Lessons learned from Alexandre Dumas

One of my favourite books came to me in an unexpected way. I was strolling around on a local flea market, not looking for something specific. I found this stall with old but beautiful looking books. There I found a pearl of a book: ´The Count of Monte Cristo´ written by the great Alexandre Dumas. For a couple of weeks, it was catching dust on one of my bookshelves until I finally picked it up and started reading without high expectations. At first I wasn´t sure if I would continue reading, since it took me some time to get used to the writing style of Alexandre Dumas, but I am very glad that I did. 

To me, this book is full of strong emotions, hidden wisdom and great insight in human nature. It shows the struggle of a man who loses almost everything and his struggle with the unjustness of life. It is also a story of passion, goodness and great love. Even though the story consists of a good deal of dramatic events, it speaks about happiness as well.

“Often we pass beside happiness without seeing it, without looking at it, or even if we have seen and looked at it, without recognizing it.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

I think Dumas has a point when saying that people often do not recognize happiness for what it is. As for me, I catch myself from time to time feeling troubled without detecting a good reason for that in the present. I notice a tendency in myself to dwell on the past without observing all the beauty around me. These days I am blessed with so much of the things that I have been wishing for in former times. It helps me to take a moment every evening to write down some things that I have felt thankful for during that day. This raises my awareness of small pieces of happiness in the next day.

“I don’t think man was meant to attain happiness so easily. Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

In my eyes, Dumas hits the nail on the head with this metaphor. I wíll not give up the fight with the dragon guarding my personal palace of happiness. I hope you will join me on this quest.