post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Timeless Lessons from a Life Well Lived


10 Timeless Lessons from a Life Well Lived

About a year ago we published an article entitled, 18 Things My Dad Was Right About.  The article contained a list of life lessons my dad had shared with me when I was a kid.  Today, as promised, my dad emailed me an addendum to his original list.  It contains ten additional life lessons from the smartest 69-year-old I know.  Enjoy.

  1. Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the sacred experience of living every moment with love and gratitude.  There is always, always, always something to be thankful for and some reason to love.  So be sure to appreciate what you’ve got.  Be thankful for the little things in life that mean a lot.
  2. Be a student of life every day.  Experience it, learn from it, and absorb all the knowledge you can.  Prepare yourself for greatness by keeping your mind conditioned with fresh knowledge and new challenges.  Remember, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready when great opportunities arise.  Read The Last Lecture.
  3. Experience is the best teacher.  Don’t try too hard to memorize the things others are teaching.  Learn the best practices and then do your thing.  Life itself will teach you over the course of time, and often at the right time and place, so that you will remember forever what is truly important.
  4. Your choices, your actions, your life.  Live it your way with no regrets.  Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.  Continue to work hard at what you love no matter what the challenges are.  Be persistent.  Life eventually rewards those who do.
  5. No one is ‘too busy’ in this world.  It’s all about priorities.  What you focus on grows.  Don’t say you don’t have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, etc…  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  6. Be patient and tough.  Someday this pain will be useful to you.  You will never realize your true strength until being strong is your only option left.  Until you are broken, you won’t know what you’re truly made of.  Pain doesn’t just show up in your life for no reason.  It’s a sign that something needs to change – it’s a wake-up call that guides you toward a better future.  So keep your heart open to dreams, and make that change.  For as long as there is a dream and positive action, there is hope; and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.
  7. Oftentimes it is better to be kind than to be right.  We do not always need an intelligent mind that speaks, just a patient heart that listens.  Be kind whenever possible.  And realize that it is always possible.  It takes a great deal of strength to be gentle and kind.  And when you practice kindness and bring sunshine to the lives of others, you cannot keep it from yourself.
  8. You can become a magnet for good things by wishing everyone well.  Judge less and love more.  If you want inner peace, resist the temptation to gossip about others, or portray them in a poor light.  Instead of judging someone for what they do or where they are in their life, figure out why they do what they do and how they got to where they are.
  9. Only you are in charge of your attitude.  The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.  You are responsible for how you feel, no matter what anyone else says or does.  You are always 100% in control of your thoughts right now, so choose to feel confident and adequate rather than angry and insecure.  Choose to look forward, not backward.  Read Awaken the Giant Within.
  10. Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want.  It is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.  It’s not that everything will be easy or exactly as you had expected, but you must choose to be grateful for all that you have, and happy that you got a chance to live this life, no matter how it turns out.

Photo by: Hartwig HKD

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43 Comments

  • Everywhere I turn I am finding life’s messages. It makes me cry because I’m struggling with something and it’s so tough. I don’t want it to be what it’s looking like it is… a change that has to be and it’s too hard and I’m scared and I don’t want it to be so… but no matter how I try to make it okay, it’s just not okay. It’s very painful. Your post was just another message from life for me tonight. I love reading your posts. It helps me sort and keeps things real. Thank you!

  • I love, love, love every post you publish on this site! I share your quotes and articles daily on Facebook and Twitter. Keep the goodness coming.

  • Wow. I love reading every word of it, specially #7: it’s better to be kind then to be right. I love this line. And I love your writings. Thanks.

  • WOW! THANK YOU! I’ve always been a strong person, however at this particular moment, my Strength & Faith are being pushed to the limit! Your post is fitting. Thanks for the reminder, & positivity along the way! Have a good week!

  • edgar i. santos
    July 9th, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Every day I read your site I learn so many lessons that I’m trying my very best to apply in facing life’s problems and struggles. I dont miss any one of your blogs. They are all worth reading and sharing with friends. thank you so much….

  • so inspiring!

  • Thank you for sharing this Marc!

  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. The kindness your family and you resonate and exponentially grow with every post. The hardships we all endure really to help us grow. I needed these words. Thank you again. Namaste ♥

  • Dear Cindy

    I can understand your pain and reach out my prayers for you. Trust, life will turn-out how it is designed for you and sometimes these pain in life are the necessary changes to get you where you are meant to be. It will be nice, trust in yourself!

    Also remember the power of choice, either be disappointed or be brave it is you who will decide.

    All the best

    Jay

  • I am so grateful I found your site! It helps me every day. Sometimes I print out what really moves me and speaks to me, and I carry it with me and re-read it throughout the day.
    Thank you again!

  • Love No 4 and no 5. Stated in other words, our life is nothing but a series of choices based on conscious or sub-conscious decisions. Whether we agree or not, we all have choices, and act as per them. We just have to be aware of it and prioritize important things in our life.
    Thanks for the wonderful list.

  • I’m facing a lot challenges right now, but I can surpass this. I agree that life is about attitude and these obstacles will mold us to become better people.

  • I needed this today. My husband of 25 years unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on June 14th. I am trying to sort things out and move forward. We have 4 grown children between 19 and 24. Your words here have helped me a little bit.

  • I LOVE this article so much. thanks for inspiring :)

  • Great, GREAT blog. I love this list - #5 is a perfect reminder for me today. Thank you!

  • I also maintain that possessions can keep you separated from true happiness. Good advice in this post.

  • Only one word… INSPIRING!

  • What a perfect message! Right now I can’t find the words to express my thoughts or feelings. It’s all so inspiring! Please just promise to never quit sharing your words of wisdom with all of us. Bless you both!!!

  • I love this blog. I often come back to these posts to get my mind back where I need it to be. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

  • Love, love, love these posts. Keep them coming. I am a true believer in having CHOICES and living your life true to yourself. Having gone through great pain myself over 2011 to-date (divorce) I am feeling stronger now and much happier than I’ve been in the past 10 years. Choices and change can be intimidating but also liberating.

    You have a wonderful website. I love what you are doing.

  • Thank you. Like so many others who have written, your words are truly inspiring and what I needed to hear today to remind me of how to be my happiest. Also, Wendy M., I pray for you and your family to find peace and know that things will be alright. Trust in God with all your heart.

  • I’m grateful you all decided to share this with us. It goes so well with everything else you write and share.

  • You guys did it again.
    I get your post every couple of days.

    Some days are great…

    When I read this post today, it was just the lift I needed.

    Thank you again.

  • What a great list of lessons! It is sad that some people find it hard to learn such lessons.

  • Good advice in this post. Much appreciated.

  • It’s so great read all of these lessons. I’m a 22 y.o Brazilian boy and I absorb these lessons into my life whenever I can. It’s very helpful for me, especially in the context of how I broke my 5 year relationship with my ex-girlfriend! Thank you very much!!!

  • I love reading your posts. They increase my self-confidence to face the hardships of life. I often shared your quotes with my friends on facebook. Thank you, thank you.

  • Karthikeyaraman
    July 9th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Superb… no other words to say.

  • Thanks all. Glad you enjoyed this one. My dad is thrilled with all the positive comments. :)

  • This is just the dose of inspiration needed everyday to feel full inside, and which shows outside if we choose to follow it.

  • Inspiring post. As usual.

  • I agree with every point made here. And the previous ‘18 things’ article, linked at the top, is insightful as well. Best regards.

  • SO THOUGHT PROVOKING AND INSPIRING! Keep doing what you’re doing with this site!

  • God bless you people !

  • Thank you so much! These blogs are beautiful and really helpful for your day (and life) like the sun shining in a gorgeous blue sky.
    Just like we need food to nourish our body, I feel like these insights and lessons are vital for our mind. I am really glad and thankful to have found this blog and to all the people who contibute to it. <3 I’m printing this off and sticking it in an important place.

    These are some of my favourites: =)
    - Pain doesn’t just show up in your life for no reason. It’s a sign that something needs to change – it’s a wake-up call that guides you toward a better future.
    -Your choices, your actions, your life. I just recently realised this haha, that the simple choices you’re making in the present… will determine your entire life.
    -No one is ‘too busy’ in this world. It’s all about priorities.
    - It takes a great deal of strength to be gentle and kind. I think often we feel justified in being harsh and hurtful when someone does something to hurt us, but we’ve got to think about what will help the person improve and what will bring peace into our lives.
    - The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that that situation is over, you cannot move forward.
    - You are always 100% in control of your thoughts right now, so choose to feel confident and adequate rather than angry and insecure.

    Just wanted to share those highlights, thanks once again!! =D

  • I can’t begin to tell you how much reading your posts mean to me, it’s as though you are talking to me. The experiences I’ve gone through over the past eight months have brought me to what people call ‘The Valley’. I didn’t know if I had the strength to make it, but I did and produc of where I am now. I’ve been on my search for employment for months and it has taken a toll on me. When I read your posts they always seem to come in at the exact time and help pull me out of how I’m feeling. Words cannot say how thankful and grateful I am to have found your site.

  • You guys are awesome. Reading your blogs have helped me cope with procrastinations that I have going on within my self. Thank you for doing what you do. We need mores marc and angels

  • I just wanted to thank you guys for putting out such a great blog. The “list” concept is such a great way to keep people hooked and willing to reading a good chunk of content.

  • Thank you, very very much for all of your positive posts…
    I’m getting a little strength out of each one of them.

  • This was truly profound advice.

  • Great blog to read when I need some inspiration.

  • Great post. Glad to find your blog through the Health and Happiness group on Linked In.

  • I think all the points that you have given are great. there is just one thing. I am usually unsure about doing certain things. and i regret on not doing them when the time has passed. So I would like to add to it that everyone should think about how they’ll feel if they just do what they want and be satisfied rather than feel sad because the time has passed.

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