The Wisdom of Winnie the Pooh

If you were like me you grew up with the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh. The loveable hungry bear who lives in the hundred-acre wood. The bear who gets into all sorts of situations with his good friend Christopher Robin. Recently, there have been many movies made featuring the wise Pooh bear. There’s the story behind the creation of Winnie the Pooh and the story of Pooh visiting an older Christopher Robin.

There are plenty of wise stories in Winnie the Pooh. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff highlights the overlap in ancient Chinese philosophy. For a children’s story, Winnie the Pooh has a lot of hidden wisdom. A humble bear of not much brain manages to teach wonderful life lessons about how to keep calm in a variety of situations and to remain curious.

The World of Pooh Book surrounded by flowers

Bisy Backson

One quote that really encompeses the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh is in a chapter titled Bisy Backson. The quote is about time. We work long days to be able to afford machines and things in our life that “save time.”

The main problem with this great obsession for Saving Time is very simple: you can’t Save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly. The Bisy Backson has practically no time at all, because he’s too busy wasting it by trying to save it. And by trying to save every bit of it, he ends up wasting the whole thing.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, Page 108

This idea really resonated with me as someone that grew up in a family that values hard work. I can remember extreme examples in my childhood of my parents struggle with time working vs. just spending time being.

A black and white sketch of Pooh bear

Don’t be afraid to slow down

In the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit is an extreme characterization of working hard without slowing down. In the stories, if Rabbit just paused for a moment Rabbit would’ve seen that what he was looking for was right in front of him. Instead, Rabbit runs from place to place and missing what he was really looking for.

I find that I fall squarely into this camp. I easily fall into the trap of constantly working or doing something “productive” in order to accomplish a greater task. I’ve found this to often be counterproductive whereby I don’t zoom out to focus on the bigger picture. The Bisy Backson is prevalent in US culture. The wise Winnie the Pooh can help shed light on how to prioritize the most important things to help us shift away from this cultural trap of always be working.

Sketch of Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear sitting back to back

If you grew up with Winnie the Pooh, then you may already be familiar with the wisdom at the heart of this loveable character. My advice is to maybe follow the footsteps of a bear with a honey jar stuck to his nose.

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