Book I want to read again and again for the peace of mind it gives. The story of Old Professor and young student will teach one of the best Life Lessons. Here’s few conversations and anecdotes from book I will cherish forever.
1. Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do. Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it. Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others. Don’t assume that it’s too late to get involved.
2. Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.
3. The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
4. The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. “Love is the only rational act”. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.
5. The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. It’s become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish’.
6. Whenever people ask me about having children or not having children, I never tell them what to do, Morrie said now, looking at a photo of his oldest son. “I simply say, ‘There is no experience like having children.’ That’s all. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.
7. Learn to detach. “You know what the Buddhists say? Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent.”
8. We have to embrace the age. It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, it’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.” Yes, I said, but if aging were so valuable, why do people always say, “Oh, if I were young again.” You never hear people say, “I wish I were sixty-five.” He smiled. “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five. Listen. You should know something. All younger people should know something. If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow. You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.
9. There’s a big confusion in this country over what we want versus what we need, Morrie said. “You need food, you want a chocolate sundae. You have to be honest with yourself. You don’t need the latest sports car, you don’t need the biggest house. “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction?” What? “Offering others what you have to give.”
10. Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.
11. Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not what I look like in the mirror. When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it’s as close to healthy as I ever feel. “Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you won’t be longing for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.”
12. There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.
13. Look, no matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become. But if you’re surrounded by people who say ‘I want mine now,’ you end up with a few people with everything and a military to keep the poor ones from rising up and stealing it. Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.
14. As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. “Death ends a life, not a relationship”.
15. There is no formula to relationships. They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like. In business, people negotiate to win. They negotiate to get what they want. Maybe you’re too used to that. Love is different. Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.