What I’ve Learned About Life From Letterman

There are a few things that make me feel old. (Don’t worry, I am far from there yet.) However, I distinctly remember the first time I saw David Letterman host his late-night talk show. 

I was a kid maybe eleven or twelve and changing the channel after Jeopardy! every night to catch Dave’s Top Ten list. At that time, it was always something trivial, like “Top Ten Ways You Know Someone Is A Geek.” 

It was always a good laugh before heading off to bed and dreaming of being on the next season of American Gladiators. Fast forward twenty-something years later and Dave is retiring from The Late Show. To say this is a shock would be an understatement. 

This made me realize that life truly is short; we never know what will happen in the future, but we should live our lives to the fullest today (whatever that means for you). S

o as an homage to David Letterman’s 33-year career in late-night TV and his influence on my life in general here are some key lessons we can learn from him:

Dave’s Life Hack Will Save You Time And Water | Letterman
Embrace humor in the face of challenges.
Effective communication is key to building relationships.
Learning from mistakes leads to personal growth.
Adaptability is essential for success in various endeavors.
Finding joy in the ordinary moments enriches life.
Creative thinking opens doors to new opportunities.
Cherishing human connections adds value to experiences.
Continuous self-discovery contributes to a fulfilling life.
Balancing work and life priorities leads to contentment.
The journey is as valuable as the destination.

You’ve Seen It Happen

As you’ve probably experienced, some people just don’t want to hear it. You give them a piece of advice and they immediately shoot you down. Maybe they’re looking for an excuse not to do what’s best for them, or maybe they just don’t want to change their ways. 

Either way, it’s clear that your words aren’t sinking in and that’s okay! The important thing is that if you can learn from someone who does listen and change their life for the better, then by all means do so.

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Set The Right Daily Goals

If you want to be successful, you need to set goals for yourself and the people around you.

It helps to set these goals in a variety of different ways:

Goals for yourself think about what you want to achieve this year. Your goal could be anything from learning a new skill, getting into better shape, or simply reading more books. Make sure that it’s something that will help improve your life and give purpose to it!

Goals for your tea —it’s important not only to have personal goals but also ones that benefit others around you as well. 

For example: “My goal is going to be helping my coworkers develop their skills so they can contribute more effectively.” This is an excellent way of showing appreciation while simultaneously enabling them towards success (which benefits both parties).

Company-wide goals a great way of ensuring that everyone stays motivated towards making progress is by aligning their efforts with those of others across departments or divisions through shared initiatives such as yearly projects or events where employees come together outside work hours (i.e., Christmas parties). 

Such activities promote communication between workers who otherwise would never interact except during meetings every month or so! 

The sky’s no limit here because there are many different ways one might go about setting up such tasks; 

However, some suggestions include having each employee write two blog posts per week about their interests/hobbies etcetera (this gives us all practice writing regularly without feeling like work).”

Much like the art of crafting copy that converts in B2B marketing, life’s lessons also require effective communication. Delve into the secrets of writing copy that converts to uncover parallels between conveying messages in marketing and sharing experiences in life.

Seize The Day Before It’s Too Late

Professor Dave once told me that there is no time like the present, and he was right. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so you might as well enjoy today while you can. 

And if today isn’t awesome enough? Well then make tomorrow even more awesome by seizing the day before it’s too late!

Life is short, so live it to the fullest and make sure to take action before you regret it who knows when another chance may come along? 

If something is important enough for you to start doing right now…then do it! Don’t wait for your perfect moment or until everything lines up perfectly in your life; just get started right away!

Ignore People Who Won’t Support You

One of the most important things I’ve learned from Letterman is to never waste time on people who don’t support you.

It’s easy to be intimidated by authority figures, especially when you’re young and insecure. 

The problem with this is that it can make you lose sight of your own goals and desires, so much so that you might even start believing that what others think is more important than your own opinion. 

This isn’t true! You are in charge of your life, not them. If someone doesn’t want what’s best for you or tries to control how you live it, then they are not worth listening to and certainly not worth wasting any more time on!

Remember That The Pain You Feel Today Is The Strength You’ll Feel Tomorrow

I know that the pain you feel today is the strength you’ll feel tomorrow, but I’m not sure it’s always easy to see that. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and sometimes it’s hard enough putting one foot in front of the other, let alone think about what will happen tomorrow. 

But never forget: your pain is an indicator that things are changing inside of you that you’re growing stronger or learning more or doing something right (or wrong).

The only way to get through life without pain, without struggle, without all those emotions we think are supposed to hurt us? That would be death. 

Think about it if someone told me they wanted me dead instead of feeling any sort of emotion at all ever again, I’d probably take their offer! The fact is we all have feelings and they come with us every step along our journey through life…

And sometimes those feelings hurt us; sometimes they bring up old wounds from childhood or past relationships; sometimes they’re just plain uncomfortable because nothing on earth stays still forever…but this doesn’t mean we should run away from them either!

Mistakes are part of both writing and life, but they don’t have to define us. Just as avoiding the 16 deadly sins in writing can improve your craft, learning from life’s errors can shape your journey. Explore the 16 deadly sins that can kill your writing and reflect on how they relate to personal growth.

Not Everyone Will Like You, And That’s Okay

This is a simple lesson, but it’s one I’ve learned over and over again. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay.

There are good reasons for this: You might have different values from the person in question. 

You may never be able to see eye-to-eye on an issue that matters deeply to them or their family members or friends. And sometimes people just aren’t nice people (and there’s nothing wrong with that).

But whether you realize it or not, we all spend too much time worrying about what other people think of us and even more so when they don’t like us! 

But opinions are opinions only if they’re formed through actions; if someone doesn’t like me because they’ve never met me before (or because of something else), then that isn’t my problem it’s theirs!

Build A Community Of Champions With Similar Passions And Ambitions

It’s important to build a community of champions with similar passions and ambitions. When you surround yourself with people who are better than you, you have nothing to fear. You can learn from them, be inspired by them, and help them reach their goals too.

You can also learn the art of giving. If someone shares something that helps you grow as a person or advance in your career or life in general, then give back! It will make both parties feel good (and it might even earn you karma points).

Know That Your Past Does Not Define Who You Are Today

If you’ve ever watched Dave, you know that he’s a pretty funny guy. What some people might not realize is that he’s also a very wise man. One of the life lessons he likes to share with his audience is: to know that your past does not define who you are today.

If someone has something negative to say about their past, it can be tempting for them to build up walls around themselves and refuse to let anyone in as a result of feeling judged by others. 

But Dave wants us all to know that this approach isn’t healthy and while it might seem like no big deal when we’re younger, as we get older these feelings to begin holding us back from achieving our goals and being happy in general. 

It’s important not only during childhood but throughout the rest of our lives (and even into old age) that we always keep close friends and family around so they can help remind us of who we are: good humans worthy of love and respect!

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Comparing Yourself To Others Will Keep You From Being Happy

I’ve learned that comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time. You can’t compare apples and oranges. 

You don’t know what other people are going through, so you have no idea how they got there. You can’t control other people’s actions, and since you can only control your actions, it makes no sense to worry about or be jealous of someone else’s success.

Be Brilliant, But Be Authentic

Be yourself. Be brilliant, but be authentic.

David Letterman was the original host of The Late Show on CBS, which he hosted from 1993 until 2015. He was also an executive producer and writer of the show. 

David Letterman has been called “the greatest talk show host ever” by multiple publications and was ranked 10th in a list of the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time by TV Guide in 1996

Find Joy In Your Quirks, Flaws, And Challenges

Letterman’s nightly monologue was a highlight of my childhood. As I grew up, I realized that Letterman was also helping to shape my life lessons. This may sound ridiculous, but I think he taught me how to live.

I never saw myself as being funny like Dave or Jon (aka “The Bechdel Test”), but I loved how he fearlessly showed us how flawed and weird he was. 

He didn’t try to be perfect; he just let himself be who he wanted to be: awkward and quirky rather than polished and professional. And because of this, his fans learned that their imperfections were okay too and oftentimes endearing!

That means if someone asks you what your favorite movie is and you hesitate before answering with something unoriginal like Star Wars (which happens quite frequently), instead of feeling embarrassed about it just say “Star Wars” anyway because why not? 

You’ll probably find yourself laughing about the whole thing later on down the road when no one else remembers what happened either way (unless they’re also a huge Star Wars fan).

Don’t Live Your Life By The Numbers

When you are living your life by the numbers, you’re a slave to them. You don’t get to choose when to do things and how long to do them because there is always a schedule that must be adhered to. 

Don’t let yourself get caught up in this way of life! Instead, take risks and don’t be afraid of failure. Try new things and be creative with your thinking about how you spend your time on this earth (and yes, we should all live like it’s our last day).

Live In The Moment. Life Is Short; Enjoy It Now Before It’s Too Late

The key to living in the moment is not worrying about the past or future. When you’re worried about something else that happened yesterday, it’s distracting you from enjoying today. 

Don’t worry about what other people think of you; they’re not thinking about you at all! And most importantly: make sure your actions don’t harm others.

In addition to these practical lessons, Letterman has also taught me some valuable philosophical advice: we should be thankful for the opportunity to live life on this planet.

And we should make use of every second we have here because there may not be another one after it ends (or maybe there will).

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Here’s a big takeaway: enjoy life! People often complain about being unhappy with their lives and how much time it takes to do the things they want to. But if you’ve only got one life to live, why not make it enjoyable? 

I know Dave would agree. He took chances, he was himself when he wanted to be, and he had fun while doing all of it. We could all use a little bit more of that in our lives don’t you think?

Further Reading

Explore more insights and lessons inspired by David Letterman:

Top 10 Business Lessons Learned from David Letterman: Discover key takeaways from David Letterman’s career that can be applied to the business world.

David Letterman Life Lessons: Uncover valuable life lessons extracted from the experiences of David Letterman.

Top 10 Parenting Lessons I Learned from David Letterman: Explore parenting insights that can be drawn from David Letterman’s journey.


What were some business lessons learned from David Letterman?

David Letterman’s career offers insights into effective leadership, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. Check out articles like “Top 10 Business Lessons Learned from David Letterman” for specific lessons.

How can David Letterman’s life lessons be applied to our own lives?

David Letterman’s experiences can serve as a source of inspiration for personal growth, resilience, and finding humor in challenges. Read about “David Letterman Life Lessons” for more details.

What parenting lessons can we learn from David Letterman?

David Letterman’s journey also provides valuable lessons for parenting, including humor, communication, and embracing imperfections. Explore “Top 10 Parenting Lessons I Learned from David Letterman” for insights.

How can David Letterman’s insights benefit businesses?

David Letterman’s experiences offer lessons in communication, innovation, and maintaining a strong brand. Refer to resources like “Top 10 Business Lessons Learned from David Letterman” for detailed perspectives.

How has David Letterman’s journey impacted different aspects of life?

David Letterman’s life has influenced business, personal development, and parenting spheres. To delve deeper into these impacts, read articles like “David Letterman Life Lessons” and “Top 10 Parenting Lessons I Learned from David Letterman.”