“She set out upon an unknown course which held at least the possibility of personal fulfillment — a choice inextricably driven by her inherent passion for place —a passion which would ultimately define her life.” —Linda Lear, biographer of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
Perhaps you were read and then read yourself as a child The Tale of Petter Rabbit or any other beautifully illustrated children books by British artist and scientific illustrator Helen Beatrix Potter. The success of Potter’s books gave her the opportunity in her lifetime to become a visionary landowner, successful farmer and sheep breeder and the financial ability to preserve more than 4000 acres of land in the Lake District as National Trust land, and thereby protected from development.
To say she was unique is an understatement. To say she was inspiring and continues to be so is without a doubt, and it is her acclaimed biography written by Linda Lear, that I am in the middle of now (it is more than 400 pages), and absolutely enthralled with.
While I know I was read Beatrix Potter’s books when I was a child, I will admit, I forgot and was only reminded when I watched the film starring Renee Zellweger Miss Potter (2006). I was intrigued again, especially with her pursuit of a passion no matter what the pushback or heartbreak or time it may take to live the life she desired.
If you would like to learn more about Beatrix Potter but aren’t sure you want to dive into the biography yet, check out the 60 minute biography profile video free on Amazon Prime titled Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storyteller and Countrywoman.
I am savoring her biography at the moment as my copy arrived just over a week ago due to a delay in delivery. I had hoped to have it finished by the time I wrote this post, but am only halfway through. However, I didn’t want to rush, and needn’t have to as the first half is brimming full of life lessons to contemplate and be inspired by.
I have compiled a list of 20 general life lessons that Beatrix Potter embodied and put into practice in her own life journey. Perhaps there will be a Part Two of this post as I am certain there will be many more life lessons that will catch my attention as I continue to savor the book.
I do hope you enjoy. Here is a taste of how Beatrix Potter lived her one and only life and left a legacy for us all to be inspired and reminded of how we too can live and live well.
1.Pursue your dreams even if those in your immediate family or friends do not understand
2. The seaside is a destination for comfort, for companionship even and especially when the need to go alone is required.
3. Great love can indeed awaken great courage within us.
4. To become wonderfully engrossed in a creative pursuit is to find purpose. To find fulfillment.
5. Never underestimate the power of grief when channeled productively to create an “outburst of creativity”
6. Working on two creative projects simultaneously gives the mind an opportunity to give the eye a change whilst in the midst of each project.
7. Knowledge of one’s audience is often an unspoken vital piece of information to acquire when creating a piece of art that intends to be sold.
8. Precise and thoughtful, intentional language matters in order not only to tell the story well but to move the reader forward as the cadence and syntax create a rhythm.
9. Financial independence as a driving force is nothing for which to apologize.
10. Constructive criticism when sincerely given can improve one’s work if those giving said criticism are experts in the field of critique.
11. Be straightforward rather than passive and dimunitive in order to attain what you seek.
12. The satisfaction of work one loves is an amazing feeling – a bolster to one’s happiness and a boost to one’s self-confidence.
13. If no one else believes in your work, take the initiative and bring it to fruition on your own and doing so conveys your confidence in what you are doing and sometimes that is the most powerful selling point.
14. Be willing to invest vast amounts of time and energy and financial means to make your dreams a reality.
15. Make sure your creative pursuit is a pursuit that comes from within, a personal desire and interest – not to appease society.
16. Be willing to put in time to make it great, whatever your “it” is.
17. Don’t let discouragement halt your determination to persevere.
18. Look for inspiration in the everyday details around you wherever you find yourself.
19. Refuse to follow societal nudgings or expectations if you do not like what it requires and what it will offer.
20. Create the life you want to live, and it can be so in time.
Buy the book from Amazon; from Bookshop.org
2020 TSLL British Week Posts
24 thoughts on “20 Life Lessons Learned from Beatrix Potter”
What a delightful surprise to open up my laptop this morning and find this post on Beatrix Potter–my current WIP! Like you, I have been inspired and learned so much from her. What a great list–love it! She knew what she wanted, and eventually re-wrote her whole life’s blueprint to have it. One of my favorite things I was able to do at the Blythe House was to hold her paintbox and see all her original drawings, manuscripts, and paintings. I also asked to see the letter (per Lear’s preface) that Beatrix wrote to Millie concerning almost losing Norman’s ring. It was amazing to hold so much history in my hands. I am already loving everything you are doing this year for British Week. Well done, Shannon!
What a delightful list of life lessons! I was just looking for new books to read and your post is timely. I finished “Little Paris Bistro” and am now reading “In a French Kitchen”, but Beatrix Potter will be next. Also, I thought of you yesterday afternoon while enjoying my cuppa 🙂
I so love In a French Kitchen. My favorite Susan Hermmann Loomis book. I do think you will enjoy the biography. Well written and organized. 🙂 PS – thank you for thinking of me. ☺️
I should have mentioned that it was Fortnum & Mason “Assam” tea, quite fitting for British week 😀
I am enjoying this book right now too, I am about halfway in…..she so inspires me, and it made me get to my watercolor table and paint a rabbit…enjoyed reading your lessons learned from Beatrix.
What a nice surprise! I just ordered the Complete Tales last night, the Victoria Magazine classics book club’s current selection. Thanks for the Amazon documentary recommendation. Beatrix Potter was certainly a childhood favorite and I’m looking forward to revisiting her work and learning more about her as an individual.
I loved this post about Beatrix Potter. I took my grands to see the movie and they have a new love for Peter Rabbit.
I have a 11 month old son and I have been reading these to him! I would love to read the book on her life to gain more insight, definitely adding it to my reading list!
I love this post and will certainly look for all recommendations. As my life is somewhat in transition right now, I know first and foremost that I must not fear failing forward in order to realize the life I desire. I have long been afraid of failure, but finally realize failure is just another step on the road to success.
You are learned a wise and most helpful lessons in any future endeavor you embark. Thank you for sharing Ellen. 🙂
I recall reading a book based on Ms. Potter’s life. Enjoyed it thoroughly and was so inspired by her determination to live her life despite her parents’ oppositions otherwise.
I have collected Beatrix Potter books and figurines and shared the same for new baby gifts, how could anyone resist her beautiful tales and the illustrations are brilliant. Jemima Puddleduck is a favorite. My daughters favorite little book was Two bad Mice, ha! It was a dream realized when I toured her home in the Lake District. I am adding this biography to my wishlist.
You know the books well! I think you will LOVE the biography as you get to know exactly where her inspiration came for each of the books, characters and settings she painted in such fantastic detail. Enjoy!
What a wonderful list! I found myself nodding & whispering “yes, yes!” as I read it. I must read the book as Potter’s stories have always been favourites & she sounds like a delightful woman.
Susanne, I do thing you would enjoy it. I love the organization and designation of the chapter titles as you follow Beatrix through her life.
She was such an independent and inspiring woman. Brings back fond memories of my dad reading her stories to me when I was young. I will check out the Amazon show. Susan Branch; an author, blogger and artist, is a big Beatrix Potter fan and wrote about visiting her home on a trip to England. ????
Ah, i think I remember my mom saying something about Susan Branch (my mom is a fan of Potter’s work as well). Thank you for the reminder. ?
I have always been a fan of Beatrix Potter’s work. Great quotes!
“The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” is a beautiful animated series of Potter’s stories. I loved watching them with my children and recently found them on YouTube. They’re delightful!
Thank you for sharing bit of info Lauren. ?
This is one of my favorite books. When my children were young (they’re in college now), we homeschooled using the Ambleside Online curriculum, which is literary based. Reading a biography of Beatrix Potter was part of the curriculum one year. I actually located more than one, but chose one to read aloud to the girls. The Lear I read myself, and I devoured it. What a treasure!
I loved Beatrix Potter’s tales as a child and really enjoyed the film Miss Potter.
If you ever come to England again Shannon and happen to visit our beautiful Lake District, you can take a trip to see Beatrix Potters home.
Also, there are lots of beautiful prints of her illustrations available in the gift shops of the Lakes.
Just learnt of your blog today at Devon Dreaming, and am loving it.
Liked your life lessons learnt from Beatrix Potter. She is a childhood favourite. And also read about the cottage where you stayed – beautiful! Coincidentally we did a tour of the Lake District and Devon and Cornwall last year, and just loved both these areas in England. We also visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. It was a sort of literary tour with Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage too.
While in the Lake District, we visited the Beatrix Potter Museum and her cottage there, and found it really enchanting.
What a wonderful travel experience you have had in England. Thank you so much for sharing. ? I am so appreciative to a Margaret for her kind mention. I adore her blog, and steppin* into her life virtually in England.