Critical Lessons That They Fail to Teach You in School

Most people learn life’s most valuable lessons too late in life. Here are 31 lessons that they fail to teach you in school.

  1. Never lower your standards. Never! People can’t make you do things without your permission. One of the true tests of integrity is your refusal to compromise your honor at any price.
  2. Material possessions wear out. Memories are forever. Money should never be the cornerstone of your life, nor should it define you as a person. Moments, rather than possessions, are the true treasures of life.
  3. If you appreciate what you have, you’ll never want for more. Find your happiness, not by seeking more, but by appreciating what you already have. When you take things for granted, you diminish their importance and may even jeopardize their very existence.
  4. Cheaper isn’t always less expensive. Shop for value, not price. People who are frugal understand the value of a dollar and make informed and thoughtful decisions. People who are cheap try to spend as little money as possible.
  5. Expectations are everything. When you believe something’s possible, it becomes possible. Your expectations don’t just influence your destiny, they determine it.
  6. Hard work is good for your soul. Hard work isn’t a punishment; it’s a gift. It builds character, provides a sense of purpose, and promotes confidence and self-esteem. The converse is also true. When people are rewarded without making the effort, it reduces confidence, promotes dependency, and robs individuals of their personal dignity.
  7. Success is a journey, not a destination. It takes many years to become an overnight success. The real reward of success isn’t the wealth, power, and status that comes with a triumph; it’s the feeling of accomplishment that you receive from setting an ambitious goal, overcoming a difficult challenge, and fighting the good fight until success is won.
  8. Success is a game of inches. Little victories produce big wins. Most people believe that the best way to win BIG is to swing for the fence — and hit a home run. Rather than going for “all or nothing,” the key to success is continuous improvement.
  9. Winning doesn’t have to be at someone’s expense. Never win at the expense of a relationship. Instead of focusing on what you want, identify opportunities where you can mutually benefit. In other words, think win-win rather than winner-take-all.
  10. Achieving success is the easy part. Success is not guaranteed, it’s temporary. If you disregard the things that contribute to your success, you’ll learn how fragile success really is.
  11. Rewarding people for showing up is a high price to pay. People stop trying when there’s no benefit for being exceptional and no consequence for being mediocre. If you want excellence, you must recognize and reward it.
  12. Be the first to give. Give for the right reason — and that is, give for no reason at all. While takers may accumulate a lot of things in life, they’ll never experience the joy of being a giver.
  13. Give without strings attached. Give of yourself, not because you expect something in return, but because witnessing others’ happiness is, by itself, a worthy reward. When you give of yourself and expect something in return, it’s a transaction, not a kind gesture.
  14. Moral character is the DNA of success and happiness. Virtue isn’t something that happens to you. You choose to make it happen — or not. Goodness is a bright flame within you. Use it to light up the world.
  15. Lead by example. Words express what’s on your mind, but your actions say what’s in your heart. You can lecture people until you’re blue in the face, but the best way to teach someone is to show, not tell.
  16. Virtue isn’t demanding more of others; it’s expecting more of yourself. Some of the most precious things you possess are your honor, your dignity, and your reputation. Be the person others look up to — whose character is beyond reproach. Be the one who inspires others to achieve excellence. And be the one who lives with honor and dignity. At the end of the day, if you’re not proud of who you are and the way you choose to live your life, little else matters.