Sunday Snippet: James Joyce

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

Just as Wayne Gretzky taught us that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, noted writer and poet James Joyce reminds us of the value of making mistakes. If you succeed in absolutely everything that you do, chances are that you’re not going to learn very much. However, every mistake is a learning opportunity and a “portal of discovery.” Every mistake represents a chance to grow as a person.

The amazing thing about great literature is that it still has lessons to offer centuries after it was first published. This is true of playwrights like William Shakespeare, just as it is true of writers like James Joyce. The Irish poet not only entertains through his work, but he also provides some great life lessons.

You may have read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or Ulysses while going through school, for instance. The former is almost a complete rewrite of a novel Joyce already authored (and even tried to destroy). This largely autobiographical novel demonstrates Joyce’s ability to grow, especially since it is a coming-of-age story to boot.

Yes, there are absolutely risks to taking the road less traveled. Yes, there are risks to being unconventional, but it is only through these learning experiences that you can grow as a person and it is through these “portals of discovery” that you can really unearth the limits of human potential.