LESSONS FROM WINNIE THE POOH
He is endearing, and most of all, his philosophy of life is rather helpful
IAM going to buy an umbrella that is windproof and designed to be resistant to strong wind gusts. In Ireland, an umbrella is a necessity because there are so many “blustery days”, in the words of Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh has always been one of my favourite childhood characters. Not so much the mass-produced Disney version of the orange coloured bear, but the original vintage handdrawn bear.
I don’t know whether Winnie the Pooh is as famous as Mickey Mouse, but the fact that he is actually 91 (his longevity must be due to the health benefits of honey, his favourite food) this year earns him some space in my article this week.
Created by A.A. Milne in 1926, he lives in the Hundred Acre Wood, which, in reality, is a cultivated pine plantation called the Five Hundred Acre Wood in South East England. Pooh Corner in Hartfield village is home to a large selection of “Poohphernalia”.
His search for honey makes him an unwelcome guest to the bees, or even to his friend Rabbit, who fears Pooh might eat him out of house and home. He is quite a celebrity even. On Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday last year, Winnie went to Buckingham palace and presented her with a song.
But, he is endearing, and most of all, his philosophy of life is actually rather helpful. No overthinking.
Rightfully so, as he is a bear of very little brain and is stuffed with fluff. Most of us tend to worry too much or analyse too much. Truth be told, most of the stuff that we worry about never actually materialise in the end. Sometimes, we over analyse another person’s words and get ourselves all worked up. When we finally seek clarification from the person who uttered the words, we find that they may not be what we thought they were in the first place. Unfortunately, not everyone seeks clarification, and so, we may go through days, or even years, being upset over what we thought we heard. Sounds convoluted, but it is true.
“Tigger is all right, really,” said Piglet lazily. “Of course he is,” said Christopher Robin. “Everybody is really,” said Pooh. “That’s what I think.” (The House at Pooh Corner, p. 108)
There is this air of acceptance in the face of staggering differences. It has often been said that a stranger is a just a friend I haven’t met. Far too often we base our judgement of others through first impressions because there are so many in-built filters in our minds. These filters could be anything from experiences, opinions, prejudices and judgements.
Granted some of these first impressions are right. It is most natural that we find comfort among those who are of similar disposition and share our interests. But, I have met so many that I never thought I could be great friends with because they are so very different from me. Imagine if I have not allowed myself to embrace these differences, I would have missed out on such a great friendship.
No such thing as a silly question.
One of the greatest techniques to learn something new is to ask. Children are never afraid to ask. But, adults generally are more reserved in that area due to embarrassment or pride, perhaps. I find myself asking a lot of questions because I want to know the specific.
Sometimes the person at the other end thinks I’m an ignoramus and gets impatient with me.
Recently, I signed up for a postal service called AddressPal, where I am given a postal address in the United Kingdom for online purchases. The instructions on the website were not very clear, so I called up the customer service and asked for specific information. I could sense the voice on the other end of the line getting agitated by my questions.
Then there are those who give vague answers. The plumber tells me that he’s coming after dinner to fix my leaky pipe. To me, that is no help because I wouldn’t know what time he eats his lamb stew and spuds. So, when I ask him for a possible time, he feels pressured.
So, how did I end up writing about Pooh’s philosophy of life? Oh yes, it is about buying a windproof umbrella and I should get it before the blustery day comes.
Truth be told, most of the stuff that we worry about never actually materialise in the end. Sometimes, we over analyse another person’s words and get ourselves all worked up.
Winnie the Pooh never overthinks as he is a bear of very little brain and is stuffed with fluff.