Connect with us

Life

7 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Kurt Vonnegut

Avatar

Published

on

7 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Kurt Vonnegut

Writer Kurt Vonnegut was an American literary icon who was beloved as much for his attitudes about life as for his unique style of writing.

Born in 1922, he was marked in his early life by his experiences in WWII and dedicated much of his career to exposing the tragedies of war, particularly in works like his masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five and his last book A Man Without a Country. Vonnegut’s words and life serve as models for kindness, creativity and humor.

Here are 7 life lessons you can learn from him:

 

1. Don’t be lazy

In the beginning of his writing career, Vonnegut took in 3 of his sister’s children after both she and her husband died. He now had six children to care for. While working full-time as an advertising executive, Vonnegut also managed to write and publish five novels over the following decade. Though overburdened and overworked, he still managed to dedicate himself to his life’s passion: writing.

Always carve out time for the things that are important to you. Whether it’s waking up at 4am to write every morning before going to work or taking time during lunch breaks to work on a personal project, find the time in the corners of your life for the things you feel passionate about. That’s the only way they’ll find their way to center stage someday.

 

2. Be kind

Vonnegut’s experiences as a soldier in WWII left a deep impression on him. In order to make sense of such tragedy, Vonnegut concluded that kindness is the only thing that can redeem humanity. In his novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, he wrote, “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

Fire can’t put out fire and hatred can’t dispel hatred. The only way to win a battle against injustice and hatred is love and kindness.

When you’re faced with a situation that invites you to respond with anger, remember that this will only perpetuate the problem. Compassion and love are gifts you can offer not only to the other person, but to yourself in those moments.

 

3. Don’t forget to laugh

Vonnegut was a champion of humor and not taking life too seriously. Taking life too seriously never got anyone anywhere. But laughing and sharing laughter can give you exactly the right distance you need from your troubles.

The next time you find yourself feeling overburdened, make a conscious effort to lighten up. Watch a comedy, call a friend who makes you laugh, play with your children or your pet, or just go out for a night of dancing. Whatever makes you smile.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there’s less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut

4. Don’t be afraid to be different

One of the things that made his writing outstanding was the non-traditional way he wrote. Long sentences, exuberant use of exclamation points and italics, the mixing of genres made his books extraordinary and a style all his own. He wouldn’t have become the icon he became if he’d done what everyone else did.

Maybe you’re afraid what people will think if you dress a certain way,  play a certain kind of music or express an unpopular political opinion. Have the courage to say, wear, think and be who you are. Many of the most celebrated writers, painters, scientists and thinkers were those who ran against popular opinion. Don’t let fear squelch your brilliance – let it shine.

Stephen Richards

5. Take care of the environment

Vonnegut was also a champion of environmental causes: “I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.” The planet has its limits, so getting behind those who are trying to live in harmony with those limits is a worthwhile cause.

Seek out information either from local environmental enthusiasts or the Web. Look at your lifestyle and see how you can contribute to making sure your passage through this planet is less harmful. These changes don’t have to be huge. There are a myriad of small things you can do to minimize your impact. By becoming conscious you also help spread consciousness to others.

 

6. Don’t get caught up in dogma

Vonnegut was a critic of organized religion. To him, the purpose of human life was a continuous mystery and not necessarily one that should or could be solved.

Whether you follow a religion or not, it’s important to keep an open mind about the possibilities of our existence. This allows for acceptance of others, and fosters healthy curiosity and peaceful coexistence.

Instead of preaching to others about your religion, try something different. Try to find out more about other people’s faith. The more knowledge and information you have about other types of religions, the more tolerant you will be. If more people practiced this, there might be less conflict in the world.

“She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing” – Kurt Vonnegut

7. Express yourself

In his last novel A Man Without a Country, he urged people to find a means of creative expression: “…go into the arts…They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Creative expression is a gift and one that’s uniquely human. The arts are a means of self-understanding.

Find a way to express yourself. Everyone has something inside of them to share. Try out different ways of expression until you find yours. You won’t regret it.

 

Enjoy these life lessons from a great writer and humanitarian!

Cari Bennette is an aspiring writer and content manager at Jet Writers. Writing is her true passion and she does her best to inspire other people through her texts. Also Cari provides writing and editing help for everyone who wants to deal with words better. Check out her Twitter.

Advertisement
4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Robert Welain

    Jun 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Very interesting post, thanks!

  2. Avatar

    Kris

    Jul 27, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Real simple advice. We all search for success advice, or advice on how to make more money, but it’s these elements that get overlooked. Great variety on the articles.

  3. Avatar

    Caricaturas Paula Zambotti

    Jun 19, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Very cool…

  4. Avatar

    Tara

    Jun 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Great post. I must admit I’d never heard the name Kurt Vonnegut before, although I am familiar with his works. Very thoughtful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

Identifying Your Emotions is the Key to Exponential Happiness

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

In the weeks and months following the heinous terror attacks of September 11, millions of Americans decreased their domestic air travel. As domestic flying decreased, car travel increased where a study found that people opted to drive longer distances rather than fly. Not taking into account 9/11, there were 331 airplane crash fatalities in the U.S from 1751 crash events. What’s interesting is there were 42,000 driving-related deaths in that same year. The number of deaths in air travel and road travel remained relatively consistent in subsequent years. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

4 Life Changing Lessons I Learned by Starting a Podcast

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

I had, and still have, a message I want to share with those that will listen. Heck, I am even willing to share it to those that are less than willing to listen. Therefore, I decided to start a podcast. A podcast focused on those that feel like the odds are stacked against them when it comes to venturing into those entrepreneurial waters. Those that have an inner belief that they can do it, but perhaps the people around them are less than enthusiastic about this new journey. 

Nonetheless, these Dark Horses, as I call them, buck the odds and run their own race to reach their own dreams and achieve their own goals. Little did I know that as I launched The Dark Horse Entrepreneur podcast, on a mission to teach others the lessons I have learned in business and in life, that I would be in turn learning even more lessons because of stepping out into the podcast arena. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Ways to Use Difficult Life Circumstances to Become Unstoppable

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Creating success in life is more than starting a business, or making a bunch of money, or becoming famous at what you do. The world is navigating the effects of a global pandemic. People are dealing with circumstances that they weren’t expecting to face.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Letting Go of the Past is the Key to a Breakthrough in Life

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Let me ask you a question: How successful do you think you would be at driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror? If you’re being honest, your answer is most likely, not at all. No one would be. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending