Lessons for Life From The Tale of Icarus and Daedalus

The Fall of Icarus

Seeking to escape exile from the island of Crete, Daedalus looked to the heavens as the only route open to him and his son, Icarus. So, Daedalus crafted two pairs of wings from feathers and wax.

Before taking flight, Daedalus warned his son: ” Take care to fly halfway between the sun and the sea. If you fly too high, the sun’s heat will melt the wax that binds your wings. If you fly too low, the sea’s mist will dampen the feathers that give you lift. Instead, aim for the middle course and avoid extremes.”

However, Icarus was exhilarated by his newfound power of flight. he soared high into the heavens, ignoring his father’s warning. Soon, the sun melted the wax that bonded his wings.

Icarus fell from the sky, followed by the gentle wafting feathers that held him in flight, and he was swallowed by the swelling seas.

– adapted from Metamorphoses by Ovid

The story of Icarus and Daedalus is thousands of years old. The moral of the story is still relevant today. The moral is simple:

Aim for the middle course and avoid extremes. In other words, be balanced.

This applies to all aspects of our life: physical, mental, financial, social, emotional and spiritual. We should not be too greedy and want everything and neither should we be too fearful and avoid everything. Greed and fear are two emotions that direct lot of what we do. We need to consciously be aware of these emotions as we live our lives and make sure we do not fall prey to either of them.

We cannot change what we are given in life: in terms of physical attributes, the intelligence we are born with, the money we are born with, the people we are born with. But we can respond to life in a positive and balanced way:

  • Take care of your body by doing regular, moderate exercise for improving your physical health.
  • Learn new things every day from the world, from people and from the knowledge in books.
  • Become financially free by spending less than you earn, and investing what you save in a safe way by investing in stocks gradually over time and accepting what the markets give you and not risk all your money in the hope of getting a jackpot and end up losing everything.
  • Love your family, your spouse and your kids. Remember that work is not everything. Have a balanced work life and a balanced family life.
  • And most of all, remember the Divine, which is what is everything in its truest sense. Accept you may not understand it all. Accept what you can understand of the majesty of the Divine and gradually allow it to fill your Life.

All this is easy and simple, if we can control the greed and fear that prevent us from living this way. This is what true balance is and this is what will help us build true wealth in all aspects of our life. We will then understand what “The Tao of Wealth” really means.

God bless.

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