Jonathan Livingston The Gull: Be What You Want To Be

Jonathan Livingston the gull: be what you want to be

It was morning and the gold of a brand new sun was trembling  on the ripples of a peaceful sea. This is how Richard Bach’s gull Jonathan Livingston  begins  . This is how it begins, just as life begins. Because the star king, with the crowing of the rooster and an awkward awakening, announces the end of the night. Just like this book which inspires the soul and serves as a compass. He places us in front of a mirror in front of which we can ask ourselves who we really are. Or who we think we are.

Bach, through Jonathan Livingston the Gull, tells us about  this process of recognition. He also speaks to us, through this already classic work, of the difficulties involved in breaking with the established order. The strength of faith and passion when it comes to making personal change in a company.

Why ? There is always a why

Great quests are born out of great questions. Jonathan Livingston the gull, for example, did not understand why, when he flew over water at a height less than half the span of his wings, he could move forward longer, doing less efforts. Jonathan had one passion, to fly. Fly quickly and elegantly. These questions were therefore for him a kind of stimulus allowing him to experiment, observe and deduce things. 

His mother always asked him why he had such a hard time being like other people. Jonathan wanted to know, to know. Mom, I don’t care if I only have the feather and the bones. What I want is to know what is possible for me and what is not possible for me to do in the air, full stop. Simple, isn’t it? What authentic truth, stripped of adornments! Drink directly the happiness that comes from the pleasure of exploring your own limits. Give yourself that chance, the one we often give to others.

It was in his worst moment of crisis that Jonathan Livingstone received his greatest inspiration. […] There would be no more challenge and therefore no more failure. It was nice to stop thinking, finally, and to fly in the dark, towards the lights of the beach! And as he flew and resigned himself, Jonathan Livingstone the gull realized that in this darkness – alone, surrounded by silence, without the echo of others – he had succeeded in doing what no gull had. never done: fly in the dark.

A lot of the solutions we find come from insight . To put it more easily: suddenly. They appear after a period of reflection, during which we have the impression of being blocked. And when that happens, everything seems so obvious to us that we think the following thing: profitable time is that precise moment, not the one we just went through. But this is not the case. We needed to walk many wrong paths and learn from them before we found the right one.

After this “revelation”, all the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit together.  A single flight, he discovered, shifted by a fraction of an inch in very high-speed flight, allowed for a smooth and majestic turn. Before
realizing it, however, he noticed that at extreme speeds several feathers erected simultaneously made him spin like a rifle bullet… Jonathan had just achieved the first aerial acrobatics in all the land history of gulls.

Passion allows us to bring things

Jonathan Livingstone the gull, at the time of his discovery, felt extremely satisfied to have found answers. To have improved. He imagines that he will be able to teach all this to other gulls. However,  the reception Jonathan receives is not good. Changes are like insights: they need time to resist.

One stage has ended, it’s time for another to begin

Heaven awaits the one who overcomes difficulties and valiantly resists the misunderstanding of others. Not the religious sky but the one that is born from this look in the mirror. Of the recognition and security implied by consistency between the one we wanted to be and the one we aspire to be. And this, regardless of whether we were successful or not.

flying gulls

This exercise of honesty is the one that rewards the end of the displayed passion. At this precise moment, we are ready for a new revolution. Because life, like Jonathan, is dynamic. Each process completes us and, at the same time, leaves us incomplete. It is the ability to move around in this contradiction that takes us away from the feeling of emptiness that we experience when we wander aimlessly.

Memory, ultimately, helps us achieve this result. If we use Jonathan’s words: “Earth had been a place where he had learned a lot, of course, but the details were already becoming cloudy; he remembered the struggle for food and being an Exile ”. Most importantly, Jonathan never exiled himself and his heart.


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