7 Life Lessons We Learned from Charles Darwin
News Darwin Day is February 12. Say happy birthday to the father of evolution by learning his life hacks.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution changed the world. Though his ideas were controversial, his detailed observations and flawless logic convinced scientists (and plenty of other people) that he was right.
Darwin Day celebrates his fearless pursuit of the truth. It’s also a great time to learn his advice for how to respect yourself and the world around you.
1. Believe in yourself
Darwin’s were revolutionary, and he defended them fiercely. So it’s no surprise that he declared, “I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men.”
2. It’s all about teamwork
When Darwin discovered that another scientist’s theories were similar to his own, he didn’t try to squelch them. Instead, he arranged for papers describing their work to be published together. “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too),” Darwin said, “those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
3. Smell the roses
Darwin spent 20 years working on “The Origin of Species,” then dove into his next book, “The Descent of Man,” and followed that up with even more research. But he admitted, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”
4. Be honest with yourself
“A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives—of approving of some and disapproving of others,” Darwin said. In other words, admit your mistakes.
5. Poverty is everyone’s problem
Darwin’s father was a doctor who helped poor people in London. This led Darwin to believe that poverty is not an unavoidable part of life, but a problem that needed to be solved. “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our own institutions,” he said, “great is our sin.”
6. Respect nature
Darwin devoted his life to studying the natural world, and he wanted everyone to appreciate it as much as he did, saying, “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”
7. Especially animals
Studying animals made Darwin notice how some of them—especially mammals—take care of each other. “Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral,” he said. Maybe humans can learn from them.