Tom’s Life Lessons

There are a number of life lessons I’ve learned during the past five decades that I plan to share with the people I mentor but thought I would pass along to you as well. Take the good and throw out the ones that don’t fit your circumstances. These are listed in no particular order.

·         Always do the right thing no matter the cost

·         There’s no right way to do the wrong thing

·         Take responsibility for your actions; apologize when you are wrong

·         Respect everyone even if they haven’t earned it. Giving respect says more about you than them

·         Duty, Honor, and Loyalty matter

·         They say your word is your bond, but it is also your reputation. Don’t be known as someone people can’t trust

·         Keep your commitments no matter what and don’t make commitments you can’t keep

·         Respond to people immediately – don’t make people wait on you

·         Be an encourager – there are enough haters out there already

·         The only thing you can control is your attitude – don’t let others control it for you

·         If you’re on time you’re late. Get places early so you’re ready to go right on time!

·         If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Different outcomes require different actions

·         Boundaries with people are important

·         Don’t be a “Yes” man; speak your mind respectfully

·         Everyone has a story – don’t judge people or question their motives; you don’t know their story

·         Serve others and you’ll become a leader

·         Never lend money you cannot afford to give; don’t expect that people will pay you back

·         They say pride goes before the fall – humble yourself

·         Never say “Can’t” or you will start believing things are out of your reach and you will give up before you even try

·         There is always one more option – never quit!

·         Always give 100% of what you have that day

·         There is no whining or crying – embrace the suck and drive on

·         Don’t be a victim; Life is hard, but your circumstances don’t define you

·         Mind over matter; If you don’t mind, it don’t matter!

·         The world doesn’t care if you succeed or fail; it’s all on you

·         Haters are going to hate; consider the source, determine if any of it is true and ignore the rest

·         Take advantage of every opportunity and every bit of help other people offer

·         Give back as you can

·         Be selfless instead of selfish

·         Learn as much as you can about as much as you can; Chance favors the prepared mind

·         Work and work hard – no matter whether you’re digging ditches or curing cancer go at it like it’s the most important thing you do

·         Take care of your responsibilities (Family, Spouse, Children, Work, School, Friends); own your stuff

·         Don’t base your decisions on emotions – emotions change, and they lie

·         You don’t have to act on every impulse you have; be disciplined and deny yourself appropriately

·         Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it

·         Don’t take offense at what people say and do – they’re just baiting you to make a bad decision

·         Put your money where your mouth is! Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk!

·         Be considerate of others; you’re not the center of the universe so don’t be a jerk

·         Don’t talk about stuff you know nothing about; you just look ignorant

·         Be self-reflective; ask the hard questions in life about who you want to be

·         Be vulnerable and transparent with people; it makes for better relationships

·         Don’t speak or act in anger. Better to keep your mouth shut until you cool off

·         Do things immediately; putting things off just makes the list longer

·         Push yourself beyond your limits physically and mentally – it builds strength and character

·         Always try – better to try and fail then not to try at all and always wonder if you could have

·         Listen to hear not to respond

·         Think BIG! You may not get what you’re aiming for, but you’ll get something all the same

·         Don’t make fear-based decision; make faith-based decisions

·         Care deeply about others and their needs

·         Care about yourself but in a healthy way not a narcistic way

·         Show mercy and grace to people; you don’t know their circumstances

·         Forgive people every time they do something; unforgiveness is a cancer in your bones

·         Keep your expectations low

·         Be prepared for the worse but strive for the best

·         Be exceptional at all you do; don’t settle for mediocrity

·         Take care of your body – stretch, workout, and push yourself. You’ll thank yourself when you are older

·         Give and give generously of your time, talent, and treasure

·         Be slow to speak and think through the consequences of your actions before making a decision

·         Understand all your options and their consequences before deciding

·         Don’t be too proud to seek help when you need it

·         Don’t wait until things are a crisis to seek help; it makes it more difficult to problem-solve

·         You won’t be able to manage life alone – everyone needs other people in some capacity

·         Sacrifice yourself for others and for the betterment of yourself

·         Sex is the best way to wreck a friendship – save it for marriage

·         Treat others like you want to be treated even if they don’t treat you that way; your reputation is based on your actions not how other act toward you

·         Don’t assume people think like you do; everyone has different circumstances that lead them to different conclusions

·         Don’t ever compromise your foundational beliefs – those that are define who you are

·         Don’t mistake issues that are negotiable in your life with ones that are foundational and are not negotiable.

·         Make room for self-care; be sure to decompress and recharge

·         Bad company corrupts good character; hang out with the right people or suffer the consequences

·         Don’t make excuses; be accountable and take responsibility for your actions

·         Guard your mouth; think before you speak

·         Stand up for those who cannot

·         Take instruction gladly; learn from your mistakes

·         Resiliency is a learned skill; practice it

·         Plans fail for lack of counsel; seek advice

·         Don’t believe everything you hear or see; trust but verify

·         So long as it relies on you be peaceful

·         Everything in moderation

·         Don’t give up the great for the good; focus on the best not on things that distract you from meeting goals

·         True love is telling the truth no matter how hard it may be or whom the truth may offend

·         You can’t help people who are not going to be part of the solution

·         Have someone in your life to whom you can be accountable in all things

·         No matter where you go, there you are! You can’t run from your problems; better to work on them than try to hide from them

·         Money is a tool not an end unto itself

·         Some are in-the-box thinkers while others are out-of-the box thinkers. Don’t limit yourself; there is no box!

·         Do everything; don’t limit yourself by conventional standards

·         Faith matters

·         We are all broken in some way which is why we all need Jesus

·         All good things come from God and He can use even your worst circumstances for good

·         God loves you right where you are and regardless of your performance, but He loves you too much to let you stay there. Keep pushing forward no matter what!


  1. Veronica · · Reply

    Tom, you are filled with the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I’m so proud to know you. Blessings always and forever. Veronica

  2. Yes, yes, and yes! Thank you, Tom. Encouraging and convicting.

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