John Lennon managed to pack a lot of living into his too short, 40-year life. He left his love of life, love, and creativity for us to learn from. Lennon’s writings and his voice from the interviews that he granted were recorded for posterity.

Here are eleven valuable life lessons that we can learn from the genius mind of John Lennon.

11 Life Lessons to Learn From John Lennon


1. Love is all you need, but it takes effort.

“Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

“Love is like a flower – you’ve got to let it grow.”

2. If we want peace, we can have it now.

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”

“Declare it. Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace, we just need to declare it.”

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

3. We can find God within ourselves.

“I believe in God, but not as one thing. Not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

“God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”

4. Experiences of the mind are real.

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind.”

“Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realized that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.”

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

5. We should be who we are.

“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

“It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.”

“It’s weird not to be weird.”

“You don”t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!”

6. Don’t let other people dictate your choices.

“Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.”

“Trying to please everybody is impossible – if you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You’ve just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it.”

7. Fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“The postman wants an autograph. The cab driver wants a picture. The waitress wants a handshake. Everyone wants a piece of you.”

“It was like being in the eye of a hurricane. You’d wake up in a concert and think, Wow, how did I get here?”

8. Materialism is overrated.

“Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem.”

“I was asked in an interview which was more important: money or love? I told the interviewer that if he had to ask the question, he wouldn’t understand the answer.”

9. Take pride in your work.

“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.”

“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

10. Family is everything, said John Lennon.

“He didn’t come out of my belly, but my God, I’ve made his bones, because I’ve attended to every meal, and how he sleeps, and the fact that he swims like a fish because I took him to the ocean. I’m so proud of all those things. But he is my biggest pride.”

“But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and neither of us want to be. And you can’t fill a bed with groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger. I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to have someone you love hold you.”

11. You can free yourself from fear.

“Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear.”

“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.”