Population and Social Characteristics

10 Life Lessons From Yogi Berra Everyone in Their 40s Should Hear

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Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was best known for his position as catcher on the New York Yankees. However, many fans also remember him for his philosophical, often comical, quotes and tokens of advice. We’ve already compiled a list of Yogi Berra’s life lessons for people in their 70s, so here are 10 life lessons from Yogi Berra that everyone in their 40s should know. 

1. “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Define Your Goals and Destination

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As simple as this quote may seem, it’s a great reminder that to get where you want to be, you first must know exactly where that is. In other words, it helps to define your goals and aspirations so you can work toward them each day. Living without direction or intention will only keep you stagnant. Be fearless in your pursuit of what you desire. Let yourself dream big, no matter your age — but make sure you’re honest and clear with yourself.

2. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Seize All Opportunities

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While this quote was intended as a joke, you can interpret it in a few different ways. For example, the fork can represent a huge life decision or opportunity. In this case, you should take said “fork in the road” and embrace its potential. On the other hand, the fork in the road could represent all the possible opportunities available to you. Oftentimes, when we reach a fork in the road, we are too forced to choose one way over another. However, taking the fork in the road means embracing every single one of your opportunities rather than just focusing on one path.

3. “So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Focus on What’s Most Important

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While this is a funny and somewhat self-deprecating quote, it’s a great reminder that your appearance has nothing to do with your capabilities and worth. According to Berra, even though he apparently believes he has nothing to offer appearance-wise, his looks never affected how he showed up on the baseball field. 

We can apply this to our own lives by recognizing that true power and impact has nothing to do with what we look like. Rather, it has everything to do with the passion, love, and kindness we offer the world, which extends far beyond beauty.

4. “You can observe a lot by watching.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Practice Awareness

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As you can tell, Berra had a somewhat dry sense of humor. This quite literal quote reminds us that, to truly observe what’s going on around you, you must fully absorb your surroundings. Observation requires close attention, presence, and awareness — both of yourself and of your environment. 

5. “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Stop Striving for Perfectionism

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Perhaps a more thought-provoking quote, this one requires us to reconsider the idea of “perfection.” If we were to view the world as perfect, would it actually be perfect for everyone? Perfection is subjective, meaning what might appear perfect to one person could be completely opposite to another. 

If the world was “perfect,” it wouldn’t provide us with diversity of thought. It would lack the excitement and passion that we chase, stifling opportunities to learn and grow. In a perfect world, we would lack all the things that make up the essence of a “human.”

6. Quote: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Never Give Up

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One of Berra’s most famous catchphrases was, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” This quote reminds us that no matter how discouraging a situation might be, no matter how sure we are of our impending failure, we should never give up. You never know when life can turn around — when a situation can end up heading in a completely different direction than you anticipated. Giving up too soon will strip you of reaching the actual outcome, which very well might pleasantly surprise you. 

7. “We made too many wrong mistakes.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Take Healthy Risks

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Mistakes are not inherently wrong. In fact, many mistakes allow us to learn and grow as humans. However, the wrong mistakes — or those that continue to keep you stuck or close-minded — can prevent you from moving in the right direction. 

Making the right mistakes, such as taking a risk that didn’t work out, is not a negative action. However, continuing to make the same damaging errors due to a lapse in judgment or a lack of self-awareness is a much different story. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake — just make sure it’s the right kind.

8. “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Learn Through Experience

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As someone in your 40s, you might have children who are in school or nearing that age. This Berra quote encourages you to allow your kids to learn through experience. Rather than trying to teach your children through books and education, let them make their mistakes and experience life in its raw nature, so they can learn and create their own observations and perspectives of the world.

9. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Popularity Does Not Equate High Value

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This humorous quote acknowledges that the more popular something becomes, the less intriguing it is. Sometimes the best places or opportunities are the ones that gain the least amount of traction. Just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t mean it’s right or better. Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled.

10. “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”

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  • Source: Yogi Berra

Takeaway: Focus on Your Own Strengths

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Berra gave this advice to a young player who was trying to imitate another, more seasoned baseball player by imitating his swing. He noted that if you aren’t able to perfectly imitate somebody else’s actions as well as they can, you shouldn’t be copying them in the first place. In other words, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It’s not about trying to be like someone else. Rather, it’s about honing your unique skills to make a name for yourself. 

Why We’re Covering This

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Yogi Berra was an infamous baseball catcher who is well known for both his athleticism and philosophical sayings. The quotes above are sure to make you think a little deeper about life.

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