quotes on life lessons

The Best Way to Learn and 15 Quotes on Life Lessons

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.

But failure was a great teacher.

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.

#15 Anonymous

Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.


quotes on life lessons


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28 comments On The Best Way to Learn and 15 Quotes on Life Lessons

  • #6 Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.

    I LOL at this one, so true and has some humour in it.
    Thanks for the quotes and motivating story above. It’s good to have a plan B and instead of sulking, you took actions!

  • These are great quotes! Failure is a great teaching tool. #AnythingGoes

  • Fabulous post – thanks for writing this. I totally agree that failure needs putting into perspective – some thing that is easier to do as we get older and more experienced. Great uplifting quotes. Lovely to see Jodie in there xx

    • Hello Maria,

      Thank you for your visit!

      I agree with you that age and experience can make a big difference in how we see failure. Maturity and experience can make us braver. Sometimes though, the older I get, the more scared I am because I feel I have more to lose.


  • It is really lovely to come across your blog, Sigrid! I pinned your pinnable image on my Life Quotes board.

  • Such a great post Sigrid! Those quotes are all so good too my favorite is “ take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase just take the first step.”

  • Life lessons are always hard at the time – I’m really impressed with how well you bounced back from your initial rejection btw! I think we look back and we see the lesson, but at the time we feel a bit sucker punched and want to curl up in a ball and feel sorry for ourselves. If we push through and create something good out of the mess, then we didn’t go through it for nothing.

    • Hello Leanne,

      Thank you for your visit to my blog!

      What you said there really got me. You’re right that we have to learn to create something good out of the mess. And I for one hate messes and most of the time, get rattled and anxious by it. It’s true that beauty can be found, even though the mess.


  • I love your quote posts. Bookmarked!

  • Guess what, Sigrid? Your post won the Inspire Me Monday Linky party. You’ll be featured on my site tomorrow.

    • Hello Janice,

      Thank you for making my day! I’m glad to be featured in your Inspire Me Monday Linky party at Mostly Blogging. Your party is one of the things I look forward to on Mondays.


  • Life has a habit of hitting hard don’t I know it, but it’s made me the person I am today great read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    • Hello Nige,

      The challenges that we face in our lives really change us. Thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment. I will definitely join again #Thatfridaylinky!


  • Hi Sigrid, I wholly believe that just because things don’t go to plan doesn’t mean they won’t work out one way or another, but sometimes you have to live it to know it… My daughter is in a similar situation to the one you found yourself in, except she isn’t sure what path to take next. But I know things will work out in the end… I love your quotes, particularly #7, I should have that on the wall!

    Thank you for linking up with #keepingitreal.


    • Hello Debbie,

      I hope that your daughter figures out soon which path to take. Sometimes the most difficult task is managing our own worries. I agree with you that eventually, things work out. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.

      I’m happy to join your linky party. I’ll be back!


  • Wow. Powerful stories and awesome quotes that really could help children and adults alike I think. Thanks for sharing. I liked 2, 3 and 6 in particular along with the Luther King one. #BlogCrush

  • Hello BoundforSomewhere

    I love some of these quotes, I shall remember these when I am making quote images up for my Instagram account <3

    • Hello,

      Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed these quotes. It’s wonderful for me to have discovered your blog too! Thank you for keeping these in my for your Instagram.


  • I do love that Jodi Piccoult quote I think I may need to print it out and hang it up somewhere!!#blogcrush

  • #2 and #3 are my favorites! Not getting what we want can also be a blessing in disguise if you look back at all of the things that have happened as an direct and indirect result of not getting what you originally wanted. You did well to go with the plan B immediately and that is what maturity is all about 🙂

    • Hello Sarah,

      I am a firm believer in things happens for a reason but of course, it’s always hard to go through life’s disappointments. Having perspective helps us manage these disappointments. Thank you for visiting again my blog!


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