It would require a lot of space to write down all the profound ideas and lessons that Mitch Albom quotes from his old University Professor, Morrie Schwartz in his book “Tuesdays with Morrie.” There’s been countless plays and even a full-length movie made of it.
The book in short is about Morrie Schwartz, who is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease (a slow, paralyzing disease leading eventually to death), and his former student, Mitch Albom who interviews Morrie on several important life topics like love, careers, death, happiness and so on.
Years after the book’s release, Mitch Albom did a speech (quoted below) discussing how we have mixed up our priorities in our ever-busy lifestyles. In my opinion his words speak the key to true happiness and contentment in life, which seems like a bold statement, but it’s a simple concept and well, happiness and simplicity go hand in hand.Here’s my favorite part of the speech:
“If you spend all day working; if you spend all day counting the zeroes at the end of your paycheck; if you spend all day carefully building a stock portfolio or in front of the makeup mirror or at the gym trying to sculpt that perfect body….if you spend all day on YOU and YOU and YOU, then when you’re dead you better plan on being really dead.
Because that money you worked so hard to make- people are just going to fight over it, that perfect sculpted body is just going to dissolve into the ground, your huge list of accomplishments will pale in comparison to somebody else’s. But the one thing that you possess that is unique from everyone else’s: your voice. You didn’t spend any time giving it away!
You were too busy. Like I was too busy in that car, on that cell phone..
So if you really want to cheat death, if you really want to put your chips on immortality, it isn’t by building a huge bank account, it isn’t by putting your name on a building somewhere, it’s in every little moment that you share of yourself with somebody else.
You know every time when you’re on the phone with your sister or mom and they’re talking and talking, chewing your ear off, and then they finally say goodbye and you hang up the phone and think, “Ugh, what I could have done with that time, I could’ve been doing something.” You ARE doing something. You’re giving of yourself to other people. You’re ensuring your own immorality.
Why am I talking to you today? I’m not in the insurance business, nor am I going to increase the sales of your company. None of you knew Morrie- he’s not going to increase your sales. But he touched me, and I wrote a book that touched somebody else, that got passed on to somebody else and now suddenly there’s a room full of people listening to the wisdom of an old professor who was never on the Forbes 500 list, never made six-figures, never achieved international fame.
So if you ever want to put together that policy on a good life, a meaningful life, a full life: it’s going to be in every little moment that you share your heart with somebody else.”
Watch the talk in his Youtube video. The speech starts around the 2 minute mark.