3 Life Lessons to Learn While You’re Young

When you think about your life, are you satisfied with what you’re doing right now? Are you living your life in a way that makes you feel good when you sit and think about it? We so often get bogged down in the day-to-day that the things we say are important are no longer our priorities, even if we want them to be. As Millennials, we focus so much on earning money or pursuing a degree that we forget to enjoy the journey of reaching our goals. Morrie Schwartz, the wise mentor and former professor in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, spent his time embracing the most important things in life.

Through this book, Morrie teaches us life’s greatest lessons. For those of you who haven’t read my about page, I’d like you to know that this book has a special place in my heart! I am a graduate student in the Gerontology Disciplinary Program right now, which means that I study aging. I absolutely love older adults and know that they have a wealth of knowledge that comes from many years of experience. In my opinion, the bond between Mitch and Morrie is admirable and I loved learning from their friendship.

Mitch was a lot like all of us at the beginning of this book. He had been bogged down for too long in life’s trenches and had forgotten the important things. He was a workaholic and his family life was in shambles. Mitch had also lost touch with his mentor until one day he saw Morrie on the news and decided it was time to reconnect with him. At this point, Morrie was diagnosed with ALS and was in the last months of his life. With that in mind, the two men decided to have one final class together, a class about how to life your best life.

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I think it’s important that before I talk about the main themes I found in Morrie’s lessons that you get a sense of who he was. Morrie was a man that lived his life to the fullest. He served others as a professor and deeply cared about the well-being of his students. He forgave without question. One of his favorite things in this world was dancing, and he was incredibly grateful for everything he had. This was a man we can all learn from.

The Past

A large portion of Morrie’s teachings revolved around the idea of the past. The past is an illusive concept that looks different for everyone. However, we all have things in our past that we look back on with regret. Morrie suggests that we, “Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it.” I absolutely loved that piece of advice, because it gives us permission to move on without burying these feelings we have. We can’t change the past, but we can use it to create a better future by learning from it.

How we live day-to-day eventually creates a life of remorse or hope. Morrie teaches that “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.” Are we living our lives in a way that makes us want to move forward in hope and joy? As young people, I think the best thing we can do to honor Morrie’s advice it try new things and experience as much as we can.

Our Society

One thing that makes me love Morrie is that he spent a lot of time around young people. He taught them for years at a university, and understands the struggles we go through and how our culture has changed. He acknowledges that “the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves.” That’s so true, isn’t it? We are in a society that encourages people to beat other people for jobs, money, houses, relationships etc. Instead, it should be a society of building each other up and competing only against ourselves. We “have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”

Many people in our society have a sense of entitlement. They think that because they go through all of the schooling and get the right internships that they are entitled to the perfect job with a high paying salary… But that’s not the case for everyone. And some people, like Morrie, will live their lives in the best way possible and end up with a disease that robs them of fulfilling the rest of their dreams. On this subject, Morrie says,  “I don’t allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, a few tears, and that’s all.” What would the world be like if we were all like Morrie? If we faced our fears, failures, misfortunes, and heartbreaks with the same grace that he did? It would be a much better place.

Love

Throughout the book, Morrie meets with countless people in his home. He is constantly talking with others, teaching and loving them. He always welcomed Mitch with open arms and loved their Tuesday lessons. Morrie truly believed that “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.” He lived that way, and certainly felt fulfilled.

There is a tendency to use work or school as excuses for putting off the things that really matter. We say things like, “I’ll spend more time with family when I get this promotion,” or “I’ll go back to painting once I have enough money.” The problem with this way of thinking is that you’re putting off the things you love for things that simply don’t matter as much. Morrie reminds us that “money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness.”

If you’re looking for ways to be the best you, take Morrie’s advice. Learn from a life well lived and think about your past, our society, and love in a different light.

MAKAYLA

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17 thoughts on “3 Life Lessons to Learn While You’re Young

  1. I just read the book recently and was struck by similar passages—plus his ability to die with dignity as his body failed him.

    A meaningful life is one devoted to our priorities. You are wise to see that, and—yes—the culture encourages us to move too quickly to focus on what authentically fulfills us. So slow down and be present. Great post.

  2. I loved how Tuesdays with Morrie inspired you to write this blogpost. I read a few chapters from that book 6 years ago, fell in love with it, then lost my copy of the book. Tragic, I know!!!

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this so much.

  3. My favorite line:
    “Learn from a life well lived and think about your past, our society, and love in a different light.”
    This is the type of content which changes people outlook forever. Appreciate this!

  4. Hi Makayla, I read ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ some years ago and absolutely loved it – it was great to read about your insights, thanks so much for sharing them, Lxx

  5. Mikayla, great read. I agree with Marc, forgiveness of others and ourselves is an important part in moving on…without it your past will always be your present. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Makayla, well said. Thank you for sharing.

    In my experience, being able to “accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it” is easier said than done. The hurdle we must clear is forgiveness, being able to forgive others and ourselves. If we master this quality, then we can truly move on and drive towards living a meaningful life.

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