Top 10 Life Lessons from World Leaders to Students

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Many successful people have learned life lessons the hard way by making mistakes and experiencing failure. Often their fondest wish is to help others avoid the mistakes they have made. When we are young, we think we know it all, but wisdom is something born out of experience. World leaders have unique experiences, not all of them pretty or exciting. These leaders understand the importance of helping others and educating younger generations so they can do things better and more effectively. Here are ten life lessons world leaders want to share with students of all ages.

Humble Sacrifice

Nelson Mandela quoteVisionary leader Nelson Mandela believed strongly that offering forgiveness was more important than taking revenge. His lesson to students is that great leaders are often faced with having to sacrifice their personal comfort and security to accomplish great goals.

Self-sacrifice for the good of the many is something each leader must be prepared to do.


Abraham Lincoln quoteAbraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, learned quickly that success depended on a powerful personal persistence. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” If he were to stand before a class of students today, he would remind students that in order to be a great leader you must remain persistent even if others do not believe in your vision.


Pope Francis quotePope Francis had several leadership lessons to share on his last visit to Washington, D.C. In his address, he said, “Before leading or preaching, we must listen.”

Listening and hearing the nuances helps to build bridges and solve problems.

He also made it clear that leaders must respect everyone and embrace an attitude of tolerance and inclusiveness.


Dalai Lama quoteThe Dalai Lama believes negative emotions such as bitterness, hate, anger and jealousy are the cause of epic disasters. He teaches students that self-discipline is the best defense against negative emotions. “Self-discipline, although difficult, and not always easy while combating negative emotions, should be a defensive measure. At least, we will be able to prevent the advent of negative conduct dominated by negative emotion.”

Make Mistakes

Albert Einstein quoteAlbert Einstein had plenty of wisdom and life lessons to share, but the one lesson that stands out is to make mistakes. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Leaders must be innovators and try new things. Mistakes are inevitable if you are pursuing a worthwhile goal. Although mistakes are the cause of great disappointment and frustration, often they are necessary to test our true conviction to the goal, and they help us understand what we can do differently and better. Never be afraid to fail for that is how we learn to succeed.

Balance Value-Driven Vision with Execution Efficiency

Mahatma Gandhi quoteMahatma Gandhi is considered to be one of the world’s most influential leaders. His thoughts and practices related to leadership competency are highly regarded and extremely relevant to leadership today.

According to Gandhi a leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where he is heading and a strong grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it, He goes on to say that having a vision is not enough. Leaders must be able to share that vision and act on it.

A great leader must be able to communicate clearly and passionately because passion if contagious. Therefore, it is important that leaders develop and hone their verbal and written communication skills.

Be Personally Invested In Your Cause

George Washington quoteGeorge Washington was a great leader, and one of the most important lessons he shared with others is that those who look to us as leaders are conscious of the priorities and values that guide us. This means that good leaders put their money where their mouth is.

They invest time, hard work and sometimes they even invest their own money into a cause they truly believe in. If you do not believe in your cause how can you influence others to believe in it?

Communicate Effectively

Warren Buffett quoteInvestment leader Warren Buffett believes all leaders must be able to communicate effectively. “You’ve got to be a le to communicate in life, and it’s enormously important. Schools, to some extent, under emphasize that. If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas you are giving up your potential,” Buffett was terrified of public speaking so he enrolled in a course so he could overcome that fear. He tells students to learn how to communicate easily and clearly with your own staff and the public. Take a writing course, use online essay writing help do what you can to develop your verbal and written communication skills.

Courage Is the Foundational Virtue

Theodore Roosevelt quoteTheodore Roosevelt lived at a time when death was a constant occurrence. He learned quickly that courage was foundational to great leadership. “There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid at first, ranging from grizzly bears to “mean” horses and gunfighters; but by acting as if I were not afraid I ceased to be afraid.” Overcoming fear is essential for taking action. The corollary lesson for leadership here is to take action. Nothing will happen if you fail to take action.

Be Passionate About What You Do

Steve Jobs quote

Steve Jobs along with Pope Francis and many other world leaders all agree on one thing. As a leader, you must be passionate about what you do. If you lack passion, then you should think about doing something else. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Without passion, you will have no one to lead.


Great leaders share certain traits in common that include a passion and belief in what they do, courage to take action and the ability to communicate their ideas simply and effectively to others. There is no room for negativity if you plan to be a successful leader. Self-discipline, humility, service and the ability to listen are hallmarks of the influential leader. Students should be prepared to vest themselves personally in their vision and to learn from their mistakes. Never underestimate the power of experience and the wisdom others are willing to share with you as you develop your leadership abilities.

Have you got a lesson from a world leader? Answer in comments!

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