Charles Darwin's Regrets Have Inspired This Writer
Although Charles Darwin (1809-1882) has been dead for over a century, people are still interpreting, defending or criticizing his theories of evolution. However, other valuable lessons can be learned from the life he lived and applied to our present decade.
Darwin's mother died when he was eight years old. His three sisters raised him, and they constantly found fault with him. His father declared, "You care for nothing but dogs and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and your family."
Despite his family's negative expectations, Darwin became England's greatest biologist. Once he applied himself and studied a vocation he was interested in, he achieved far beyond what others predicted. His greatest work, "The Origin Of The Species By Means Of Natural Selection" was published in 1859.
However, few know of Darwin's regrets. In his personal biography he admitted he allowed those things which were important to him to be ignored or put off over a long period of time. For example, as a schoolboy he took intense delight in poetry, Shakespeare and historical plays. He loved pictures and music. But after age thirty he became engrossed in various collections of facts, and he got away from his enjoyments. Years later, when he tried to return to those interests, he found them intolerably dull. He discovered he had lost his taste for pictures or music. He felt the higher part of his brain had atrophied.
Darwin concluded if he had made it a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once or twice every week those parts of his brain would have been kept alive through use. He wrote, "The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness."
Perhaps Darwin shared his feelings in an autobiography with the hope that he could encourage those who later read his material to persistently feed their interests outside their jobs on a regular basis. Many use routine duties as an excuse for not exploring what they have a real curiosity or fondness for. Inside each of us lie dormant skills and talents that, to be developed, should be practiced on a regular basis.
For example, those who participate in extra hobbies and activities outside of work did not learn the skills or methods overnight. Champion race car drivers, bowlers, golfers and public speakers consistently practiced over and over again to become the experts they are today. The key to their achievements are the daily effort and passion put into learning all they could about what they love to do.
Although Charles Darwin managed to get his name placed in encyclopedias and published several successful works, he still concluded that if he had his life to live over again he would have made it a priority to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. Now, over one hundred years later, with today's hectic pace - balancing our lives between our jobs and our real interests - is an even greater challenge.
The best way to do this is to treat your interest like you do your regular job. You must show up. Simply begin. Once you rearrange your schedule to do what you have always wanted to do on a weekly or daily basis, your enthusiasm will grow, along with the satisfaction that your routine duties are no longer governing your life.
Whether or not the higher part of Darwin's brain atrophied, like he felt it had, who knows? I'm just not willing to take that chance by placing the things I love to do on a shelf, like he did, for several years.
Finally, I'm glad Charles Darwin shared his regrets in his autobiography because I never want to lose my passion for writing.
Blessings to all, Sincerely, Sparklea :)
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