Inspiring Lessons from Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa set a goal to aid the unwanted, the unloved and the uncared for. And she persevered in this goal for the rest of her life.

Lesson 1

Setting a life goal: It is important in life to set a goal for oneself. Some of us might call this our life purpose. This can be a written statement but it can also be a constant visual imagery in one’s mind of what one wants to achieve. Or both.

In its written form, it brings focus and clarity to what we want to do. In its visual form, we can draw on this canvas, to forge and modify as we move along this path of life, adapting to the circumstances and still staying on our goals. When used together, this technique is very powerful in enabling us to stay on course. Mother Teresa have a vision to help the impoverished and she stayed on her life goals all the way through.

Mother Teresa started her career in education and teaching. However, she found a calling in helping the poor and wanted to help them directly. With this decision in mind, she dedicated her life to serving the impoverished and the destitute.

Lesson 2

To serve: True happiness lies in servitude, in helping others in their times of need.  In recent years, numerous researches have verified this. While leading others has its own value in contributing to economies and societies, serving others has the benefits of being truly happy. We can serve others whenever time permits, by volunteering our times in charitable societies in whichever capacities that we deem appropriate. Helping others is in fact, a way of helping ourselves. 

In her line of work, Mother Teresa did not comment on the political and economical structures that could have resulted in the poor that she was serving.

I see somebody dying, I pick him up. I find somebody hungry, I give him food.” She said. “He can love and be loved. I don’t look at his color, I don’t look at his religion. I don’t look at anything. Every person whether he is Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist, he is my brother, my sister.

Lesson 3

Universal love: Mother Teresa expressed unconditional love towards others, and chose not to delve into political commentary and economic stratifications of societies.

Once cameraman who filmed Mother Teresa for a documentary told her that he would not do that for a million dollars. “Neither would I” was her reply, exemplifying the high regard she held for serving with love, not money. This is a beautiful story.

Having a capacity for loving others unconditionally, accepting flaws in people, and being dedicated to one’s endeavours contribute substantially to our success in life, business and relationships. If we are unable to achieve this presently, remaining diplomatic is still a viable way to smoothen conversations and enhance relationships with others.

“I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us, what matters is an individual,” Mother Teresa once wrote.

Lesson 4

Start by helping others in small doses: There are some who feel that helping others need to be of a large or massive scale. While this is admirable, it is not feasible at times.

Helping others can be one person at a time. Most teachers would probably agree with this. Much as we want to help others, the type of help rendered, their receptivity to our help, the timing when we help are sometimes beyond our control. And in the process to help, we might get dispirited when things do not work out or when others reject our help. But our intention to help others should always be there, one person at a time (as this is much easier and achievable). We just need to figure out the how once we have already figured out the why (see lesson 2 above). 

In her effort to serve, Mother Teresa was tireless. There was once when a new Sister was put off by a dirty restroom. When Mother Teresa heard of it, she rolled up her sleeves and cleaned it personally.

Lesson 5

Persevere and focus on the doing: There are many of us who are thinkers, which is all fine and good since “people who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Nevertheless, there must come a point when we must act. If not, we will often keep on procrastinating.

Mother Teresa exemplifies this quality very well when she concentrated strongly on the doing regardless of the circumstances. In fact, it has been said that she was more focused on serving others than concentrating on her leadership style. Being a thinker is great. But being a doer is divine.


Bio. (2017). Mother Teresa Biography. Retrieved from:

Encyclopedia of World Biography. (2017). Mother Teresa Biography. Retrieved from: (n.d.). Guardian: Protector portrait of Mother Teresa. Retrieved from:

Reilly, K. (2016). 10 of Mother Teresa’s most powerful quotes. Retrieved from:

Richard, S.P. (2017). The daily prayer of Mother Teresa. Retrieved from:


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