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Lessons from Students

by Professor Joe Martin

During my travels, I asked more than 500 students from across the country the question, “What are the three most important lessons that you’ve learned in life?” Below is a compilation of their responses (all duplicate/similar answers were either combined or eliminated):

Put God first in all you do.

Be yourself.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Love yourself enough to love others.

Measure your success by how many times you refuse to give up.

Be thankful and grateful for what God has given you.




Set long-term and short-term goals for your life.

A lie never don’t give birth to one.

If you can’t get excited about living, you might as well be dead.

Follow your heart.

Have faith in your life because you’re here for a purpose.

Everything happens for a reason, and everything will eventually work out.

Stand behind your convictions (keep your integrity).

The best thing you can leave behind is a good impression.

Choose your friends carefully.

Value education, not only classroom instruction, but life lessons as well.

Love the Lord with all your heart.

Speak up for yourself.

Build never know when you have to cross one.

Have faith when you’re in the valley of life.

Solve your own problems through the power of God.

Knowledge is power.

Never pray for something you can’t handle.

Respect your parents...your life will be a lot easier.

Always respect yourself.

Do for yourself.

Think before you run (to or from it).

Build a strong family.

To thy ownself be true.

Stay in prayer.

Be an example, not an excuse.

It’s much cheaper to borrow experience than to buy it (learn from other people’s mistakes).

I must admit, it was surprising, as well as refreshing, to see that students are actually paying attention to what we say and do. Contrary to popular opinion, our work is not in vain.

As the father, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciated each student’s participation in this exercise. These are definitely lessons I would like to pass on to my son. I’m sure you would agree that we could all enrich our lives tremendously if we just took action on only 25% of the lessons listed on this page.

I personally believe that the hardest lesson in life is our failure to master the easy ones. When we fail to master the easy ones [lessons], they soon become hard ones. Don’t you become a victim to the easy lessons. Make sure all of your mistakes are new ones.


Joe Martin is an award-winning national speaker, author, professor, and educational consultant. His mission is to help students, teachers, and administrators learn, lead, and live with purpose and passion. To find out more visit his web site at


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