Life 101: Everything we wish we had learned in school – but didn’t

By Peter McWilliams; excerpts from the book follow:

P. vi  “At college age, you can tell who is best at taking tests and going to school, but you can’t tell who the best people are. That worries the hell out of me.”

Part I:  Introduction to Life

P. 6   “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”

P. 9   “What is the purpose of life? Life is for doing, learning and enjoying.”

P. 12   “Our doing allows for more learning.

P. 19   “The trick is to learn to enjoy the process of learning.”

P. 21   “Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well.”

P. 22   “If you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out.”

*P. 23   Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure – or nothing at all.”

P. 24   Kingman Brewster: “Universities should be safe havens where ruthless examination of realities will not be distorted by the aim to please or inhibited by the risk of displeasure.”

P. 25   “Life is experiential. In that sense, life is more of a workshop.”

P. 27  “Experience, it is said, is the best teacher – providing, of course, we become the best students.”

P. 29   “The best that life can do is present lessons to you. The learning is up to you.”

P. 39   J.K. Galbraith: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

“Learning is the assimilation and integration of new ideas, concepts and behaviors.”

P. 45   “I’m here to suggest that there is a ‘You’ to be discovered.  The discovery of that ‘You’ is entirely your own.”

Part II:  Advanced Tools for Eager Learners

*P. 83   Eric Fromm: “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is.”

P. 90   Harry Truman: “I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”

P. 105 “Use everything for your upliftment, learning and growth.  Everything…no matter what happens to you, no matter how unfair, inequitable, or wrong – there is something you can take from the situation.”

P. 107 “When we’re involved, we learn more…  The more we do, the more we learn.”

P. 108  Victor Frankl: “The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

P. 127 “Relax.  Accept what has already taken place – then look for the lesson.”

P. 133   “Ever notice how little effect your judgments (advice) have on others?”

P. 136   “What’s in the mountain is rock.  What we, as humans, project onto the mountain is majesty.

P. 137   “The mirror – an advanced tool for learning… Relationships can be among the most amazing mirrors around.”

P. 141   “When I say I ‘listen’, I also mean watch, sense, perceive and be aware of what’s going on inside.”

P. 147   “Accountability. We see that by changing our attitudes and actions, we can change what happens to us… we become accountable.”

P. 149   “Responsibility simply means the ability to respond… One ability to respond that we always have is how we react inside to what is going on outside.

P. 150   “You create, promote or allow all the good things that happen to you.”

P. 165   Record (do a journal) each day, in some way:

– The lessons you learn

– The good that you do

– The good that happens to you

– The insights you have

–Anything else that seems of importance or interest

P.174   “What we focus on we can achieve or become.”

P. 177   “A sanctuary is an inner retreat you build with visualization in your imagination… There are absolutely no limits to your sanctuaries.”

P. 182   Albert Einstein:  “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Part III:  Master Teachers in Disguise

P. 185   “Learn from mistakes, fears, guilt, resentment, death.”

P. 187   “If you’re struggling too much with the teacher (yourself), you might not learn the lesson.”

P. 188   From the book “First Break All the Rules”:  “Good behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity.”

P. 191  “Ask not ‘who’s to blame’.  Ask: ‘What’s to be learned here?’”

P. 194   “To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.”

P. 201  “Anger is a habit.  It is something we learned as a child.”

P. 207   “The only difference between ‘fear’ and ‘excitement’ is what we label it.”

P. 208/9   “Most of the time fear is a wonderful ally in our quest for growth, learning and expansion.”

P. 226   “I consider addiction one of the Master Teachers in disguise.”

P. 231  “Yes, disappointment is a Master Teacher.  Its message is, ‘get moving’.”

P. 245   “If we don’t consider death, we are not fully prepared to consider life.”

P. 252   Albert Ellis:  “When you’re dead, you’re friggin’ dead!”  (Don’t worry about it!)

P. 261   Malcolm Forbes (billionaire) tombstone:  “While alive, he lived”

Part IV:  Tools for Successful Doers

P. 267   “We can learn by doing – doing anything.

P. 269   “A purpose is something you discover.  It is a simple, positive statement of why you are here.”

P. 281   “That simple but profound question:  What do you want? You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.”

P. 284   “He who begins too much accomplishes little.”

P. 292   “The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them.”

*P. 316   “The greatest aim of education is not knowledge but action.”

P. 335   “Those who enjoy being on the train, and those who do not enjoy being on the train, get to the same destination at the same time.”

P. 337   Henry Ford:  “If you think you can do a thing, or you think you can’t do a thing:  you are right.”

P. 353   “In the end, people either have excuses or experiences.”

P. 354   “Almost all excuses… are motivated by fear…fear that we might be uncomfortable.”

Part V:  To Have Joy and to Have It Abundantly

P. 400   B.F. Skinner:  “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”

P. 420   Mark Twain:  “Let us be thankful for the fools.  But for them, the rest of us would not succeed.”

P. 427   “Everything you do you do because you choose to do it.”

P. 428   “Learn the art of patience… impatience breeds anxiety.”

P. 439   “Learn to improve your self esteem… increasing your self esteem is easy.  You simply do good things, and remember that you did them.  And feel good about yourself.”

P. 460   “If you feel you have both feet planted firmly on level ground, then the university has failed you.”