Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t. – Erica Jong
Editor’s note: Today’s article is an excerpt from my contribution to Joe Wilner’s forthcoming eBook, The Great Life Philosophies: Advice for Significant and Successful Living. The entire article will appear in Joe’s eBook which is scheduled to be released later in February. You can learn more about Joe here.
One advantage of approaching the half-century mark is I have received plenty of advice. Some of the advice has missed the marked, but most of it has been helpful.
And even if the good advice didn’t seem to fit at the time, I filed it away for future use because saving advice can have the same benefit as saving money – it’s always good to have on hand for those rainy days.
Offering advice is a basic, natural instinct. There was once a time when one hunter telling another hunter where the tigers lurked was particularly helpful. Though the threat of a tiger attacking is not likely today, risks and challenges still exist. Offering advice is still one way we can protect each other in an unpredictable world.
With 48+ years under my belt, here’s the best advice I have ever received. I have separated it into two categories: Life Advice: how to live day-to-day with happiness; and Relationship Advice: how to build and nurture the most important relationships – the ones with our partners, children, and parents.
This advice is my gift to you. You are free to ignore it, receive it or file it away for a rainy day.
Part One | Life Advice
- Forget regret.
Leave your mistakes and regret in the past. They don’t define your value, then or now. When you stay in the past you become stuck. We all have made mistakes and the consequences can hit us pretty hard. However, when we learn to put these experiences behind us – by letting them go, we are free to greet this day and live it to its fullest.
- Ask for help.
You are not alone. It may feel that way sometimes, but there are many people who would extend their hand and lift you up if asked. All you have to do is ask.
- Believe you are worthy.
Whatever your goal or your dream, you are worthy of achieving it. The closer you get to your dream is when doubt becomes the loudest. Replace doubt with the truth – you are worthy to have your heart’s desire.
- Keep the faith.
At the end of the day when you are weary from all of the effort you have expended and you are tired from being hit so many times, but the dream is not realized, the one thing that tells you to keep going; to get up tomorrow, is your faith.
- We are what we do.
We are not what we think, or what we feel, or what we say, we are what we do. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. If you are unhappy with a particular part of your life, take a strong look at what you are doing to be happier.
- Perform one act of kindness daily.
Kindness breeds more kindness. The concept of “paying it forward” is alive – live it, too.
- Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
When we step out and claim what we want from the world a wonderful thing happens – the Universe responds.
- Life’s two most important questions are “Why?” and “Why not?” The trick is knowing which one to ask.
Understanding why we do certain things is the first step to change. Until we understand what motivates us, what we get from doing a particular behavior, there is no momentum to begin the change process. Likewise, by asking “Why not?” we begin assessing the risk versus reward aspect which can lead to bringing about productive change in our lives.
- Happiness is the ultimate risk.
No matter how painful, sometimes what we know is more comfortable than what we don’t know, even if we are depressed and miserable. Our misery can feel safe because it has been a part of us for so long. To seek happiness, to do things to break free of the depression, is a risk because we don’t know what it looks like or feels like to be happy. The antidote for this is hope and faith.
- We flee from the truth in vain.
Somewhere along the way there are truths about ourselves we never allow to see the light of day. Shame, guilt or embarrassment keeps these truths hidden and locked away. But remember, we cannot change or heal what we do not acknowledge.
- The perfect is the enemy of the good.
While it’s important to have control over our lives, it can be counterproductive to attempt to control our lives. The energy spent trying to be perfect can keep us from enjoying and appreciating all the good things that exist right before us.
- It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself.
We may say the words, the words of a lie, but inside we know better; we know the truth. The most damaging lie we can tell ourselves involves making a promise. While good intentions are important, living the truth has far greater value in our life. Do what you say you are going to do, not just to improve the quality of your life, but to be able to live your life with confidence and self-respect.
Part Two | Relationship Advice
You can read this part in Joe’s free eBook that will be available soon. My article is just one of twelve motivational articles from a group of talented and wise bloggers. The advice contained in this eBook is life-changing. Look for the link soon.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
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