to new experiences. It can show you things you’d easily overlook or dismiss without it.
Love inspires gratitude, requires courage, and encourages generosity. It is fueled by knowledge and belief, accessed through wonder, and kept alive by hope. It is through love that we are able to find the most meaningful ways to live a magical life.
Courage is what empowers us to follow our dreams.
Courage is what allows us to dream about who we can be and what we want for the world, and it gives us the strength to actually persevere and bring those dreams to life.
Without courage, I would never have fulfilled my dream of being a writer. I would never have shared Merlin with all of you. I would never have had the opportunity to tell my own story, or to encourage you to authentically live your own.
Curiosity is the gateway to knowledge.
As children, we are born with a drive to ask questions, to explore, to discover things about our world and the people that surround us. Children’s open minds mean that sometimes they think of questions that are both simple and deeply revealing — my own children would often ask me, “Dad, is that true?” That one simple question was often just what I needed to re-examine some of my own beliefs and look at things in a new way.
If you allow yourself to re-discover that childlike curiosity, it becomes like a key — a key that opens the doors leading to knowledge.
Make space for gratitude in your daily life.
In my own life, I look to nature. It is where I escape to find solace, to find comfort, to reach a place of peace where my mind is clear, and my heart is open. Nature causes me to feel both very small and very large at once — diminished and humbled by my own insignificance, while also enlarged and inspired by the vast sweep of creation.
It is alongside the vast ocean, gazing up at a star-filled sky, or surrounded by trees with hundreds of years of experience that I am able to put my gratitude into perspective and connect with my inner self in a way that brightly illuminates my blessings. The beauty and authenticity of the natural world help me truly open myself to gratitude and appreciate all the other gifts in my life.
I encourage you to find your “nature” — that special element or setting that focuses your mind and lightens your soul. It may be a place or an idea, or even another person, but it must be something you can always count on to uplift you, to intrigue you, and to invigorate your mind. It is within this context that I truly believe your gratitude can explode into something you can feel each day.
Leave room for doubt.
Our beliefs — whether they’re a belief in our own abilities, a belief in the nature of the world and the universe, or a belief in a higher power — guide us on our journey through life. They allow us to find meaning and purpose in uncertain situations and discover clarity among the muddled waters of our daily lives.
My very first manuscript was rejected everywhere. Although it was no fun to receive all those rejections, I’ve now come to feel grateful for that experience. Even though every one of those “no, thank you” letters hurt, and filled me with doubt about my ability as a writer, they drove me to realize my true passion was writing — even if it did take me several years to try again.
Doubt is what spurs us to look deeper, to seek further, and bravely question (and then strengthen) our purpose — so that we may rise to whatever challenges we may face.
We’re all in this together.
At the end of the day, none of us is an island. What we do, how we think, and how we live… all of it has an impact on others — our friends and family, other parts of our community, other creatures, our country, and our planet. We, as humans, require interaction and interdependence to survive, and just as recognizing the connectedness of things was an important part of Merlin’s journey, it must also be for us in order to create a better world for all.
To live your best life — and help others live theirs — understand that your actions have consequences. Understand that your words have power. Appreciate that you have shoulders to lean on and that, at times, others will need to lean on you.
Live your life as a story.
Always remember that you are writing your own unique story – which means you get to make it the best story possible. A story that is true to yourself… and to your dreams.
Life is a gift and an opportunity. It’s our chance to be all we can be, to tell our most personal story. And it’s worth doing — even if, like every writing project, it requires some struggle and growth along the way.
At the end of the day, all we have is our time and our souls. So let’s make the most of them — as we tell our stories with passion, honesty, and joy.