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The writer who failed his way to success

One of Spain's greatest writers actually sucked at writing.

But despite his countless failures, he created the masterpiece novel Don Quixote. And it's this unique and challenging journey of his that can teach us something.

Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, had a rough adulthood.

At 24, he took part in the great naval battle of Lepanto (1571) and got severely injured. Permanently losing the use of his left arm. Four years later, at 28, he was captured by Barbary pirates and became a slave in Algiers. He spent the next half-decade enslaved before being finally freed. Which prompted his short career as a Spanish spy in Portugal and North Africa.

Eventually, he ended up in Madrid and tried his hand at writing plays.

Cervantes made a vigorous effort, writing at least twenty plays. However, none of them panned out. With his writing career not taking off, he needed to make an income, so he became a tax collector.

Believe it or not, he somehow messed up this role and got accused of misconduct. Which resulted in his imprisonment. By this time, Cervantes is 50 years old.

Eight years later, Cervantes finds himself imprisoned again.

And it's during this incarceration he starts to write Don Quixote.

As some of you know, Don Quixote is one of the most celebrated fictional pieces. And is even argued to be the first modern novel. The book was a hit when first published and is still celebrated to this day. Allowing Cervantes's name to live on.

Despite his late success.

I want you to think about his journey. From 24-58, Cervantes had it rough. And it's hard to say if he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But he kept moving forward, not letting any of life's harshness hold him back. And because of that constant resolve to live, he created a literary masterpiece.

This is where we learn from Cervantes.

That no matter how hard life can be and the sucker punches thrown at us.

We keep moving forward.

We keep chasing our goals.

We keep living.

In Ernest Hemingway's short novel, The Old Man and The Sea, there is a solemn line that represents Cervantes perfectly:

A man can be destroyed but not defeated.

Cervantes embodies this.

So let's take inspiration from him and trudge on. No matter the heartbreaks, hardships, betrayals, and whatever kick in the balls that come our way. Because sooner or later, we'll hit our goals and dreams.

Until next time,


The Charismatic Nerd


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