For the 20th Anniversary of the release of “Tuesdays with Morrie”, Mitch Albom and Oprah sat down for a conversation to discuss the whys behind Tuesdays with Morrie and the reason why the inspiring, universal and profound, life-changing lessons still resonate today.
Three Things Universal To Everyone
- Everyone, at some point, has had a teacher in their life who has made a difference. Who is that teacher for you?
- Everyone has felt a little lost in their life.
- Everyone is going to leave this earth.
Are You Living Life on Purpose?
- What comes first in your life? Is it work? Family? Friends? Do you have an “everything else can wait” mentality?
- Are you living life on purpose or have you become complacent?
- Morrie never asked Mitch about his accomplishments, what are you doing, what are you earning, etc. He asked meaningful questions:
- Are you happy?
- Have you found somebody to share your life with?
Focusing on the Blessings of Life
- Morrie never complained. He focused on his blessings.
- Morrie was more content and at peace in his life facing death than Mitch ever was. Mitch wanted to know what it was that Morrie knew that he didn’t. This inquiry is what set him on the quest for discovery.
- Most of us do not feel the sense of urgency that we are going to die. We don’t feel or face it. When that day comes are you prepared to say okay, I’m ready ’cause I have lived my life the way I wanted to live it. Ultimately, the majority of us would say, “Not yet, give me more time”.
- Every single day of your life that you are given is the blessing of “more time”.
The Lessons of Life
- Teach from the soul.
- Forgive everybody, everything. You don’t forgive the other person but you forgive to free yourself. Otherwise, anger is a dual edge sword. In the end, you won’t care who was right or wrong.
- Time is Short. Recognizing that time is short and it might be the last conversation you have with someone.
- Listening and Hearing is key. Tuesdays with Morrie made Mitch stop and really listen to people and hear more than all the meaningless conversations he had been having.
- Don’t Buy Into the Culture. If the culture tells you, you have to be rich, thin, buy a certain kind of car, work a certain way, have a million dollars by the time you are 25, there is something the matter. It takes an incredible amount of strength to disconnect from that and say I am not going to follow those values. (e.g., Morrie chose not to watch a lot of television; instead, he had discussion groups in his home.) 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.
- In what ways have you thoughtfully and intentionally gone against the culture?
Are You A Sleepwalker in Life?
- Morrie said the reason why people are so unhappy is that they are walking through their lives like they are sleepwalking. They are following orders about what they should do with their lives based on the culture around them. They weren’t finding meaning in their lives through giving to other people, being involved in their community, finding something creative, an outlet for themselves. They were busy trying to be somebody else’s version of what they thought they should be.
- Are you sleepwalking in your life?
- Certain crisis and challenges show up in your life as an opportunity to wake up. A setback, a disease, a heart attack, a firing, a loss can end up being a great gain.
- The divisiveness we are now experiencing in our culture is a wakeup call to our society, an opportunity to step into the best of their being and show up.
The Value of Family
- Morrie talked about the value of family and how without family and a connection to family, we are like birds with broken wings.
- There will be no experience in your life like having children and loving something bigger than yourself.
- Morrie never knew his impact but it speaks to the power of a soul – the power of one soul. One soul touches one, touches one and then goes on. The ripples in the pond that go on and on.
- Tuesdays with Morrie made Mitch stop and listen to people and actually hear more than the meaningless conversations. Everyone has a story, a suffering, a heartache. Once you become sensitized to that, you can no longer continue to close your eyes to other people’s stories.
- Not a finished product, always a work in progress.
What Do You Do For Your Community
- What do you do for your community? Write checks? Anyone can write a check.
- Learn to use the voice that has been given to you. Use it for good instead of just aggrandizing yourself.
- Ask yourself, can you do more?
The Blessing of Age
- Aging is not a decay, it is a blessing.
- We live in a culture that worships youth.
- “Age isn’t a competition”, Morrie said – “Inside of me is every age I’ve ever been. 10 years old, 20 years old, 50-, 60-, 70-year old man. Why should I be envious of where you are in your youth. I’ve already been where you are.”
- If you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward.
What Really Matters?
- Speak Up. If someone matters to you, pick up the phone and call them.
- Slow down. It is always going to feel like you are behind. There is always going to be someone who is doing better and someone who is doing worse.
- You are better off turning to lift a hand to those who need a lift rather than always keeping your eye on those who appear to be ahead and wondering how to get to where they are.
- Surround yourself with people who make you feel like a better version of yourself. The most generous gift anyone can give to you is to make you feel like a better version of yourself.
- Remain a student of life. Being given the gift of not knowing everything and learning something new at every turn and stage of life. The great teachers in our lives do this for us.
- With age, you miss having older, wiser people who you can turn to.
- What is one of the most impactful thing a teacher or mentor has taught you?
The Most Meaningful and Impactful Lesson
- Ask others about their life instead of telling them about yours?
- Morrie’s most meaningful and impactful lesson that Mitch never forgot: “Why would I ever take from people. Taking makes me feel like I am dying. Giving makes me feel like I am living.”
- Mitch’s personal mission is to give back.
- What is your personal mission in life?
The Lesson of Money
- Money nor power is not a substitute for tenderness.
- When you most need it, money or power will not give you the feeling you are looking for, no matter how much you have of them.
- Money will not comfort you on your deathbed. It does not make a width of difference. When you get to the last drop of sand through the hourglass, everything you own is of no comfort to you.
- The only thing that makes you feel worthwhile or comforted when you are dying are “people” – the people you love and their tenderness. You will never get that from a thing or a dollar bill.
The Last Lesson
- Morrie’s last favor he asked of Mitch: After I die, come visit me at my grave and not the way everyone else does it. Don’t leave the car running and get out to leave the flowers. Come when you have time and sit and talk with me. You talk, I’ll listen.
- The Lesson: Death ends a life but not a relationship.
- You have to invest in relationships while you are still here if you want that relationship to go on. You can’t have conversations with people who are gone. If you didn’t have conversations with them while they were here, you can’t just imagine up a conversation with someone who was working all the time but you can remember moments. Those times where you ate popcorn together, spent time together, put the Christmas tree up together, etc.
- The memories are what matter.
- Take time to create memories.
- All those little memories, all the times you took to give, will be remembered. Memories are what stay inside of you.
- What memories are inside of you?
The Best Teachers and Questions
- The best teachers and people always live in your heart.
- One voice, something done for the right reasons, can change the world.
- Help others for the right reasons. Do something for somebody else without any ulterior motive, without your own interest at heart.
- Offer grace. Live your life as if today is your last and ask yourself is this really how I want to leave this moment, this person, this day.
- Our job on this earth is to carry one another.
- We can all be better through love. Love each other or perish.
- What is the purpose of the soul? To share itself with others.
- What’s the real hunger of humanity right now? Meaning and a Sense of Purpose
- What is the one thing that people want to hear at the end of lives:
- You Mattered
- You Loved; and
- You are Loved
- What is the one question that everyone should ask themselves at least once a year: Does this matter? Instead of once a year, ask it – once a day, once an hour.
- The 5 People You Meet In Heaven – Who would you like to see again?
- What is the best advice you were ever given and actually followed?
There are so many lessons jam-packed in this conversation. You can take a listen here: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/mitch-albom_1#
Join us for Super Soul this Saturday, March 17th at 6 pm for a discussion on this talk. To RSVP and get details, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks All – hope to see you Saturday.