5 Lessons Young People Should Learn from George Orwell



George Orwell, a novelist, and essayist was born Eric Arthur Blair on the 25th of June 1903 in Motihari, British India. He is known for his works of fiction, non-fiction, essays, and poems. Some of them include the famous Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Homage to Catalonia, Burmese Days, and many others. Orwell’s works also included articles in opposition to social injustice and totalitarianism.

All through his life, Orwell was a master of his pen, being able to bend it right by producing words that came together to form a masterpiece every time. His net worth was estimated at $85 million.

So how did George Orwell become so accomplished and what can young people learn from him?

In this blog post, we’ll share with you; 5 essential lessons young people should learn from George Orwell. 

Lesson 1

Be open to experiences

Orwell always had a passion for writing. But in 1924, when his results in Eton showed that he was not taking his studies seriously, he took up a job as an Imperial police officer in Burma, India, where he learned a new language. His experience there inspired his book “Burmese Days.” 

In 1932, Orwell taught at Hawthorns high school, Hayes West London, which gave him the opportunity to take part in activities at a local parish. 

Orwell left this job at the end of the summer and went on to work as a teacher at St Fray’s college, Uxbridge, Middlesex in mid-1933.  

Later on, Orwell worked as a part-time assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, owned by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope, where he built relationships that would go on to benefit him later in life. He was also writing for Adelphi while doing all these.

The Lesson for young people

It is evident that Orwell never stayed idle. He was always busy while he pursued his writing career. Experience gathered by working is essential and adds a little spice to your resume. So while pursuing a career, gathering experience in one or two other areas will be useful in the long run.

Lesson 2

Be adventurous 

In 1927, Orwell was told by his friend Ruth Pitter to write about the things he knew. After she realized he was terrible at poetry. Orwell took that advice and decided to write about what he was interested in. He had an interest in living in the downtown areas of London and started exploring the East End of London. 

Adopting the name P.S Burton, Orwell started at Limehouse Causeway and moved on to other areas. He went on to record his experiences in “The Spike” and the end of his book, “Down and Out in Paris and London” which was published in 1933.  

Orwell also wrote articles that were published for three consecutive weeks in the newspaper “Le ProgresCivique” which discussed unemployment, a day in the life of a tramp, and the beggars of London, respectively. This adventure that started in 1927 resulted in literary works that would put his name on the map for years and years to come. 

The Lesson for young people

One of the best ways to succeed is to have fun during the journey. Business innovator, Maggie Schlarb once explained, “The most successful entrepreneurs are those who treat business as an adventure, and find joy in exploring what lies beyond the horizon.”

When you find yourself on an adventure, it inspires and energizes you to reach your destination. This also applies to your work and business. As you are an essential part of your business, you need to possess the qualities of adventure so that your business can grow.

Lesson 3

Never Give Up 

While working as an Imperial officer, Orwell was transferred to Upper Burma, where he contacted dengue fever in 1927. This illness led to him resigning and going back to his parents to convalesce. 

In late 1933, Orwell caught pneumonia after getting soaked on a trip to the countryside in Uxbridge. He was rushed to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, where his life was said to be in danger. But regardless of these illnesses, Orwell still continued to write, not minding his condition. 

Orwell completed the manuscript for his book, “Nineteen Eighty Four” in December 1948, approximately one year before he died. 

The Lesson for young people

Orwell did not see his illnesses as a reason to give up. Instead, he always picked a new activity after convalescence. 

It might surprise you to know that weaknesses have a way of highlighting your strengths. Just because you wish to be successful, does not mean you should hide or ignore your weakness. 

Success means constructively acknowledging those weaknesses because the chance to build and grow comes from wholesome self-criticism

Weaknesses, just like big pieces of rock, can either be seen as obstacles or as stepping stones. 

So take those pieces of rock and build yourself the most beautiful staircase to success. 

Lesson 4

Do Not Be Afraid to Accept Help

With Orwell, people were always ready to help him, and he did not refuse help.

In 1927, after his days in Burma, Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees, his family friends, helped him find accommodation in London. Pitter also pointed out a weakness in his writing. 

Orwell’s aunt helped him with social and financial resources when he moved to Paris in 1928. 

In 1931, he sought to live the life of the protagonist of his book, A Clergyman’s Daughter, by keeping a diary of his experiences working in the hop fields in Kent. Unfortunately, he could not keep up the lifestyle, and with financial support from his parents, Orwell traveled to Windsor street where he lodged for the rest of the year.

The Lesson for young people

Presently, you hardly find people who are ready to help others. The world has become a “survival of the fittest” war zone. So when you see people who are prepared to help you, accept help and appreciate them. Don’t be too scared or proud to receive support, especially when it’s being given freely.

Lesson 5

Soldier on despite rejections

Before publishing the book Animal Farm in 1945, which would stamp Orwell’s name in the history books and make him financially stable for the first time in his life, Orwell experienced a lot of rejection.

To start with, the book he wrote in 1944 was about life in a farmyard that depicted the Russian Revolution and Stalin’s betrayal. This caused a lot of controversies back then because some publishers didn’t understand it while others like Victor Gollancz who had published some of Orwell’s previous books, were scared to denounce the Soviet Union and Stalin openly.

A small press owned by Fredric Warburg finally accepted the book and its great success made the other publishers regret their earlier rejections.

The Lesson for young people

To be honest, rejection sucks. Nobody is glad to be rejected. However, refusal actually gives you the chance to learn and grow enough to be able to move forward in your quest for success.

In conclusion, if you want to be successful in life as a young person, open yourself to new and exciting experiences and learn from them. 

At the end of the day, every piece of knowledge gained is never lost. Find out those areas that interest you and explore them to the best of your abilities.

Aimee Cohen, an author, wrote, “Don’t let a weakness make you weak. Instead, acknowledge it, make friends with it, and turn it into a strength.”

Don’t feel down when you fail or are criticized and rejected by others. Just take the time to figure out the reason you were denied and try a different approach. 


Thank you.

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