A year ago, when my best friend recommended me the book Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, I went to Barnes and Noble and spent half a day in there, reading almost the entire book. That day, for however reason I did not buy the book. It was only a week ago that I went back to the same bookstore, purchased the book and reread it in a sitting.
The book is an essential guide on how to be a kind, honest and respectful human being. From relationships to money to death, to love and culture, Tuesdays with Morrie is a book that anyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. - Henry Adams
Without any other introductions, here are some life lessons from a teacher who had influenced the lives of people across the world with his final thoughts about life, love, and death.
Morrie’s thoughts about the world
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.
The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in.
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.
Morrie’s thoughts about death
Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.
Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.
We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.Morrie’s thoughts about family
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”.
Whenever people ask me about having children not having children, I never tell them what to do. 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.
Morrie’s thoughts about the fear of aging.
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.
Morrie’s thoughts about money
Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.
Mitch, if you are 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.
Morrie’s thoughts about marriage
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. [...] Your belief is the importance of your marriage. I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a hell of a lot if you don’t try it.
Morrie’s thoughts about culture
People are only mean when they’re threatened, and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened because they worry about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.
Here’s what I mean by building your own little subculture. I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don’t go around naked, for example. I don’t run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things - how we think, what we value - those you must choose for yourself. You can’t let anyone - or any society - determine those for you.
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.
The problem, Mitch, is that we don’t believe we are as much alike as we are. Whites and blacks, Catholics, and Protestants, men and women. If we saw each other as more alike, we might be very eager to join in one big human family in this world, and to care about that family the way we care about our own. We all have the same beginning - birth - and we all have the same end - death. So how different can we be?