‘Hemingway’s Lost Suitcase’

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4th July 2024

In 1922, Ernest Hemingway was a 23-year-old aspiring novelist working as a foreign correspondent in Paris for the Toronto Star newspaper.

The young Hemingway, who was recently married and embracing the culture of Paris, would work for the paper during the days and then work on building his body of fiction work at night.

In December 1922, a bit of carelessness and bad luck led to a creative tragedy:

While traveling to visit her husband, who was on assignment in Switzerland, Hemingway’s wife, Hadley, lost the suitcase that contained every single one of his novel manuscripts & copies.

It was a devastating blow to the writer, who had spent years working on the pieces.

I can imagine how this must have felt as I get extremely frustrated when I lose a few minutes of work due to an issue with Microsoft Word or the WiFi, imagine losing years of work just like that.

But rather than be completely derailed by the challenging blow, Ernest Hemingway found a way to benefit from the chaos:

Feeling new time pressure, he made his writing more concise, using fewer words, shorter sentence structures, and tighter paragraphs.

As it turns out, that shift in style dramatically improved his overall writing quality and output.

To this day, Ernest Hemingway is known for his writing style that involved short sentences and simple language.

Hemingway’s Lost Suitcase is a perfect example of a challenge that was turned into an opportunity with a growth mindset.

Adaptability is essential and it’s a skill you can build and I am reminded of the golden words of Charles Darwin,

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change.”

Life is chaotic, If you can embrace that chaos and roll with it, you’ll definitely find a way to win.

Don’t get flustered if things don’t go as planned, turn your challenges into opportunities to claim victory & stay blessed forever.