The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer and aviator, is a cherished piece of literature published in 1943. Its writing has a profound effect on readers of all ages. Its story inspires love, relationships, loneliness, solace, human nature, passion, adult life, and more.
The Little Prince is one of my most cherished books and is my life’s north star that I go back to repeatedly. It inspires me to achieve new goals and dreams, provides new knowledge and perspectives, helps me make difficult decisions, and provides a sense of purpose and direction. I hope it does the same for you, too.
Here is a handpicked selection of timeless life lessons from the book, along with quotes and analogies:
See with the heart, not the eyes
The Little Prince’s rose is special to him because of all the time he has spent caring for her. He watered, fertilized, and protected her from the wind and rain. He listened to her complaints and her praises. He has come to know her intimately and loves her for all her eccentricities and imperfections.
Similarly, the people, things, and passions we spend time on become more important to us. We come closer to people, things become dearer, and passions help us grow as we spend more time with them.
Life lesson: Spend time wisely. Spend time with the people you love, do what you enjoy, and cherish what you have worked hard for because the time you spend on them makes them so important.
Cherish your uniqueness
In a world where everyone looks, thinks, and acts the same, it would be monotonous, wouldn’t it?
But that is not the world we live in. Our world is full of unique and special individuals, and every individual has unique thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This is what makes our world so gorgeous and exciting.
Meeting someone who sees and appreciates our uniqueness is a precious gift. These people make our lives meaningful.
Life lesson: Cherish the uniqueness of yourself and the people you love. Celebrate the diversity that makes our world so beautiful.
Take responsibility for those you care about
Each rose is unique and special in a garden full of roses, but they all need care and attention to thrive. The gardener who tends to the roses ensures they have enough water, sunlight, and nutrients, protecting them from pests and diseases.
Similarly, the people and things you bring into your life are like roses. We may not always realize it, but we are always taming things. We tame our friends and family when we spend time and share our lives, our pets when we train and play, and our emotions when we learn to manage and express them.
Life lesson: Be mindful and cherish the things we tame. They are forever our responsibility and need our love and care to flourish in your life.
Embrace the wonder of childhood
We all start as children. We are curious and open-minded and see the world with an innocent lens. As we age, we get caught up in the daily demands of our lives and get hurt or disappointed. These experiences cloud our vision and hide the child within us.
The child within us is always there, waiting to be rediscovered. It makes life enchanting, with each day filled with amazement.
Life lesson: Get out of the daily rut, reignite your passion to do what you love, and see the world with wonder, innocence, and amazement.
Value inner qualities
A painter’s palette is filled with colors waiting for the artist’s touch to become colors that add meaning to the artist’s vision.
Similarly, our eyes are good at seeing the surface but often falter in revealing the character beneath. The heart is the custodian of emotions that allow us to recognize existence’s true meaning and mysteries.
The true worth of a person lies in their character and the qualities that define them.
Life lesson: Do not judge people or situations based on what you see on the surface. Pay close attention to your heart to let words, emotions, and intentions be your lantern to illuminate the true meaning and mysteries.
Appreciate the affection
Blushing is a sign of emotion that someone is feeling something, whether it is happiness, embarrassment, attraction, or something else. But whatever the reason, it is a sign that they are human. And that is a beautiful thing.
Life lesson: It is always worth paying attention if you see someone blushing. It may unravel the person – show they are interested in you or simply feeling happy or embarrassed.
Be the best version of yourself
Everyone wants to be the most beautiful, intelligent, or successful person in the world. People constantly compete with each other – appearance, accomplishments, and possessions.
The conceited man in the book is an example of this type of person who is so obsessed with his image that he cannot hear anything but praise. This cautionary part of the story shows us that we become blind to the crucial things in life and lose our ability to connect with others.
Life lesson: Focus on being the best versions of yourself and appreciate the characteristics that make you and others unique. And be open to learning from others, even if they differ from us.
Embrace vulnerability and openness
Caterpillars are an essential phase of a butterfly’s lifecycle. They can be destructive – damage plants and flower leaves. Yet, a gardener must endure the presence of caterpillars to cherish the beauty of butterflies.
Similarly, we face caterpillars in the form of difficult people, situations, or emotions. They are temporary and necessary parts of the journey to grow stronger and more beautiful, like a butterfly.
Life lesson: Everyone is on their journey, and we all have the potential to grow and transform. Allow others to be themselves, even if they are different from us, and do not judge quickly.
Celebrate personal growth
When we judge others, we only see the surface – actions, words, and appearances, not their thoughts, feelings, or intentions.
When we judge ourselves, we look at everything – good and bad qualities, things we are proud/ashamed of, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
Judging oneself is difficult as it requires us to be compassionate, courageous, and face the truth. If we succeed in judging ourselves, we will be on the path to true wisdom. We will learn to accept ourselves for who we are and grow and change positively.
Life lesson: We should strive to be more self-aware, compassionate, and forgiving with ourselves. Understand our strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. When we judge ourselves rightly, we can truly understand and appreciate others.
Value the unseen and intangible
The book describes a garden of beautiful roses with different colors and shapes. But someone could be looking for one specific rose to bring happiness, meaning, and purpose.
Similarly, we do not need many things to be happy but one that makes our life complete – a loving relationship, a meaningful career, or a deep connection to our spirituality.
Life lesson: If you are feeling lost or unhappy, take a moment to think about the one thing that is most important to you. Once you know what you are looking for, search for it. And who knows? You may find it in a single rose.
Seek meaning in the mundane
One day, the Little Prince watches the sun sink below the horizon forty-four times. It may be because he is sad about a great loss – lost a loved one or his way in life.
He finds solace, awe, and wonder in the beauty of the sunset. The sunset is a symbol of hope and renewal. It is a reminder that even the darkest night will eventually end, and even the saddest heart can be healed.
Life lesson: When you feel sad, take a moment to watch the sunset. Let the beauty of the sunset fill your heart with hope and wonder. And know that you are never truly alone.
Great sorrow can create great strength
When we enter the land of tears, we are forced to confront our deepest sorrows, face our pain, and accept our emotions.
This experience helps us heal by helping us love and accept ourselves, find the strength to overcome any challenge, grow, and change.
Life lesson: When you find yourself in the land of tears, do not despair. Know that you are not alone, and this is where you can find great strength and healing.
Learn from the absurdities of life
Imagine a world where happiness is not measured by the size of your house, the amount of money in your bank account, or the number of likes you have on social media.
We are surrounded by happiness, waiting for us to notice. It exists in the form of simple pleasures – moments that we share with loved ones, and the experiences that we create for ourselves, the laughter of a child, the beauty of a flower, or the comfort of a warm cup of coffee, the sound of a bird singing, or the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Life lesson: Take a moment to open your eyes and appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Be present in the moment and savor the little things. You do not need anything special to be happy. All you need is yourself and a willingness to see the beauty in the world around you.
Treasure your friendships
Envision a world without friends. There is no one to share our joys and sorrows with where everyone is alone, isolated from the rest of humanity.
Friendship is one of the most important gifts of life. A friend knows us inside and out, loves us for who we are (including flaws), makes us laugh and cry, and is always there for us, no matter what.
To forget a friend is to lose a part of ourselves, a piece of our heart, and someone who makes our lives more thriving and meaningful.
Life lesson: Friendship is a rare and precious gift that should be treasured. Cherish the friendships that you have. Let your friends know how much you love and appreciate them. And always remember the special bond that you share.
Appreciate the complexity of words
Words are like magic spells that can create or destroy. We must use them wisely and carefully – communicate with clear, concise, and accurate words and tone. The slightest misunderstanding could have devastating consequences.
At the same time, it is crucial to listen carefully to the words of others. When we listen, we are not just hearing the words that they are saying but also trying to understand the meaning behind their words. It can help reduce the risk of misunderstandings and build stronger relationships with the people we care about.
Life lesson: In a conversation, be mindful of your words and listen carefully to the other person. Remember, words are the source of misunderstandings. But they can also be the source of love, understanding, and compassion.
Challenge materialism and superficiality
Today, people focus on buying material possessions to fill a void in life and have no time to enjoy the things purchased.
At the same time, friendship cannot be bought and sold. We earn it through time, effort, and mutual understanding.
Life lesson: We should strive to develop meaningful relationships and make time for the people we care about, even when busy. We should always remember that friendship is the most precious gift of all.
Appreciate the present moment
It is easy to get caught up in everyday life’s hustle and bustle and forget to take care of ourselves. But it is important to remember that we are not machines. We need to take breaks to recharge and avoid burnout.
It is okay to put off a piece of work until another day, especially if we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Sometimes, the best way to get something done is to take a step back and return to it later with fresh eyes.
Life lesson: It is important to ensure we are not putting things off because we are lazy or procrastinating, have a plan and a timeline for completing our tasks, and be honest about when we need to take a break.
In the book, the fox’s love for the Little Prince is like a flower that took its time to open. It was a love that was deep and meaningful, but it was also a love that was hidden from view.
We often have difficulty expressing our love for the people we care about. We may be afraid of rejection or not knowing how to express our feelings.
It is important to tell the people we love how we feel. We should not wait until it is too late.
Life lesson: We should not wait to tell the people we love how we feel. We should cherish the time that we have with them, and we should let them know how much we care. For love is the most precious part of life.
Appreciate the beauty in simplicity
The most important things in life are often the simplest. A flower, a friend, or a sunset can all be sources of great happiness and fulfillment.
We should look at the world with fresh eyes, see the beauty in the simple things, and appreciate the little moments. For example, looking up at the sky – we can imagine clouds as sheep or ourselves flying through the air.
The most important things in life are often the simplest – a flower, friend, or sunset can be sources of great happiness and fulfillment.
Life lesson: We should never lose our sense of wonder. We should always be open to new experiences and new perspectives. And we should always cherish the little things in life.
Embrace change and transformation
Change is a natural part of life and can lead to personal growth and self-discovery.
Picture a vast desert stretching out for miles in every direction. The sand is hot and dry, and the sun beats down mercilessly. There is no sign of life except for the occasional cactus or tumbleweed.
But if you look closer, you will see that the desert is not entirely barren.
There are hidden treasures to find. One of these treasures is the well. The well is a source of life in the desert, where travelers can quench their thirst and rest in the shade.
But the well is more than just a source of water. It is also a symbol of hope. It is a reminder that life is always to be found, even in the driest and most desolate places.
Life lesson: The well in the desert is a metaphor for the things that give our lives meaning and purpose. It is the things that make us feel alive.
Always be open to searching for the wells in our lives, and let us cherish them, for they make our lives beautiful.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella has retained its important life lessons for 80 years and will for hundreds more. Please do if you have never had the chance to read the book, watch the movie, or listen to audiobooks. It can be a life-changing experience.