There’s a treasure trove of life lessons that we can all learn from. But what is the best way to learn the most important life lessons?
Failure is a Great Teacher
It was late in the afternoon and I had become increasingly annoyed and nervous.
I was slumped in the carpeted steps of the stairs leading up to my parents’ bedroom. I held in one hand the handset of the corded telephone that I’ve dragged out from the room. Luckily, the cord was long enough for me to plant the telephone near the edge of the top of the stairs.
It was unbelievable that the preparations that I’ve done in the past 12 months would lead to this moment.
I studied well and made sure I got good grades during my final year in college. I applied early to three of the best university graduate programs that I’ve found.
A couple of months back, I thought I already had my happy ending. Getting an offer from my top choice graduate program was one of the best news of my life. I thought verbally accepting the offer sealed the deal.
But I have not yet received the enrollment package that they promised.
So here I am, preparing to make a call to the graduate program administrator.
I was annoyed with myself because I knew I should have made this call months ago. I’m nervous because this call could reverse my happy ending.
I dialed the number and within a few rings, I heard a voice with a British accent, akin to those I’ve heard when watching the BBC news.
After introducing myself, I didn’t waste any time and went on to inform the administrator that I haven’t received my enrollment package. I even suggested that perhaps it got lost along the way from London to Manila.
It was then that the administrator told me that I was not on the list of the accepted student in the program.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
Programs were starting in about 2-3 months time and I’m only finding out about this now?
And why was I initially informed that I got in?
Who gave me that false information?
Who’s sabotaging me?!
But I didn’t ask any of these questions. I just thanked the administrator for providing the information and I proceeded to hang up the telephone.
I then went ahead and informed my parents about the news. All my mother could say was, “Will you be okay?”
I said, “Yes.”
I could see the surprise in her eyes when I said that.
To both of us, this was like history repeating itself.
About 4 years ago, I also did not get accepted in my top choice university for college and the day I received the news, I was inconsolable. I felt like a failure.
So instead of wallowing in sorrow, I resorted to Plan B and began calling another program that accepted me.
Eventually, I still did get my happy ending.
Real Perspective in Times of Desperation
While writing the book Remember Who You Are: Life Stories That Inspire the Heart and Mind, Daisy Wademan thought about the advice successful business leaders have received.
Wademan wanted to know what advice these leaders have received that they have used in their work.
One of the executives that Wademan interviewed was Rochelle “Shelly” Lazarus, former CEO and current Chairman Emeritus of the advertising company Ogilvy & Mather.
Early in her career at Ogilvy & Mather, Lazarus found herself preparing with her boss for an important meeting with a client. The meeting was scheduled at 2 pm. But at 1 pm, the media plan that they needed to present to their client was still not available.
Their panic-stricken media planner arrived at the doorway of their office. She informed them that the computer was down, therefore, they could not obtain the data they needed for their media plan.
This was during the 1970’s and at that time, there was no way to just quickly reboot a computer that’s down.
They did not have a media plan to present to their important client meeting.
This declaration was followed by the media planner walking into their office. Once inside, with her head in her hands, she proceeded to frantically “run in circles” while chanting, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?”
After a while, Lazarus’ boss stopped the media planner in her tracks, grasped her by the shoulders as he exclaimed, “What are they going to do to you? Take your children away?”
In times of desperation and when a lot is at stake, putting things in real perspective can help us and those around us.
Lazarus brought with her this lesson throughout her career.
15 Quotes on Life Lessons
One of the best ways to learn a life lesson is through an emotional experience.
You may be the center of the emotional experience, such as in the story of my college and graduate program rejection.
You may also be just a spectator, such as in Lazarus’ experience of the near melt-down of her colleague.
An emotional experience is difficult to forget and helps us learn life lessons.
I’ve curated some of the best quotes on life lessons and I would like to share them with you. Some of these quotes provide insights on other ways to learn from our life lessons.
Here are 15 quotes on life lessons:
#1 By Haruki Murakami
No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.
#2 By Roy T. Bennett
Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind.
#3 By Paulo Coelho
Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead nowhere.
#4 By Wallace Stegner
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
#5 By Stephen King
There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.
#6 By Brian Rathbone
Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.
#7 By Ann Patchett
Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong.
#8 By Jocelyn Soriano
It is our wounds that create in us a desire to reach for miracles. The fulfillment of such miracles depends on whether we let our wounds pull us down or lift us up towards our dreams.
#9 By Jodi Picoult
We make messes of our lives, but every now and then, we manage to do something that’s exactly right. The challenge is figuring out which is which.
#10 By Satya Nadella
Success can cause people to unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.
#11 By Soren Kierkegaard
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
#12 By Oprah Winfrey
And I believe that there’s a lesson in almost everything that you do and every experience, and getting the lesson is how you move forward. It’s how you enrich your spirit. And, trust me, I know that inner wisdom is more precious than wealth. The more you spend it, the more you gain.
#13 By Dr. Martin Luther King
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase just take the first step.
#14 By Cecelia Ahern
That’s the thing about lessons, you always learn them when you don’t expect them or want them.
Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.
BEST LINK PARTIES
Here is a list of the Best Link Parties where I link up!