Lessons we can learn from ” The Happiest Man on Earth. “Rashi Bhargava
After ages, I finished a book in one go-one of the few books that have left a lasting impression.
The unflinching fortitude and kindness of a man who lived through one of humanity’s darkest moments provide the optimism and lessons we all need in these unusual and difficult times.
1920 saw the birth of Eddie Jaku in Leipzig. He and his family saw themselves as “Germans first, Germans second, and finally Jews,” in his own words. However, as the Nazi regime tightened its grip on Germany in 1933, Eddie was forced to take on the fictitious name of orphan Walter Schleif and attend a school that was nine hours away by train because, at the age of just thirteen, he was no longer allowed to study as a Jew.
Five years later, he went back for the first time, intending to surprise his parents on their 20th wedding anniversary, but he discovered that the house was empty. Eddie was brutally assaulted, his cherished family dog was killed, and the house that had served as his family’s residence for many generations was completely demolished on that night, which would come to be known as Krystallnacht. Eddie’s life was forever altered the day he was transferred to a concentration camp for the first time.
I stayed up late into Sunday night, flicking pages as Eddie paced, his life unfolding before him: friendships, escapes, unbelievable tenacity, surprising kindnesses, incomprehensible cruelty, and finally Auschwitz.Sharing handful of the things I learned from those pages that I’m very appreciative of in this strange pandemic times.
This story’s main topic is hope. Eddie has an incredible huge heart and the capacity to be hopeful even when everything looks hopeless.
2.Letting it Go.
Eddie’s capacity to let go of the enormous weight of sadness and anguish he must have felt is maybe the most important component of his pleasure.
In his account, he describes how, after meeting and getting married to his life partner, he continues to feel depressed and alone.
But when his son, his first kid, is born, he goes through a remarkable healing that seems to free him from the suffering and sorrow.
When I first had my oldest kid, Michael, in my arms, it was a miracle, says Eddie. My heart was mended, and I felt a great deal of happiness again in that single instant. I began to understand that day that I was the luckiest man alive.
His ability to let go is astounding. This taught me a valuable lesson. I find it difficult to let go of previous hurts. Eddie demonstrates that recovery and progress are possible. He was willing to accept healing, and when it did, it blessed him.
3.Happiness is a choice.
So, what was it about Eddie that made him so happy and optimistic? A sworn undertaking on his part.He said, “I promised when I came out of the darkest hours of my life that I would be happy for the rest of my life and smile, because if you smile, the world smiles with you. Life is not always happiness. Sometimes, there are many hard days. But you must remember that you are lucky to be alive – we are all lucky in this way. Every breath is a gift. Life is beautiful if you let it be. Happiness is in your hands.”
One good friend is the whole world. Friendship is the most effective medicine for the healing of the soul. And with that friendship, we were able to do the seemingly impossible.
“The greatest thing you will ever do is be loved by another person” — repeat this sentence until you realize that love and friendship are the best medicine.
I cannot emphasise this enough, especially to young people. Without friendship, a human being is lost. A friend is someone who reminds you to feel alive.
5.There are many things that are more valuable than money.
Money is always transient, just like most things in life. We are made to believe that money is everything. Connections, Experiences, a sense of purpose are more precious than money.
Eddie says, “there are many things in this world that no amount of money will buy you, and some things are priceless beyond measure.”
6.When going get tough take one step at a time.
Most people lose up because they believe their pain is infinite. They give up the reins because they are preoccupied with trivial issues rather than the greater picture.
7.Education is a life-saver.
This is one lesson resonated so well with me. My Mom too firmly believed in this. I couldn’t help smiling 🙂 Mom use to drill this day in day out.
Eddie was saved so many times because of his education and skills. His penchant for machinery saved him many a times.
To be self-sufficient and not depend on others for a good life.
*Eddie was 100 years old when The Happiest Man on Earth was published.