LIFE’S GREATEST LESSONS
Why should you read this summary?
In this book, you will find life’s greatest lessons that would make your life meaningful while reaching success. By reading this, you will discover how to add more color to your life, leading to a more fulfilled way of living.
Who should read this summary?
– People from all walks of life
– Anyone looking for inspiration
– Anyone who wants to make their life more meaningful
– Anyone with Personal Development goals
About the Author
Hal Urban is an author and a motivational speaker who talks mainly about positive character traits and improving one’s quality of life. He is also an award-winning teacher at the University of San Francisco. His book, “Life’s Greatest lessons,” was awarded by Reader’s Digest as the Inspirational Book of the Year. Throughout the years, Hal Urban has already inspired a lot of people through his words.
LIFE’S GREATEST LESSONS
Many people say that experience is our best teacher. Whether we fail or succeed in doing something, in the end, we gain lessons from it. Life lessons can lead you to improve and become a better person in the future. Experience teaches us how to understand things from different perspectives of life. In learning from the most meaningful life lessons, it is important to know that you are not too young or too old to learn. Even a kid or an adult can discover the greatest life lessons, and it’s not yet too late for them to find out. In this book, you will find out the greatest lessons about life. From those lessons and stories, you will be able to see the good in people and in life that you may have overlooked. More than that, you will also see the greater potential within you. Through reading this book, you will discover the inner resources you possess to become the best person you can be.
Success is More Than Making Money
There are many common standards in the term success. But being successful in life is not determined by a person’s possessions and money. It is also not determined by fame or age. Instead, being successful is about discovering what brings out the best in each individual. Often, money is viewed with misconception by people because they perceive it as either good or bad. However, being rich and happy with money is not evil, but the greediness that goes along with it is the reason for its misperception. Because of society’s view that wealth equates to success, many are trying to become instant millionaires through different opportunities. Still, the truth is that money is not the main determining factor towards being successful.
In the 1980s, stories of people who become millionaires and billionaires had been spread and broadcasted through different platforms. One of those stories is about Ivan Boesky, one of the financial masters of that period. Back then, Ian used to tell people that money is equal to success. But months before that, he was sent to prison. Aside from him, lots of companies in the corporate world are also blinded by money. Enron, the leading company by that time, was ruined because of how it reached the top. In the end, all those people and companies who are greedy and chasing money ended up losing their jobs, investors, employees, and even their insurance. Because most people believe that money is everything it takes to succeed, most are risking their health, relationships, and time to join the race. The greediness for money often negatively affects their lifestyle.
According to Tom Peters Group’s interview with thousands of business executives, almost half of them still feel empty, and sixty-eight percent answered that they prioritized their jobs over their families. The people’s greed for money will make them lose themselves, their happiness, and things they deem necessary. Being wealthy is not the main factor and limit to success. In knowing what it means to be successful, you must first remember that you do not always have to be on top. Often, all you need is to give your best at everything you do. Instead of looking for money and being greedy, you should have to look deep within yourself first. In doing so, you will see your hidden capabilities and resources that would help you succeed. More than that, you will also find out the true happiness that money cannot give.
Life is Hard… And Not Always Fair
Life is a series of experiences, where one will undergo different feelings such as happiness and pain. But, of course, most of us would choose the idealistic way of living where pain and suffering are not present. However, we should realize that the reality is that life is hard. Along our life journey, we will be faced with challenges that would put us to the test. Surely, we can complain about the unfairness and struggles that we might experience, but having the courage to overcome and face those problems is a choice we can make. Hal Urban, the author of this book, once had a freshman student that he happened to teach before. As a teacher in the World Studies classes, Hal gave his students some challenging assignments to make them think and work. Not long after he gave it, the student complained about how hard the homework was. Hal then simply told him that life is really difficult, and that is just how it is.
After some time, Hal was able to meet that student again. During their encounter, the student said that he was grateful for what Hal has taught him. By understanding that life is hard, the student could go through his problems and become a stronger version of himself. When we begin to accept that life is hard, it will be easier for us to overcome those challenges and embrace growth. Additionally, we will also begin to see every struggle as an opportunity for us to stand again and be a greater version of ourselves. Aside from accepting that life is tough, we should also note that life is not always fair. Good things will not always happen to us as well as to other people. Sometimes, it happens when we least expect it. But despite the unfairness that we are experiencing daily, one thing is for sure — we are not alone in living the harsh reality of life. Although life is hard and unfair at times, it doesn’t mean that it is not worth living and rewarding. At the end of the day, it is up to us how we will live life to the fullest despite the circumstances.
We Live By Choice, Not By Chance
Every person born in this world was given free will to choose what to do with their lives. While some may argue that we did not choose to live, still, the power over how we decide to live after being born lies with us. In every situation and event, we are given the freedom to choose our responses to overcome the challenges and struggles that may arise. In life, many people do not realize that the greatest power we possess is the freedom to choose. From the moment we wake up, we are making countless choices. These choices we make every day shape our lives, even though we often don’t notice them.
In one of Hal’s classes during his college years, when he used to attend a Philosophy class in a Jesuit school, they were always challenged to think about our daily existence in the world. Usually, they were also tasked to do paperwork about the meaning of life and God. Aside from those, some debates also frequently happen in their class. One day, Hal and his classmates were asked to debate the existence of God. One student from their class asked their teacher if there is God, why is he letting people suffer from circumstances and pain? Why is he not letting all people living in this world experience pure happiness instead of despair and sadness? After that question, the teacher that if God will remove all the pain and struggles that we experience daily, we would be nothing but robots. If there will be no suffering and challenges, we would never know the real feeling of happiness and success.
This is the reason why God created the people this way. He wants us to find our purpose despite the challenges that we may encounter. Moreover, he also wanted to know how we will use the freedom he gave to us — the power to choose how we will live life to the fullest despite the presence of despair. In life, we encounter lots of people complaining about bad luck, bad people, or bad circumstances that happened to them. Often, they do not realize that they are blaming what they cannot control anymore. Instead of focusing on those things, we should learn to look at ourselves. In the end, it is only we who have the power to choose how to respond to every situation and event that is happening to us. By using our freedom to choose, we can determine our life’s path. The freedom to choose our character, values, beliefs, attitude, and purpose can greatly affect our way of living. In exercising our choices and doing what is right, we mold ourselves into independent and good products of our free will.
Attitude Is a Choice—The Most Important One You’ll Ever Make
Every one of us encounters different challenges in life, and there’s the attitude to tell us that we may not avoid the problems we have, but we can overcome it with the guidance of attitude. The attitude we possess had led us to where we are right now. Thus, having a good attitude leads to good results, and a bad attitude usually brings a bad outcome. Attitude always has its role in people’s lives. It takes control of how we think, feels, and act in certain situations and it affects us in everything. Every person has a good or bad attitude since it can be learned through experiences and developed as time passes. It can be a friend or enemy to us, it may also benefit or destroy you as a person. It just depends on the person whether he’ll choose the right attitude to control his/her life.
Dr. Viktor Frankl is a Jew who became a victim of the Hitler regime during World War II. He struggled in a prison camp and experienced different forms of human torture. Aside from that, he even lost his family, home, and job during that time. While staying in the concentration camp, Viktor Frankl witnessed how several of his friends got killed, how some of them ended their own lives, and others lost their will to live because of the circumstance they were facing. What concerned Frankl the most was the idea that his fellow prisoners let themselves be discouraged by the situation rather than overcome it by showing a positive attitude of not giving up. Viktor Frankl realized that there was one thing nobody, even the Nazis, can take it away from him. It is his freedom to choose his attitude. The Nazis cannot dictate him not to have a good attitude during those trying times. Only Frankl himself has the power to choose what attitude he must have to get over the problem. It’s his choice, and he knows that it will save him.
A positive attitude leads to a positive result. Aside from conquering one of the most tragic events in his life, Dr. Frankl became a well-respected psychiatrist. He helped people be aware of choosing the right attitude in certain circumstances. Dr. Frankl also helped individuals to realize that in every difficult situation they might encounter, there are still choices in life aside from giving up.Dr. Frankl did not let a negative attitude control him, especially when he faced a difficult situation in his life. His good attitude helped him to survive, and he even used it to motivate others. It depends on us if we will be like Dr. Frankl or be like his fellow prisoners who lost their will to live and decided to kill themselves because they let negativity blind them.
Habits Are the Key to All Success
The behaviors we repeatedly do are already part of our daily lives. We call them habits. People both develop good and bad habits, but they have forgotten to focus on the habits that can benefit their growth as a person. As soon as earlier, we must be aware and identify the habits we develop, especially the bad ones, because it’s difficult to replace our old routines. Habits can be changed regardless of how long it was practiced or the age of the person. It can only be possible if the individual is motivated and has the desire to change it. Of course, it is not that easy to make adjustments, especially for those addicting habits. It usually takes time and patience, and we have to undergo the step-by-step process.
A middle-aged man developed this habit of swearing. Since it became his habit and he felt comfortable about this for more than 30 years, he never knew that swearing had a bad effect on him and those people surrounding him. During that time, the man perceived that using offensive language is not a big deal, and he always thought that those are just words—since it’s already part of his life. One day, a concerned friend approached the man about his habit of swearing. That friend made him realize that his habit somehow defines who he was as a person. Also, the man was asked if it didn’t bother him that the kind of words he was using can offend other people. The friend reminded him that he could communicate well if he uses accurate and effective words rather than displeasing ones.
After the incident, the man realized the message that his concerned friend wanted to convey. He saw something that needed a change. He didn’t notice that the language he was using for a long time was offensive and unfavorable to others. Also, the impact of what his friend told changed him. We sometimes get blinded to the things we find comfortable. It’s indeed difficult to change the behaviors we once thought were right and good for ourselves, like what the man encountered in his life. But once we realized what our bad habits are, we must suddenly develop a strong desire to change those. After all, it is only we who have the power to choose and control our habits.
Successful People Don’t Find Time, They Make Time
Each of us is given the same amount of time every day. However, not all people can effectively use their time. While some are making the most out of it, others waste every minute of their lives to spend it on meaningless things. In reaching success, it is important to know that what separates successful people from those who are not is how they view and manage their time well. People who reached success have a deep understanding of how valuable time is. It means that they know how to balance everything and distribute their time to do what they perceive as important. Frequently, it is what we do with our time that defines our lives.
Several years ago, there have been articles released in the San Francisco Chronicle about people who always feel that they are running out of time. In the article, the author said that almost eighty percent of the people in America feel that time is moving so fast that it is difficult for them to finish all their tasks on hand. Months after the first article was released, another article was published. It is about the people who re-examined their way of spending their time. Upon looking closely, the people realized that they were using their time on the wrong things. By simplifying their lives and choosing their priorities well, they could have more time to enjoy and relax than they had before. With that, their quality of life has greatly improved.
Like the people shown in the articles, most of us also think that we always lack time. When in fact, we just don’t know how to manage our time effectively and prioritize the things that we need to do. This is mainly because we want everything to be done, even those with no real value to us. In mastering our time and life, some important keys to apply are: planning our day, making appointments with ourselves, dividing the tasks into smaller ones, and knowing our most productive time. If only we master these techniques, we would surely be more productive and efficient individuals. Remember, if we want to be successful, we should learn how to make time instead of finding the time.
It’s Okay To Fail, Everyone Else Has
All people who became successful in life experienced failures and defeats. By turning their failures into learning, they were able to reach success. Failing is an inevitable part of life. Whether we like it or not, we will come to a point when we will get frustrated about ourselves and our progress. In our journey, we will certainly encounter countless failures that would demotivate us towards moving forward in life. However, it is not about the number of failures but about how we manage to stand and learn from those failures that will lead us to victory. Thomas Edison was the famous inventor of the light bulb. When he was just working on his invention, he looked for several ways to keep the bulb from glowing. When he was asked how he successfully made it, Edison said that it took him over ten thousand failures before finding the right way. He also said that in every attempt, he feels like he is going closer to completing his invention.
No matter how smart Thomas Edison is, still, he went through a lot of failures before reaching success. What makes him different from others is that he was always thrilled by his failures and he has an optimistic way of learning from those. Failures, no matter how big they are, serve as a teacher that teaches us life lessons. As individuals, we must not be afraid of failure, for it is an inevitable part of life. In failing, we discover better directions that we ought to take. It also makes us realize that we cannot always have what we want. Most of the time, failures will lead us to find the better plans that we are supposed to take. By failing, our strength and capacity to rise despite the circumstances are being put to the test. It challenges us to be more resourceful and to go beyond our limitations. More than that, failure also makes us see how we can survive defeat. If each of us would just accept that failure is part of the process of reaching success, it would be easier for us all to embrace failures and learn from those. In doing so, we will grow as a person and develop our capacity to overcome the challenges that life may throw us.
In this book, you have discovered some of Life’s Greatest Lessons that you could bring as you go through your journey of living a more meaningful life. In applying what you have learned, you will surely be ready to live life to the fullest. Through the lessons you have read, you have discovered that there is a greater potential within you. By using your inner resources, you can now unlock that “greater potential” that has long been waiting to be unlocked. Regardless of your age and current status in life, it is still not too late to improve and develop your capacity to take control of your life.
Choose the best habits and attitudes that could lead you to become the best version of yourself. Remember, success does not lie in money, fame, and status but in using our power to do what we can do best every day. Now that you have finished reading this book, have you decided on what choice you would pick to make the most out of your life? What are the greatest life lessons that would be beneficial in continuing your exploration through life? The choice, the power, and the responsibility to do what is best in your life just lie within you. It is up to you what choices you would make to become the successful person you wish to be.