25 Life Lessons From Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea

By Tony Mussari
Copyright 2010
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
The Face of America Project

I came late to the banquet that is Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea.

That is my misfortune.

Once I started reading this inspirational masterpiece, I could not put it down. This is one book that will stand the test of time, just like Mortenson has withstood every imaginable challenge on the road to fulfilling his dream.

In so many ways and for so many different reasons, this is a book that everyone should read. It is a book of beautiful words, beautiful thoughts and beautiful deeds. It is a story about beautiful, courageous, determined and thoughtful people.

Here are some of the things I learned about life from my first cup of tea with Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin:

1. All is temporary…the sky outlives everything, even suffering;
2. Forget divide and conquer. Live unite and conquer;
3. Deliver on your promises;
4. Make no demands;
5. Never tell a lie;
6. Remember your friends;
7. When you lose your way, reach out to a teacher or elder for help;
8. You can’t know what people need unless you ask them;
9. The enemy is ignorance. When we increase literacy, we decrease tensions;
10. There are some answers you cannot find in print;
11. Slow down, build lasting relationships;
12. Build relationships that will draw people into the modern world with education and micro loans for business;
13. The true measure of a nation’s success is not GNP, but Gross National Happiness;
14. Cultivate the virtue of patience.
15. The people of Korphe have been here without a school for 600 years. What is one winter more? Haija Ali
16. There is more than one path to the future;
17. There is much we can learn from other countries;
18. When it is dark, you can see the stars;
19. Sometimes to be human you must take sides;
20. Education is like water. It is important for everything in life;
21. Wealthy people are not easily pried away from their fortunes;
22. Live a life of compassion in action, not talk;
23. When you are young, you don’t know what you don’t know;
24. Americans are the most kind people for us. They are the only people who care to help us. Fatima Batool;
25. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything.

One other thing I learned from Mortenson’s book belongs in a class by itself.  It is one of his favorite quotations, and, in my opinion, it is a portrait of the heart and soul of this teacher, this builder of dreams, this builder of schools, this builder of peace and prosperity for the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan, this Face of America on its best days.

“What we are trying to do may be just a drop in the ocean. But that ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Teresa

Until the next time, Kitch and I hope that all your stories have happy endings.

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