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The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - 3 Big Ideas

Prophetic Indeed!


Welcome to 3 Things You Can Use, where Maddi and I analyze the worlds of lifestyle and entrepreneurship through books, three things at a time. This week's book is The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran.

Amazon describes it as being,

"(...) one of the most beloved classics of our time. Published in 1923, it has been translated into more than twenty languages, and the American editions alone have sold more than nine million copies. The Prophet is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death..."

This book is 96 pages hardcover and 1 hour 14 minutes Audible.

And for this book, I'm going to read you my three favorite passages from the book and give you interpretations.

3 Things You Can Use

1. Work

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of hours turns to music.

 Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labor a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labor you are in truth loving life,

 And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.

So what he's saying here is that loving work and working with love is a solution to life. That everyone has to work and those who don't put effort into their work and those who sarcastically do their work will never be living at their best and loving life.

And he goes on to say:

But I say, not in sleep, but in the over wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass

Which is to say that the job you do doesn't matter. Whether you're a heart surgeon or a janitor, the job isn't what matters, loving your job and working at your best is.

2. Joy and Sorrow

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

So a life with no sorrow is a life with no joy. There is no one without the other and the deeper one goes, the deeper the other can go.

Living without sorrow is living without joy. A life at baseline is a life with neither.

3. Reason and Passion

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgement wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to it’s own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgement and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honor one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

He's talking about playing into your dreams here. Ignoring your dreams and being completely rational and reasonable will kill you and going for your dreams without any thought, plan or guidelines will kill you.

The idea here is risk mitigation. Don't give up on your dreams but also don't chase after a wild goose without a chicken as a backup.


Work is unavoidable. Working with love and loving your work is the everlasting solution to your misery against labor.

Joy and sorrow are like yin and yang, hot and cold and black and white. One doesn't exist without the other. Always remember that when with one, the other is around the corner.

Reason and passion. Don't give in completely to one or the other. If they're not balanced on the scales they will both prove hopeless to you.

This was great.

I remember hearing the first few paragraphs and thinking to myself, "oh god what have I done."

The language was arcane and practically incomprehensible and I had no idea what he was going on about. But as he settled into each of his segments, framing the book with a prophet answering the questions of the people around him, I realized that this was going to be awesome.

And it was.

It is poetry and it is arcane so it takes some concentration and afterthought to bring each thought to light. He tackles each concept with awesome metaphors and wisdom.

I highly recommend it!

I found it for free and you can check it out below.

Thank's for watching, make sure to subscribe, and we'll see you next week!

Want to Read it?

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The Prophet (Audible Version)

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(These links give me a commission -- at no extra cost to you. They just give me a little bump if you decide to use them. Thank you!)

Hear it for free: Video


Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig

Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa

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