“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
John Lennon – a pioneer of peace and a man who used his fame for the greater good – left a legacy following his short but impactful 40-year life from 1940-1980. Not only did Lennon strive for a peaceful world while he was alive, he also left us with a lot of wisdom that will inspire people for a long time to come.
Here are five remarkable life lessons that John Lennon taught us.
1) Give Peace a Chance
So often in our lives we worry about the next moment, about the indifferences between ourselves and others and about all of our worries, but how often do we really give peace a chance?
John Lennon was a devout peace activist – himself and Yoko Ono strove for a non-violent world, something they will always be remembered for. Encouraging fans to aim for a harmonious existence within their homes and without, Lennon suggested that we start small; with our thoughts, words and actions, which then trickle into the wider world.
He truly believed that the power was in the people’s hands when it came to creating a peaceful world, and if everyone contributed in their own way, we would eventually get there. Alongside Ono, he used fame as a platform from which to promote peace on a mass scale – influencing how people contribute their time here on earth.
2) Believe in Yourself
“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”
The Beatles remains the most successful group in musical history but it is doubtful that John Lennon would have formed the band had it not been for his self belief. Coming from a working-class family, Lennon is a perfect demonstration of how, it doesn’t matter what your background, you can achieve anything when you believe in yourself.
Lennon spoke often of visualisation and even advised people to project their own positive future. Visualisation is now beginning to pick up pace as far as self-improvement is concerned, with techniques such as the Law of Attraction gaining wider popularity.
Set your dreams, believe in yourself and go and reach your goals. Lennon did it, and so can you!
3) Be Flexible in Life
Lennon was the first of the group members to accept that the Beatlemania dream was over and in 1969 he informed the other band members, who later announced it publicly in April 1970.
When the group disbanded the famed singer-songwriter seemed to adapt naturally to the new changes in his life. Lennon lent his hand to many new adventures, which included hit solo singles, including Imagine (1971) and precious time spent focusing on being a father and husband.
Knowing when to let go of anything in life is so important, whether it is one of the most influential bands in history or anything other; when we cling to the past we risk causing ourselves unnecessary pain.
As taught in Taoism, we are supposed to be soft and flexible in life and dry and fragile in death. Humans, animals and nature are not supposed to be rigid; Lao Tzu’s teachings tell us to bend with life in our thinking, spiritually and emotionally, something which Lennon seemed to do well.
4) Stay True to Yourself
In 1969, 14-year-old Beatle fan Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto with the hope of catching him for a chat. Instead of turning him away, Lennon greeted Jerry in what would later appear to be a candid, casual talk between a man and boy.
Armed with a tape recorder, Jerry began to film one of the most iconic impromptu interviews ever recorded. When listening to the recording, which can be found here, it’s easy to forget that Jerry is in fact speaking with the Beatles star, who comes across as kind, humble and honest.
In a separate interview where Jerry was asked to describe his experience interviewing Lennon he said, “I didn’t really have time to think about it (the questions). I was sat down and told John and Yoko were going to come out in a second. And that’s when I panicked, but the panic only lasted a few seconds ’cause John came in and said “Hey, would you like a photo, man?” And I said “Sure!” Yoko took a picture of me and John and he said “Ask away.” So, I just started talking with him and he was so kind and generous and gave me such attention that it was pretty easy.”
No matter what happens in our lives, it’s crucial that we remain true to who we are. Despite reaching fame on a phenomenal level, Lennon’s feet remained firmly on the ground; he never forgot where he came from and he seemed to treat everyone with the same level of respect.
Proud of his working class background, he made note of the fact that while many stars altered their accents after finding fame, he always stayed true to who he was. This was apparent when he spoke during interviews, still with a broad Liverpudlian accent even years after the Beatles’ success.
5) “Work on the Good Bit of You”
“We’re all Hitler inside and we’re all Christ inside. And it’s just to try and work on the good bit of you,” John Lennon said during his interview with young lad Jerry Levitan.
What was apparent in John Lennon’s professional and personal life was that he always attempted to make a difference, whether it was in the smallest or greatest way possible. Following the Beatles’ enormous success and as noted above, peace became his point of focus in later life and he felt obliged to spread peaceful messages throughout the world.
It is true that we all have good and bad sides – we have a choice whether to concentrate on the best part of ourselves, or the worst. Tap into your better side, work on the good bit of you and create a better, happier life for yourself and those around you.
Share your thoughts below!