What’s the Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Have you ever heard a piece of advice or nugget of wisdom that was particularly impactful and stuck with you for a long time? If so, tell us so we can have it too.


Tim’s Answer: I actually heard this one from a friend’s father at a group dinner back in college. He said something along the lines of:

When you’re figuring out what to do with your life, I think it’s a mistake to first decide what you want to do and then move to best location to do that thing. Instead, pick the place where you really want to live and go there. Your career will work itself out wherever you go.

DT25 - Best Advice - PNow, years later, looking at my own experiences and those of my friends, this definitely seems right on. A) It’s hard to stay happy for very long if you’re in a place you don’t like—whether because the culture rubs you the wrong way or you’re too far from people you care about or you’re neglecting some yearning to be somewhere else. And B) career paths are twisty and surprising and totally unpredictable anyway, and people never seem to end up where they planned.

Of course, certain professions are tied to one particular location, but most aren’t. So if you’re at a crossroads, and you’ve always wanted to live in San Francisco, but you have a connection that can get you a good job in your home town or somewhere else you feel lackluster about—move to San Francisco with no job. You’ll figure things out when you get there.

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  • Luke

    ‘Hold on tightly and let go lightly’ – Put all your effort into your relationships and passions; maintain them and always try and make the effort. But when someone crosses you, lets your down, or leaves you – they’re gone. Pay them no more attention and instead use that attention on the people and things that do matter.

    • Tempest

      Must be lonely. Friends will always disappoint you and you will always disappoint them. We are all flawed.

      • Luke

        Well I’m quite a solitary creature anyway so it could be considered lonely to someone very social. But it’s not about flaws or disappointment. I don’t cut ties with people that annoy me or make bad choices, just people who consciously wrong me or others I care about.

        • Tempest

          Ah, then I agree completely. Life’s far too short to hang around with nasty people. And although gregarious I’m a person that loves his privacy. I don’t get lonely. My wife does mind you. Always likes to have people around even though she dislikes being the centre of attention.
          Nothing queerer than folk my Nana used to say.eh?

          • Luke

            Yeah sometimes I’ve been with people doing things for days on end like a true socialite and a lot of the time all I can think is ‘I can’t wait to get home and be alone’.
            Nothing queerer indeed my friend!

            • Tempest

              Well I come by it honestly. Before he passed many years ago I’d catch the old man peeking at his watch when he and mom were visiting….. Like if I make it home by five I can still catch the last four holes on CTV.
              Great guy dad but after a lifetime in sales he loved his peace and quiet.

  • Tbsato

    This came from my best friend at the age of 15 when we ran our own lawn care business: “You have to cut grass to buy grass”.

  • kkkk

    That life sucks and you shouldn’t really care about being successful because nobody cares and ultimately you are just a pile of flesh that wants to survive. Honestly this would give some depression to people but for me it gives me calmness and I can strive for things in a more patient way. It really calms my impatience.

  • Peter

    “Do what’s good for you.” by a friend.

  • Douglas

    “Don’t value work over friendships, unless you want to regret it on your deathbed” My friends tell me that when I skip events to do school work. It really teached me that hard work in the end isn’t always the most prideful thing.

  • Juanita

    Edmund Burke: “Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair” and Henry Kissinger: “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously”

  • “We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy”

    – Albus Dumbledore 😀 Yap i said it. But it is really a great advice.

  • Chris

    “Don’t stress over what other people think of what you are doing because everyone else is just stressing about what people think of them and not paying any attention to you.”

  • john

    I got this from a correspondance between a writer named Rilke and an 18-year-old guy who was confused and anxious about everything in his life. (Which, yes, is also a reason why this spoke to me.)

    Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the
    questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now
    written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which
    cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the
    point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will
    then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into
    the answer.

    It is a paradox in a way because it is meant to be an answer in a way. And it’s corny. But for some reason it makes complete sense to me.

    • Andi Shen Liu

      Just what I needed to read, actually.

  • EmersonDameron

    “You’re not that special.”
    – My best friend in high school

  • Musological

    Something my dad once said that always stuck with me was simply: “first rule is always DO NO HARM”.
    That to this day is always the first and foremost thing I try to consider when interacting with other humans, but it can equally apply to anything. You can’t go wrong.

  • Angnakuluk

    I went to a TCM for anxiety and during the initial interview she asked if I was a smoker, I had been struggling for many years with this addiction and very stressed out about it. She told me that if I want to quit smoking that I will. Just that simple perspective took the weight off my shoulders and a few years later I quit smoking cold turkey, with the help of eating copious amounts of chocolate. That simple perspective has leaked into other goals and dreams of mine and has lead me to achieve other things in my life, to believe and trust in myself that if I really want something some how or another I will have it without stressing about failure or success. I haven’t had a cigarette in over two years.

  • Dean Mazlish

    Best advice: “live life as if everything matters, but know that nothing does”

  • Innocent Bystander

    “Stop Caring What Other People Think”
    I think it was called Taming the Mammoth by some guy named Tim…

  • My father was most certainly a John Wayne/Clint Eastwood type, and he gave me two bits of advice that could be taken the wrong way, so I’ve expanded them a bit to fit how I’ve come to understand them. In the way of disclaimer, I’ve attempted to live by them as well as I can, which I have to admit, has had both positive and negative consequences.

    “If you should make a mistake, admit it right away, especially to yourself, because otherwise, you’ll never learn from your mistakes. At the same time, if you can’t be honest with others, especially when it might be painful, you’ll end up a dishonest person with no credibility, whatsoever. By the same token, if you’re absolutely certain that you’re right and you’ve really examined the issue from every point of view possible (which means you never stop examining it from every point of view you discover), and the people around you can’t or won’t see it, and you’re truly forced into a diplomatic retreat, only retreat with reservations. At that point, life becomes chess…and the only appropriate retreats are the tactical and strategic ones.”

    “Always put your mind in gear before you put your body or mouth in motion. Your mind and soul are by far the most important possessions you’ll ever have in life, don’t play games with them. Don’t let your feelings change how your mind remembers things, don’t candy coat things for yourself, don’t try to forget anything, and most importantly, never ever lie to yourself. Learn to live with yourself, as you really are. Learn to live in the world, as it really is.”

  • Keith Dennis

    This is going to sound like a total ass kiss, but it’s true; The best advice I ever got was Mammoth Brain. I don’t even know if that techincally qualifies as advice, but it changed my life for the better quicker and more profoundly than anything I’ve ever read/been told.

    Now, when I can’t find what I’m looking for in Home Depot, and my Mammoth Brain tells me, “Don’t ask anyone for help, you’ll embarass yourself.” I say back, “What are they going to do, kick me out of the tribe?” And then I go ask a teenager in a blue smock where the duct tape is.

  • baberjaved

    Always knowing when to say No to something is very important. Never waste your or someone else’s time, say No and move on

  • Jean-Michel

    A friend told me he’d always ask himself two questions when he was feeling down: Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating properly?

    If the answer to either question was no, then he’d get some sleep or get some proper food. And if he still felt down, then it was time to figure out what was wrong with his life.

    I’ve followed that advice ever since. It helps you tell the difference between temporary feelings that fix themselves and permanent ones that ask you to make real changes.

    • ScribblePouit

      I agree wholeheartedly. If you always feel tired and/or have mood swings, try sleeping one hour more per night. It may sound dumb but it changed my life.

  • When you get in the mud with a pig, the pig gets happy and you get dirty.

  • LC

    I’ve had so much valuable advice throughput my life which makes it impossoböe to pick, but recently I had a lot of help in one of my biggest turns in life by the advice: “trust yourself”.

  • Lucky US

    There have been several along the way that have had an impact on me, and as well turned out to be true.

    “You are responsible for your own choices & actions.” mom

    “You do not lose a business by being smart.” A friend who owned a trucking company

    “Whether you think you can, or can’t-you’re right.” Henry Ford

    Those incisive quotes have been mine for a long time now. My friend has successfully run, and sold their trucking company and retired to the life they envisioned for themselves. Mom’s admonition made me think twice about over-spending, and setting aside money for my retirement back in the 1980’s when company’s took the easy way out of retirement for their workers. Glad I did because when it came time to tell them to “take this job and shove it” I was financially set, with their assistance from the 401K match, and my own ROTH funding on the side, to live the life I envisioned.
    Henry helped be decide, screw college it is overpriced, and the dropouts have all the jobs. True enough 30 years ago, and experience and knowledge carried me further than student debt was planning to do.
    Today, not as certain, but the technical degree probably will serve you netter than anything else.
    Just sign me as the retired rich old white guy.

  • Sleep on it. -Dad
    I’ve learned to make most of my most important decisions by giving them 24 hours to fester. After 24 hours, if it still feels important, I’ll do it. But often, after even just a day, it doesn’t matter any more.

  • Kate

    “Nobody ever lay on their deathbed and wished they’d spent more time working”. You should spend more time doing the things that matter. It helps to write your own obituary and think about what you’d like it to say – then prioritise those things!

    • Elizabeth J.

      But I’ve heard many people be wistful about thier lost life when they retired. I like my job so I am going to retire only when I must.

  • Yellojd

    “The best way to find out if you can trust someone, is to trust them.”

    I think that’s Hemmingway. Not 100% sure, though. Either way, it’s a good way to live.

    • Mike South

      Most people are trustworthy. And when someone proves that they aren’t, you learn that, and you can just not deal with them again, with a completely clear conscience, because you’re acting on evidence. Very freeing.

  • sena ustun

    A common advice from the religions, “don’t be such a dick.”.

  • Christopher Cassady

    “A collision leaves a mark. A planet’s surface
    is broken; a body, a heart, or a mind is left rent and torn. But trauma
    is only the initiation of change. Broken earth can fill with water,
    become a lake, host new life. Battered hearts can mend, forgive, forget.
    Whether jagged hole or fractured soul, a crater is a process, not a
    state of being.”
    Oddly enough, this was part of a review for an album (Crater: Volume 1, by Android Lust), but it struck me in such a way at the time I could never forget it.

  • Jonathan

    One of the best pieces of advice I got was to save 10% of my income. I had to be told AGAIN AND AGAIN… but eventually I finally started. I don’t even notice it now and I have way more saved than any of my peers. It was scary to start putting money away for some reason. Nobody tells you that. It gives you a sense of anxiety “Oh man, this is going to take forever!” But after three or four months you get over the shock and adjust to having slightly less spending money. As someone who was mired in debt you gain an incredible sense of self confidence having a positive net worth. I don’t mean to say this to brag… I want to inspire. To tell people “This is something amazing! It’s worth the effort!” And I felt guilt that I hadn’t started earlier but there is a saying “The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I was the first person in my family to do this. It was hard, as they argued that I was too poor to think about saving. I didn’t take their advice and now THEY see how great I’m doing and are starting to save too!

  • Agis Petikidis

    “It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder.'”

    Aldus Huxley

    …this advice/quote has stuck with me…

  • Cobey Cobb

    “Plan and execute”

    It really all comes down to those three words. Anything you want in life, you have to first sit down and figure out exactly what it is and then you have to TAKE ACTION.

    You also have to completely change your definition of “failure” from “failing” to “stepping stones to success”.

    I think I got this from Tai Lopez. He’s all about reading as much as possible and downloading knowledge into your brain so there’s no telling where he got it from.

  • Carol T

    This one is easy – Never wear anything that you wouldn’t want your father to see you in!
    Another one from a boss …. if you make a mistake, own up too it, learn from it, and move on. And don’t do it again!!!

  • Zach Goldfine

    The biggest barrier to truth is to assume you already know it

  • 1) ‘Follow your bliss.’ – Joseph Campbell
    2) ‘Happiness is a choice you make every day.’ – a friend
    3) ‘Don’t be a brat.’ – my wife

  • Azatris

    “Change yourself – and the world changes around you.”

    I live by it.

  • John Alexander

    As a kid I used to work at weekends, cleaning those ice cream vans that used to go around the streets and ring a bell to tell you they were there. The owner was a woman, a bit of tyrant. She worked hard herself and expected the same of those who worked for her. While i was cleaning windows on one of the vans she looked at what i was doing and said “you are concentrating on the middle of the window, focus on the edges and the corners and the middle will take care of itself”. it has been fifty years and it stays with me…look after the details and the rest will take care of itself.

    • IsAnyoneThere

      She sounds like one of those people – boss or co-worker or teacher – who knows you and knows just exactly what you need.

      Where would we be without them?

  • JS

    I learned two “best advices” One – even the worst boss/parent/friend sets an example – learn what you don’t like and then what you do. Second – answer the question “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” and go from there.

  • Instant gratification monkey

    ‘There ain’t to rules’.

    In case it’s not as obvious: there are really no rules in life you have to follow or obey. Absolutely none; but don’t tell the mammoth, I’m not sure it can handle that.

    Also very helpful:
    ‘Slowly, we are in a hurry.’
    ‘If you don’t know what to do, do something else.’ Both Lee Strasberg.

  • pachek

    In a parking lot, drive at the half of the speed you would like to go.

  • Thallía

    “If you are confused about what to do with your life, study and you will know.” – By my mom.

    This was particularly deep because maybe the answer to your problems is written somewhere in a book. But if not, you can let things happen as you spend your time reading and learning about different subjects.

    “Whatever you are going to do, try to balance.” By a friend.

    We were talking about how important is to tell the truth always, but we have reached a point where being kind was more important than being absolutely honest.
    Anyways, this advice helps me in different situations, such as work and relationships.

  • Kathy Kitchin

    Gosh, this is hard…I’m sure I’ll think of more and post more, but from the top of my head, I can think of three great pieces of advice:

    -“Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future” –I used to think this was awfully judgmental and not true, but at age 33, I realize that people do generally turn out like the people they associate with. Plain and simple.

    -Hard work is not only more important (for making a living) than being smart but also it will always eventually pay off, and an offshoot of that, DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO FOR WORK. If you’re happy, it doesn’t matter how much money you have.

    -And, of course, the old cliche, “laughter is the best medicine.” This also rings truer as the years go by. With all the worries and problems that come as we age and also seemingly with society as we age, it is SO important to keep a sense of humor and laugh as much as possible.

  • Olly

    “It matters not how strait the gait,
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul”. – the last verse of the poem Invictus, by William Henley. This always reminds me that I’m the one in charge of my life, I’m the one who must make my decisions and solve my problems.

    “it’s not over until it’s over”- I honestly can’t remember where I got this one from, probably a book I read, but I think it is a good one. When things are going well, it can prevent overconfidence, things can still go wrong. When things are going wrong, it can give me the motivation to try and get things back on course.

    “What you cannot see you imagine, what you imagine is far worse than what actually exists” – Royal Marine Commando Sniper.
    This one serves as a reminder that fear is irrational, particularly fear of the unknown, and therefore I should not give in to it so easily, certainly not without researching the real risks.

    • Mike South

      I’m not sure I’ve ever heard “it’s not over until it’s over” used when things are going well–if so, it’s been way, way less than the other way. It’s good to have that brought out.

      • Olly

        I remembered where it was from. It was a quote by one of the Airmen on the dambusters raid. They had dropped their bomb and breached the dam, but they still had a long way to go over enemy territory before they could celebrate. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s an amazing one, amazing innovation by Barnes Wallis and amazing skill and bravery by the men of 617 squadron.

        • Mike South

          Awesome of you to follow up. I am almost sure I’ve seen something on the bouncing bomb, now that I’ve googled enough to know that’s part of the story. For anyone that hasn’t heard of it, here’s a teaser:

          “With less than two months until the dams were full they had no working bomb, no adapted aircraft, no suitable target, and no training flying at low height.”

          I know I’m hooked. 🙂 Here’s where I’m reading it:


  • d

    The best piece of advice, and one that has saved my life more than once, was given to me by a psychologist I was sent to for “teenage problems”, she simply asked me one thing: Have you ever considered that you might be in the right?
    This may seem silly to most people, but my auto-response to any problem is to think it’s my fault somehow or that I am not doing something I should be doing. I have to remind myself that other people can be more wrong than me. So, for me, that was the most important advice ever.

  • Otis Galapago

    My dad on getting the Internet in our home for the first time:

    “Now you be careful here. If something is physically possible, some asshole has tried it before and over half of that shit is on the Internet somewhere”

    My Dad on going out for the night:

    “have fun, don’t get hurt, don’t get arrested”

    Former boss on having kids:
    “you’re going to have a lot of people pushing advice on you about how to parent. The best advice is ignore most of it and do what works for you and your family. There’s no right way”

    • jfenbauer

      your dad is awesome (and right)

  • Richard Kenneth Niescior

    Best advice I personally discovered was ‘fuck it’ and given by someone was ‘be nice to those on your way up as you will meet them on your way down’

  • This has guided me better than anything over the years:

    “Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.”

    -Bruce Lee

  • JohnD

    A coworker said “You only have two ways to convince people of your idea or opinion. You can write well or you can speak well. If you can do both you’ve got it made. If you can’t do either, you’re hooped”

  • Polina

    If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.
    -Dalai Lama

  • JaapVerlinde

    “Know yourself”

    Bit of a cliche maybe, but extremely productive as a guiding principle!

  • korakys

    “If not you, who else?” From the subtitle of the book Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.

    Because so frequently when something needs doing no-one else is going to do it.


  • Katydidn’t

    The best advice I ever received was from a Charles Bukowski poem. Love him or hate him, truer words were never spoke:

    Oh yes,
    there are worse things than
    being alone
    but it often takes decades
    to realize this
    and most often
    when you do
    it’s too late
    and there’s nothing worse
    too late.

  • Darren Hollander

    This was recent but profound for me. “The right person is worth waiting for. The wrong one is not.”

    • jfenbauer

      knowing the difference between the two is very tricky

  • Ralph Hat-Farmer

    don’t worry about making mistakes, only about repeating them.

  • Aliya Kadyrova

    It’s not gonna sound fancy in English, but it goes something like this

    “Don’t screw the deadlines, it’s pathetic”.

    For some reason this simple phrase suddenly made me a person with a good work discipline. Don’t look for time-management technics, don’t try to trick yourself, just make the deadline whatever it takes. It’s a habit that doesn’t sound big, but it can really enhance your career perfomance.

  • taunyad

    The best advice I’ve ever received was from my grandmother:

    “Handle your shit or your shit handles you.” (She was an eloquent woman, my grandma.)

    The 2nd best is related:

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” I can’t stand Rush, but that line has stuck with me since I was a kid and my dad first played air drums on the steering wheel.

  • korakys

    I must say I think you advice is pretty terrible Tim for most cases when you live outside of the US or Schengen.

    • Jordan TheJust

      Hey it worked for Tim! Hence the best advice he’s ever received.

      • korakys

        Yeah, that’s why my response is qualified [when you live outside of the US or Schengen].

  • Joanna Rene Rasmussen

    I heard these words spoken in an interview or TED Talk on NPR, while driving and in a semi – meditative state: “Don’t let your story die with you”. Nothing has ever prompted me to act so quickly towards creative self-expression, as that one simple sentence. The closer I am to completing the goal of telling my story, the more at peace I am with death.

  • Alex

    my advice: “don’t read advices about life on the internet, seriously, wtf!?”

  • Lucca Santos

    My portuguese teacher asked the whole class to look for the meaning of the word ’empathy’, when it showed up in a text. I know it’s not an advice per se, but for some reason I took as an indirect one, for the rest of my life.

    Since that time, as a teenager, I tried to be more empathetic and not be a hypocrite.

  • penguin

    This isn’t really advice but my Dad once told me ‘nobody is as good or as bad as you think they are’

    It’s a good axiom to try to understand that people, even the ones you despise, are just people – with good and bad qualities. Helps create a space for empathy.

  • Crossbow McStabby

    “Art [read: obsessing over dissertation edits] is never finished, only abandoned.” — da Vinci

  • burrito

    “Go with confidence, go with joy” – my amazing piano teacher upon me graduating high school. I think of those words when I go into every new situation – career, soxial life, love life. They haven’t failed me yet.

  • Odas James Williams

    You can never rise above your own thinking.

  • wattsie

    “how far in the wrong direction does a wise man go?”
    Particularly relevant to me as I always had a tendency to stick by decisions that took me in the wrong direction, simply because I’m stubborn and either didn’t want to admit I was wrong, or was punishing myself for making a dumb choice. Realising that saying “nope, bad call” and changing direction is actually a sign of wisdom and maturity was very liberating.

    • Ohreion

      Now, if we can just get our politicians to come to that realization, we will be in a better place!

      • wattsie

        I know right!
        It goes along with learning to say “I’m sorry, I was wrong” – certainly something we will never hear from pollies!

      • Mike South

        If we can get our people to un-elect the wrong politicians, this will go a lot faster.

  • Ohreion

    Not very philosophical, but mom would tell my brother and I to “Be nice to your sister” (3 yrs younger) “because someday you will want her to introduce you to her friends!”

    We could not even conceive of that possibility, but truer words were never spoken. My mom was prescient and an amazing woman.

  • Alexander Mytelka

    Some variation of a Buddhist quote an old boss hung on her wall. It has become my life mantra.

    “Happiness is achieved when what you think, say, and do are in perfect harmony.”

  • Cristina Andreea Costea

    The conclusion is.. that there is no concluison.. this one was from me to myself 😉 but still one with many aspects after some meditation time.. Do or do not, there is no try
    Maybe not always appliable and a lifetime to learn it but in the end probably the simplest of things to explain why we do.. or do not 😀

    • Ohreion

      Thou quoth Yoda!

    • DeeDee Massey

      I used to think Master Yoda was admonishing the Procrastination Monkey, but he was demonstrating how to ref.

  • JameyB

    Find yourself a hot nerd and never let go

    • anonymous

      reminds me of advice I thank my mother for telling me when I was a girl : “Don’t go for the cool guy.” (this saved my life-or maybe I just invented my own definition of ‘cool’)

  • dzankizakon

    I received exceptionally good advice on two occasions and I remember them to this day because they helped me become a success and made my life easier.

    The first advice I received was about 20 years ago when I was starting my professional life. A guy told me not to put all my energy into one business if I want to succeed, no matter how promising the idea seems. He suggested that I develop three or four ideas in parallel and go with the one that’s the most profitable after a while. I did exactly that and the business that turned out to be a great success was actually one of the ideas that I initially thought would be an almost certain failure.

    I received second great advice after I returned from a visit to a local immigration office (I was an expat at the time). I complained to one of my friends how the immigration officers treated me badly. He just give me the simplest, most logical advice: “walk into the office relaxed, smiling, friendly and optimistic and you’ll do much better”. I did so and the officers were incredibly helpful and efficient. People respond well to friendliness, they don’t like nervous, cold or disinteresed people. I have used the same tactic ever since whenever I dealt with any kind of bureaucracy and it saved me a great deal of nerves and time.

    • Iris Stephen

      Yep. Insecurity, hostility or nervousness cause people to be on their guard. It’s incredible how well people pick up on that.

  • Jill Dicen

    “Be true to your teeth, or they’ll be false to you.” So true!

  • My Dad drilled into my head how he wished he had started saving earlier and gave me all sorts of short lectures on compound interest and other prudent things that most high schoolers are allergic to.

    I am so thankful he was pretty persistent and tireless about things like the importance of planning and putting something away for retirement no matter how small as soon as you make money. Now that I just turned 30 and have a growing family I would be pretty overwhelmed if I hadn’t thought twice about it yet.

    His advice was to not worry about money but let time be on your side and to allow yourself to have options down the line and not feel trapped.

    Sometimes the best advice is the most boring.

    • Patrick Oliveras

      “Sometimes the best advice is the most boring.”

      I think that too is pretty good.

  • Rob Armstrong

    the exact words were “i wish id done it when i was your age” from my mentor at work when having somewhat of an internal debate about tossing in a $150 000 salary offer, selling everything i own and riding a motorcycle around the world.

  • I once asked my dad for business advice and he said, “Hell I don’t know; who the hell knows anything.” When I mention it to successful business people they always say it is the best business advice you’ll ever get!

  • Eli Peter

    “Don’t make excuses; in the end, they don’t matter.”

    It was the best practical advice I got in High School, coming from an intense band teacher who demanded a lot from his students. He used it in the context of students not practicing enough, but it’s served me well in my adult life:

    -Prevents you from inventing ways to not accomplish what you need to.
    -Keeps you accountable.
    -Makes you face your weaknesses, and makes you realize that they don’t determine your value as a human being.
    -Makes collaborating with people on work/projects easier: keeps you from obfuscating the truth to preserve your ego.

    • Mike South

      I think what everyone wants to know here, is, did it turn out you were rushing, or dragging?


      Plus one for pointing out that one of the biggest problems with excuses is that you can start to believe them yourself.

      • Eli Peter

        Hahaha, I do recall receiving a death stare from him when I came in two measures early on a song. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I went into Engineering after High School!

        • Mike South

          If engineering turned out to be your eventual destination, it’s great that you learned that “excuses are useless” stuff early!

  • Peter White

    “What other people think of you is none of your business”

    • Katie M

      I love this one!

  • Kate Convissor

    A 90-year-old woman when asked for advice about life: “Be brave.”
    Aslo: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

    • Iris Stephen

      That is wonderful.

  • ScHmo

    “Heed your own advice.” Hey, we really are clever enough to know what the right things to do are, right? Eat well, exercise, get a good night’s sleep, love, live, and on and on. And we’ve often provided others with some good advice. And if we’re wrong? Turn the other way, slow it down, speed it up, do whatever it takes. Advice is just advice. Making the decision, following through and staying focused are the keys.

  • Elizabeth J.

    Less is more.

  • Ohreion

    “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay,
    Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.”

    A quote from an unknown author on the wall in my high school speed reading class.

  • jfenbauer

    two best pieces of advice i’ve ever been given have both come from doctors.
    1. “if it hurts, stop doing it”
    2. “no matter which way you decide sooner or later you are going to regret it”

    • jfenbauer

      bonus advice from my experience in life:

      if you’re wrong apologize with alacrity and sincerity. (srsly. do this. you’ll thank me.)

  • Lisa

    In life, pick your battles… But win them!

  • starswim

    My dad was not often philosophical, and didn’t actually give us (me and 3 siblings) a lot of advice, but one time he told me, “Don’t worry too much about religion and beliefs, those ideas are going to change over time. That’s OK.” That has certainly been true, and it was quite freeing.

  • Dan Wood

    When I was younger I was feeling down one day about how many negative things happen in the world every day and how a lot of people seem very self centred. I asked my mom what the point was of trying to be positive and selfless in a world that seemed so cold. She said to me “If you give up on trying to be good then you are right, there is no point to anything because you’ve lost your faith in humanity. There is goodness out there though and it feels good to be apart of it. Be the change you want to see.” Those words really stuck with me and drive my choices everyday. Especially “Be the change you want to see” and I say it to myself often.

    There are some really good posts on here. Thank you so much everyone for sharing.

    • fliptherain

      Oh that’s a nice quote your mama said, makes me feel happy

  • From my high school yearbook (thank you Rob Lammé), advice from a crush of mine, which I have almost always followed, for better or worse: “Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” As for that last line, I’m sure it’s made me far more stubborn and independent than most people expect a woman to be, but after seeing my Mom put up with shitty and abusive relationships just because she was afraid of being alone, it has served me well to always hang on to those canoe paddles and be able to steer my way through life solo – if I have to.

    • Iris Stephen

      That’s really solid advice and also what I’d tell any daughter of mine, if I ever have one.

  • Pen Guin

    Don’t eat anything bigger than your head.

    • Mike South

      But “as big as” is just within the boundary, right? Because you can’t seriously be telling me that I shouldn’t have eaten all that http://labambaburritos.com/ when I was interning at UIUC, right?

  • BlahBlahJinx

    Smile and sing out loud as often as you can. It confuses the hell out of people. Secretly though, you know it’s because you’re thrilled to be alive 🙂

  • Balaji

    The best piece of advice I ever received – ‘World is not a fair place. Acknowledge it and you will have a lot less to complain about.’

  • Kat N Kaboodle

    Growing up, my dad would always ask me what I learned in school that day. The time I said “Nothing.” he replied “Then, you just wasted your day. You should learn something new everyday.” That’s always stuck with me.

    • jfenbauer

      similarly, i kept a journal that i wrote in every day, one stenographer’s page per day. this required that i do something to write about every day. very much what you have said.

  • Paraphrasing my mom: “Surround yourself with people who bring you up, not bring you down.” THAT cut down on a lot of needless suffering.

    And the ever loquacious Calvin Coolidge said: “Nothing in this world can take the place
    of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than
    unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is
    almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated
    derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” That defined my working life and I found it to be entirely true.

  • UltraMosk

    A few years ago, while i was reading my Facebook page, i notice one guy that i met when i was 19 years old. He happily published that their first son was born.

    He was two or more years younger than me.

    Some time after i also notice that in consequence, he didn’t
    continue their studies. Then he was forced to work in anything to maintain his

    He fought strongly along with his girlfriend for many years,
    and slowly they started to enjoy some kind of stability.

    In 2014, I was in middle of a profound existential crisis,
    really stuck with my bachelor thesis. I failed my first attempt to get my
    bachelor degree and of course i felt pretty useless.

    My efforts were worth it? what if i’m not good enough? I made a good decision?

    There i was, with a terrible anxiety in a very irritable mood. At age of 24
    without kids, or a girlfriend, without a clue on what i had to done with my

    And there was he, persisting, fighting against the elements.

    I felt like an idiot, i realised that i didn’t have any real
    problem. I didn’t have any son to feed. I didn’t have such huge responsibility.

    A couple of months ago, i wrote him a little message of truly admiration.
    Because his determination and love with her new family.

    What he reply me gave me chills, He reply me something like:

    “I was never forget that day we met, you told me some advice i
    remember everyday. It was very useful to me and i wouldn’t have been able to
    reach this point in my life if i hadn’t changed my mind. I got a job because i
    left my prejudices aside. Thanks man. Really thank you.”

    And suddenly, after my brain suffered a collapse due to put
    in use the long term memory (because i didn’t remember had such skill to give
    advice or that one in particular) finally i was able to remember that day.

    When i was younger, i was part of an Scout group. (The
    Scouting in my country is far more informal than the stereotypical image of a
    Boy Scout)

    When the new kids arrived to my unit, i noticed that one of those kids was a
    little angry, maybe he wasn’t trusting in us, or was thinking that all of that
    was a huge waste of time. He in fact, came without any preparation or previous
    Scouting movement experience.

    “He will be a huge problem” i thought.

    Then, i simply said to him: “Try to have an open mind, you never know when
    or where you’ll find an amazing person, or an incredible opportunity. Don’t let
    your prejudices blind you.”. I almost laugh because i’ve never been a role
    model and i had practically the same age.

    He stayed about a year or maybe two, and left the group after all. (Many of us
    participated for many years, 10 straight years in my case)

    Many years after, nearly seven years after, that “problem” becomes my
    inspiration. My role model, i really admire and need her determination. I
    really need it.

    And well, i still fight with anxiety and the damn bachelor
    thesis. But i suppose that you never know when or where your help can change
    someone’s life. Or vice versa…

  • Patrick J. Maloney

    In sales I learned over the years that to “Grant graciously what you cannot afford to refuse” was always very sound policy, both in the business and personal sphere.

  • birkeal

    When I was like 14 years old my brother once gave me a philosophical book to read. Its name was Siddhartha (from Hermann Hesse). I still think the whole book itself is a life inspiring read but there was one special line that I think is really outstanding:

    “Real knowledge cannot be achieved by following any kind of teachings. Only by making your own experiences.”

    Aside school I spent most of my time studying (mostly computer related stuff) on my own and one of the thoughts that kept me driving was the one from above. It somehow gave me an intrinsic motivation. I now also think that this resulted in the curiosity needed to found my first company at the age of 18 and my second one 5 years later. By the way, speaking of companies. @Tim: I hope we get an answer from Elon on this topic too. 😉

  • AntonijaN

    My friend told me a couple of years ago to not take myself seriously and to learn to laugh at myself.

  • Monica

    I had left high school, was working as a gardener and studying horticulture, I had totalled my car, and I was generally pretty bored and depressed with my life. My boss said to me, “You know what you should do? You should go backpacking. You need to leave the place of your childhood, just get a plane ticket somewhere, anywhere. You’ll find your way. And sometimes it’ll be shit. You know what you do when life is shit? TALK.”

    In amidst the daily bombardment of truisms that I find myself in, this was the most useful and practical advice I’ve ever received. One day I’d love to go back and have a beer with him. One day.

  • Garniergirl

    Eat after 8, put on weight!

    • jfenbauer

      it’s always 7:59 somewhere. usually that is in my house. 😉

  • Fiel

    When I was a child my coach told me: “A human being is like a jar of energy that has automatic fill-up functionality. But the trick is that you only get fresh energy when you first spend some of the old energy. What many people do is they wait for the fresh energy without first spending any. That way you don’t get any and instead the little energy you have will quickly spoil.”

  • Nola Wedeen

    For me it was a series of things … My father said one day – “Stop that … only a complete idiot is never afraid – the smart ones are afraid all of the time.” Then, about ten years later, I read a book titled “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. I finally got my tattoo that says “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” – positioned so that I can read it when I need to. Today I am living in Thailand, working as a librarian. In a couple of months I’ll be moving to Myanmar to teach Art. I’m terrified … but I’m loving my life!

  • Wendy

    From an uncle who was VP at Gillette years ago, when I was taking myself very seriously at age 18 and felt some of the duties of my part-time job did not make “sense” …

    “It all adds up”

    In academic advising, I’ve met many freshman age students who find themselves at a crossroads where their grades don’t make the cutoffs for admission to what-they-thought-they’d-pursue, and though their Plan B may still interest them greatly, they rue and regret that they are “not with the program” if their studies are not all in one, successful straight line on their resume.

    Not so! All the pieces of your experience make your story so interesting, nothing is a waste of time! A favorite story at work was about a Science student who switched into Illustration and Design – and went on to draw detailed anatomy images in textbooks for medical schools.

  • Katie M

    My dad told me that, way more important than any decision related to career, the person you choose to marry/commit to is the most important choice you’ll make in life. It’s not that I didn’t consider it an important decision before, but no one had framed it quite like that and it really sank in. Tim’s “How to Pick Your Life Partner” posts reinforced what he said. I’m still unmarried, but the societal pressure to pair up doesn’t get to me the way it used to because I know that no single decision will have a bigger impact on my overall happiness.

    • jfenbauer

      (after my divorce…) i heard this bit of wisdom: is this the person you would want to push around in a wheel chair for the rest of your life?
      i still would have married the guy i did, but i’m a sucker for a pretty face. ah well.

  • Kraye

    A history teacher in Kalispell, Montana, Mr. Furlong (funniest damn teacher I ever had) turned on a helluva light one day with, “Do you know what the price is for being here right now? Do you?!!!!” And he stomped around the front of the class for 10 or 15 seconds. I was totally mentally paralyzed. “The price you are paying for being here now is every other thing that you could be doing! Is it worth it?” I think that he would have really, really appreciated my standing up, gathering my shit up, and walking out. But, I was the new guy in class. Wanted to fit in. Only had him for that one class but damn, I miss his fire.

  • The CEO of my old company gave me some rock solid advice I took to heart (he was full of little nuggets of wisdom – I was his reverse mentor for a couple years).

    “Draw your line in the sand. People will respect you more for it. And if you don’t, someone else will draw it for you.” He used Sheryl Sandberg having dinner with her family every night as an example. (This was before Lean In came out – he made me buy a copy).

    It was timely advice. In my earnest interest to make a good impression, I was saying yes to everything without respecting my own personal boundaries/need to have a life. To hear this in the first year of my career was pretty powerful, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

  • Jimmy Cooper

    It’s the singer, not the song.

  • jamaicanworm

    From an entrepreneur: “Don’t get stuck evaluating risk in the short-term; also consider the long-term risk of regret. Sure, dropping everything to start a company may seem risky for the next few years; but what about the risk that you grow old and find yourself constantly saying ‘I wish I would have done that’?”

  • Penny Goodman

    Only take advice on marriage from people who’s marriages you admire.

    • jfenbauer

      i can give you all the advice you need on how to send a marriage straight down hill on a sled. 🙂

  • Lunadia

    Look both ways before crossing the street or the train tracks! This is pretty basic, I know, but it’s still the best advice I ever got and has served me well all my life.

    • Margling53

      And definitely look right in London.

  • Joseph Koné

    “Don’t waste your time or time will waste you” (From Muse’s Knights of Cydonia)

    And also a good recent one “Boredom indicates a lack of inner resources” (From last week’s episode of Game of Thrones actually)
    This one can seem pretty brutal but I think that capacity to find interesting things to do even in a boring environement is a good ability to have

  • Logan

    “Do what you gotta do.” – Umpa. Basically, everyone out there is doing what they gotta do for themselves which means I should be doing the same. Nothing personal, we’re all just doing what we gotta do. This mantra gives me so much patience with other people and allows me to make the choices I need to be happy.

    “Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.” – Not sure who said this first, probably somebody on Sesame Street. This is based on the simple principle that if you say it, it will be. I’ve started looking forward to difficult situations so that when I work my way through it I can say “Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.” This probably only really applies to first world problems, but here we are.

  • Alex

    “What goes around, comes around.” – my grandma Oma. This was a mantra of hers which referred to luck in cards (she was a ranked bridge player, though I usually played gin with her). But of course it applies to luck and life in general. It’s a very karmic belief, though my grandmother was a non religious Presbyterian. Still, I think it accurately describes a less spritual view of karma.

  • laura

    If by “stuck with you for a long time,” you mean “mulling over for the past weekend,” then I’ll go with the following advice: at my brother’s college graduation ceremony this past weekend, one of his peers was asked to give a short speech. She addressed the audience – and her fellow classmates – with a speech focused on the importance of visibility. She encouraged us to “make ourselves visible” in the professional choices and paths that we choose, and she argued that while visibility poses a duality – as there are both benefits and ramifications to being seen – it is important to implement. “What,” she asked, “is at stake if you refuse to become visible?”

  • Cine_dude

    “Take more risks” – Friend named Jeff

    I was still working things out with my life and I asked my friend Jeff (who’s much older than I) what he wished he had done when he was my age.

    He said he wished he took more risks. For some reason, that really hit hard. I guess it’s because I saw what his life was like and how he got there. I try every day to live with less and less fear and take more risks.

  • Karen Edgerton

    “They think you’re crazy. In 2 weeks they are going to commit you to the State Hospital forever. I know you can heal and succeed. Don’t let them win.”
    From a counselor at a treatment center almost 40 years ago after he snuck a look at my file. I faked ‘fine’ and in time both healed and succeeded. I always face a situation with the knowing ‘they’ are not going to win.

    • Mike South

      Holy crap! I’m so glad you got out! And what a cool story!

  • Vikram Kalra

    As a new parent, best advice I received was, “Kids become who you are.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      A lot of people fail to understand that the same goes for pets.

      • Vikram Kalra

        I and my dogs agree. By the way, I’m a huge King of the Hill fan. Huge.

        • Rusty Shackleford


  • Mattimore

    “Travel the world – and do it alone” – Tim Urban

    When I was in high school (I’ve now been out of college for 1 year), I had the fortune of having Tim as a tutor. I remember one day, Tim had just gotten back from a far away, solo adventure in I can’t remember where (Southeast Asia?). He was expounding to me about the value of travel, specifically travel done by oneself. “You’ll never meet as many interesting people” and “Traveling with friends is nice, but the experience won’t be as authentic or serendipitous as if you did it on your own.” [by the way, these are paraphrases, not actual quotes]. He then told me a story about a family of local villagers who spoke no English yet invited him to dine and stay at their home, and that that sort of thing would never have happened had he been traveling in a group.

    In college, I landed a research grant that allowed me to travel for a month in the mediterranean filming archaeological sites and interviewing experts and locals along the way. That trip completely changed my perspective on the world, and has influenced practically every decision I’ve made since then. I learned that people are pretty much the same at their core wherever you go (mostly good, some bad, all of them flawed), and that happiness is much more important than power or wealth.

    I’ve been reflecting a lot about Tim’s advice and how more people should know about it, since I’m heading to Patagonia for another solo backpacking adventure this Friday. Traveling alone can be lonely, but its also the most rewarding sort of exploration there is. Every decision is at your whim. You feel like a child, overhearing conversations with peaked interest, watching birds and squirrels intently, wandering all around. You learn a lot about yourself, and are often able to view your own life from a less biased and more holistic vantage point, which is huge if you’re in a transition stage like I am now.

    I’ve had lots of other good advice, but this one is easily actionable and is likely to have a direct and positive impact on your life as it continues to have on mine.

    • Jessica

      I love this advice.

    • Dane Harrington

      I love the advice and couldn’t agree more! I traveled for about 6 months last year and the 2 weeks of that I spent alone led to some of the best adventures. I’m heading down to Patagonia at the end of the year (likely solo), I’d love to hear all about it!

      • Mike South

        Hey! Maybe you guys could meet up! Oh wait…

    • Margling53

      Tim gave you good advice and you were smart to take it. When my son, now a college professor, was young, he dropped out of college, worked for a summer in the high-paid but grueling Alaskan seafood processing business. Then with the money he saved—no place to spend it—he took off for Europe alone and parlayed his small nest egg into more than two years in England and the continent. He fell in love, worked illegally in a Parisian bakery and a vineyard, tutored tennis, climbed mountains, stayed with many new friends (but sometimes slept under bridges), became fluent in French and conversant in a couple more languages. His later life was immeasurably enhanced and I, who had never had the guts to travel alone, got many vicarious pleasures from his letters and photos of his adventures on travels and fellowships.

    • Lauren Cockrell

      I would agree that for men, this is good advice. But perhaps not for women. My many experiences being sexually assaulted in Central America convinced me I always need a travel companion.

  • Lauren Damon

    Never underestimate the time it takes to think. -Frank Joyce

  • Jay24

    Loosen your grip.

  • Philip

    “No risk, no fun” – from my cousin when we were both young and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go swimming or not.

    “Plant like you are going to live forever, live like you are going to die tomorrow” – this won’t apply directly to most people but can be altered to apply. Plant can mean things like working for the future, saving money, and building relationships.

    And just the general, “admit if you are wrong”

  • Andrew

    “Pretend like everyone and everything is trying to kill you… and you’ll be fine.” – from my mentor in the commercial diving industry (underwater construction). Those words have kept me alive and with all of my fingers and toes for 8 years after I finished my apprenticeship to “break out” as a full time commercial diver.

    • Jenny

      The same advice I got from my dad when I passed my driving test and got in the car solo for the first time!

  • Nick

    From My Granny:
    “Maintain a well functioning bullshit detector”
    When we are confronted with something truly important and meaningful, doing the right thing is more or less a matter of following our intuition (aka rational decision maker). The difficult part is filtering through the drudges of the bullshit that modern society (and our Instant Gratification Monkey) is constantly inundating us with to get to the important things in life.

    • Mike South

      Trickiest part here can be realizing when you’re bullshitting yourself. “If I just had a gym membership, I would start exercising.” In my experience–nope, if you’re not already doing it with the resources you have, another purchase is not going to change that. Just one example.

  • IsAnyoneThere

    “The things I regret most in life are the things I didn’t do.”

    • Harbinger

      “The saddest tears are often shed, for things undone and words unsaid.”

      • IsAnyoneThere

        Well said!

  • DeeDee Massey

    “If at first you don’t succeed, keep on suckin’ til ya do suck seed.”
    -Curly, The Three Stooges

  • Rusty Shackleford

    “Time heals all wounds.”

    • James Anderson

      Time wounds all heels.

  • Amn’t

    It’s not the daily increase, but the daily decrease.

    -Bruce Lee

  • Yvonne

    “Whatever phase your child is going through- good or bad- it will pass”. For the past 8 years it is the only piece of unsolicited parenting advice that has had any value for me!

  • Bernardo Prum

    Success = Correct Decisions + Incorrect Decisions – Decisions you did not take.
    My friend Felix told me this during a bachelor party in Vegas

  • Dan B

    Never do anything for the money. If you do what you love, the money will come.

  • Verdun

    “Where the fear, there is your task.” – Carl Jung

    • Mike South

      Grab that spider! Quick!

  • OhJay

    “Let it go”

  • sportibus

    “The bus won’t wait for you”. My grandfather (who traveled a lot) based his life on that. He not only applied that to traveling, but to life in general. If you want to achieve something be sure not to be late. If you are early you can spend the time in a useful manner. (which is my way of creating time to use my ebook reader for once. When I get somewhere a bit early I just sit on a bench and read, those five minutes for yourself can make a difference). However, once the bus is gone, it’s gone and the next chance might take a while.

  • Chris

    “You don’t know if you like something unless you’ve tried it three times.”

    My dad told me this about a decade ago, and it’s always stuck. I’m pretty sure it was something he said in an attempt to convince me to eat my vegetables, but it stuck with me and it’s led to me giving different food, music, movies, and experiences enough chances to actually realize that there’s almost always enjoyment to be found in things that I didn’t like after the first pass.

    • Mike South

      Does this mean I have to watch Remains of the Day two more times? Please no? 🙂

  • El Chill

    “Opportunity presents itself to the prepared mind” – a college professor quoting someone.

    To me, this applies to many aspects of life. The most direct is in a professional capacity. Education, preparation, and experience allow you to recognize opportunities to advance – ones you would be completely oblivious to had you not encountered them before. In many ways, it’s about learning from your mistakes, and saying “These are the lessons I learned, and I will do better next time.”

    As an engineer, an opportunity will often present itself in the form of a problem to which I can offer a solution. Recognizing the problem is every bit as important. When the problem is not obvious, then you’re really on to something.

  • Nicholas

    Rule #1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

    Rule #2. It’s all small stuff

    Since as early as I can remember my father has met every problem or issue in my life with “Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff”! Then, one day, I saw the saying (written on one of those cheap signs usually found in novelty/souvenir shops) hanging in the basement of my grandparents house.

    Something so silly and simple has helped me through the trials and tribulations of daily life. Usually anything that happens that frustrates you or makes you mad in the moment is completely insignificant. If you stop to think about your reaction “woah, slow down: don’t sweat the small stuff” you will smile and be happy most of the time. I am also a huge fan of the ‘sleep on it’ advice which I think of as similar to my contribution.

  • Chick cop

    “The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.” As the child of parents who hang on to anything with sentimental value, I’ve found much freedom in living simply and making do with less. Its a beautiful thing.

  • I don’t mean to brown nose but, honestly, your procrastination posts changed my life. Not that I’m cured, but I just say to myself “Hey, future Francesca won’t want to do this either,” and 90% of the time I just do it then.

    • Mike South

      oo oo! How about “Overcome your fear of being thought of as a brown noser, and just say what is true”? 🙂

      In seriousness, though, I really like that you decided to go ahead and post. I’ll try implementing that too, now, and I wouldn’t have heard it otherwise.

  • Exorack

    “Do your future now, because later might be too late”

  • Lizzie

    “You won’t miss the money, but you’ll miss the experience.” -my mom, when helping me decide whether to spend all my savings on a college trip with a friend. She pointed out that several years down the road, if I went on the trip I wouldn’t think, “I wish I still had that $2,000,” but if I skipped the trip I’d probably think, “I wish I’d gone to Greece for a month after all.” I went, and she was right.

    • Dee Bleakley

      This is so true!! I say this to people all the time. Creating memories is what it’s all about. “Money comes and goes but memories last a lifetime.”
      I weirdly had an opposite situation whereby I had to convince my mum a few years back to splash about £1500 (weirdly around $2000) for a Florida trip. But it’s so true, at no point has she ever sat back and thought “Wish I had that £1500 back”.


    • Vinay Kapadia

      I was just talking to my friend, he’s asking my wife and I to go with them on a trip to Mexico. I was thinking about the money when I remembered this post.

    • Chiel Wieringa

      I’ve been (kinda) rich and didn’t like what I was doing. Now I’m broke as fuck but am happier then I was then. Don’t ever let money be a factor. Money is just an illusion made up bye filthy greedy rich wordmagicians trying to trick you into slavery. Though I admit it is a very lively illusion, it still is nothing more then an illusion.

  • cat

    don’t have sex with people you don’t actually like.

  • Nathg1611

    “Live together die alone” – Heard this from a friend and its stuck ever since.


    “Stay hungry stay focused” – Famous quote from Jobs speech to Stanford. My interpretation is that you should never let any one tell you that you cannot do something. Want it and focus on getting it.

    • Tempest

      Yup, born alone, die alone.

  • hepcatbflat

    you know those rare moments when who you are and who you want to be collide and you see yourself not in pieces… but like a line drawn to exactly where you’re standing? well… don’t step on it.

  • Dee Bleakley

    “If you don’t like your situation, you’ve only actually got three options/protocols:

    Protocol 1. Change it.

    If for whatever reason you can’t change it, go to…

    Protocol 2. Remove yourself from that situation.

    If for whatever reason you can’t change it AND you can’t remove yourself from that situation go to…

    Protocol 3. Accept it. Don’t moan, don’t cry, don’t complain. Do your best with the situation.”

    Great example of this system-being stuck in traffic.
    Can’t change it (cos you’re stuck in it)
    Can’t remove yourself from it (cos you’re stuck in it)
    So just accept it. Don’t angry or stressed about it. View it as a break. A part of your day you can relax, write a text, change a cd. Make the most of it.

    • istvan

      If people didn’t get angry, why would anybody want to improve shitty traffic? If it’s not a frustrating experience for you to sit in crappy traffic, what motivation do you have for finding better routes next day? You’ll be cool either way, won’t you?

      • Anonymous

        Anger is motivating. Yes. But…Timing is everything. Hold off anger. Hold off shame, regret, ‘why did I get myself into this’ questions. The alcoholics creed does this. It gets you to separate out what you can and can’t control so you don’t get anxiety. So you don’t reach for a bottle. ‘control what you can, accept the rest…wisdom to know the difference’. That kind of thing. It’s so good because it gives you a prayer of a chance to activate your frontal lobe for problem solving. Peace of mind. You have to stop kicking yourself long enough to be able to calm down. Then problem solving might be possible. There’s a movie about being lost in the Alaskan wilderness (The Edge) and Anthony Hopkins says ‘why do people die when they get lost in the woods? They die of shame’. Something like that.

      • Chiel Wieringa

        How would you improve shitty traffic when you are already in it? The next day you have learned and can avoid it, but when you are in it, there is no use in STAYING angry. Best to enjoy the moment.

        So GET angry to learn, but don’t STAY angry. You can’t learn that well when you are angry.

        • istvan

          I mean, if you don’t get angry, then it’s not a bad experience for you, so why change routes or suggest improvements to the local government next day? You know it will be a calm and fine experience, since you can manage your anger.

          I don’t mean you should be furious all the time just to have motivation to do stuff. I mean that emotional responses are okay. If a loved one dies, be sad. If someone is messing with you, get angry. If the house is on fire, be afraid, etc.

  • Annie

    “If fear is the only reason you’re making a choice, it’s the wrong choice.”

    Unless it’s running away from spiders. Spiders are always scary. Run. Run now.

  • AJ

    Don’t take yourself too seriously.

  • Chris

    I read this in a Quora post,

    “Don’t feel yourself into an action, act yourself into a feeling.”

  • Kanishk Saxena

    3 pieces of advice, actually:

    1. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

    2. “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself” Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen). Being self-competent is indeed the best reward one can give himself!

    3. “Choose your battles” – an advice by one of my ex-bosses has most certainly helped me prioritize things and people who matter amidst all the noise, both in my professional and personal life.

    • AGF

      I like your number 1. It is one of the best advices I´ve heard too, but probably the hardest one to follow. I know its true, and it makes sense, and I want to follow it. And yet sometimes I´m just to shy or scared to do something I know I will regret if I don´t (doesn´t make sense, but it happens). I woder why it´s so hard to just get up and do something sometimes–even when you think it over in your head and you know you SHOULD do it.

      For me, the same advice came from Ken Kesey, in “One Flew Over the Cookoo´s Nest”. Itas whe Chief who finally learned to “get of of the fog” and actually embrace life and face the consequences.

  • Gnarly

    If something feels wrong, it probably is.

    There’s a lot of wisdom here, but when I contemplate my own life, that’s my answer to Tim’s dinner table question. I’ve come to various crossroads in my time. When something hasn’t felt right but I’ve done it anyway… I’ve always ended up regretting it. And conversely, when something has felt wrong and I’ve taken a step back and reconsidered, I’ve always been glad that I did.

    Second best advice I’ve ever received: Smile more. Go around exuding a conviction that life is wonderful… and life will feel wonderful more often.

    • Mike South

      You don’t even have to know why. Sometimes (often) you can figure that out later. But “I don’t feel good about this, I’m not going to do it.” is a perfectly good reason to walk away.

  • Tempest

    -Never put anything on paper that you don’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper. – Dad and probably some other guy. This extends to the YouTube world now too. Particularily those FHRITP guys.

    -it’s just one file! – an old boss. Don’t burn bridges for a fleeting issue.

    • Tipsy

      I’m sure the Fuck her Right in the Pussy guys would put that on the front of the New York Times if they could. And I’d support them.

      • Tempest

        No completely clear on your meaning. That they should put FHRITP on the from page of the Times?

  • anonymous

    When I took financial math in college there were too many formulas to remember. When to use each one? A test was coming up and I panicked. My husband gave me great advice. It really worked and I aced every test using this method: He said “don’t sit staring at a test question, trying to think of the right formula to apply. Pick one. Any one that comes to mind. Write it down. Try to plug in the values. If it’s wrong, you’re critical self will quickly say ‘no no that’s not it’.” After one or -at most-two tries, the correct formula becomes obvious.

    • Mike South

      That’s really interesting! I remember a writer who said he didn’t get writer’s block. When he was trying to write a story and something else tried taking over his mind he would just put a square bracket in and start writing about that thing. Sounds like a similar principle.

    • Tipsy

      I like that.

  • Chris Thompson

    I can’t remember where I heard it however, “Only boring people get bored”.

    • Katie

      I think Betty Draper said that. She might have said that her mother told her that.

      • Kc Green

        It’s also basically the same as a quote from Harvey Danger’s song, Flagpole Sitta: “If you’re bored, then you’re boring.”

  • Scott

    A few years ago, a Dominican doorman in my apartment building was giving me relationship advice. He said, ‘Scott there’s an old saying, “don’t eat your own shit.”‘ I’m pretty sure he was misquoting “don’t shit where you eat”, but I found it to be great advice, and follow it everyday.

  • Trofot Gt

    when my grandfather was alive he was doing some housework and he asked me to bring his hammer. i said “i dont know where is it” he said “you didnt search for it”…directly answer from an unlettered, 80 years old man…

  • Chris

    “Act yourself into a feeling, don’t feel yourself into an action.”

  • AGF

    “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea”.

    • Mike South

      Confirmed. We could cure the dictatorship in North Korea by putting their leaders in the sea.

  • thetropicalpenguin

    if you never ask, the answer will always be “No”.

    – from the woman i want to be my wife

    • Mike South

      Have you asked her?

      • thetropicalpenguin

        ironically, no…haha

        • Mike South


          ( Just kidding, I realize there really is a right time and place. But still…you had better be keeping that advice in mind!)

          • thetropicalpenguin

            i am, i am! i have told her that i want to be with her long-term, though. i’ve made that intention clear from the start. that’s something haha

            • Donnadulcinea

              You ask her: you don’t wamt to marry me,right?
              And you’re done.

  • Georgia

    “Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes”. J.K. Rowling

  • AnnaQS

    “It is not important what they will think of you. It is important what you will think of them”.

    My friend gave me this most important piece of advice that did really change my life when I was stressing out before an important presentation to some CEOs about an important issue. The decision to be made was really important and I would try to convince them to make the right choice. I was a young professional, and a girl too. Since that advice I completely changed my attitude. I don’t care about opinions that people hold. I care about realistic outcomes of my work, and only this matters.

  • 陈允灏

    “Unless you discovered any new factor you failed to consider, never hesitate in the choice you make”
    It is an indeed very helpful advice for an indecisive person like me

    • Tipsy

      That’s a good one.

  • A Random College Student

    The philosophy of one of my math professors is to “turn your frustration into fascination.”
    I think this is very applicable in life as well as math

  • Mike South

    I once heard “If you are ever looking to be inspired and amazed, post a question on your [popular] blog asking people what the best advice they ever got was.”

    But seriously–you have some awesome readers. These pieces of advice and the stories behind them are truly inspiring.

  • rturner79

    I couldn’t agree more! After college I could have stayed in my hometown and taken over my father’s business but I REALLY didn’t want to live there. I gave up the easy way to make a bunch of money and moved to Vegas. Then Europe. Then Arkansas. Then Alaska! Then back to Vegas because I really loved it there. I only had a job lined up twice and it was only for convenience. I gave up a career to live a life instead. My resume looks insane but it’s the best choice I ever made. Now I’m happy and I love the place I live.

  • Harbinger

    “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.” – I’m sure everyone knows someone who refuses to change their opinions about something even the face of overwhelming proof.

    “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – I’ve known so many people who were convinced they couldn’t do something, or wouldn’t succeed, or some other such self-delusion, that they never even tried. I feel like a lot of those people probably will never know how close they were to their goals when they gave up.

    “Help many. Befriend some. Trust few.” – It might sound pessimistic at first, but really think about it.

  • Bela

    I had a particularly inspiring secondary school English teacher. On the last class we had with him in final year, his parting words of wisdom to us were –

    “don’t waste energy judging people negatively”

    At the time it seemed a bit anticlimactic. Not the inspiring stuff of Twain’s “cast off the bowlines” (which I also love and adhere to). But this wisdom of it has been borne out over time. Every time I find myself getting worked up by someone who is peripheral to my life, it comes to mind and I am a more peaceful person for it.

  • Miguel Bartelsman

    “Don’t take decisions when angry, don’t make promises when happy”

    I don’t know if it’s the best advice I’ve heard, but it has certainly been the most useful by far

  • Chris Young

    Some one told me the two things you must accept to have a happy life:
    1) everything changes
    2) nothing is fair

    They were right

  • Savannah

    Not really advice, more of a life lesson I guess –
    When I was younger I used to be pessimistic, depressed at times, many times cynical (not that I’ve lost my cynicism) but one day, I asked two friends (good friends) what they thought of me when they heard my name or just thought of me in general. Their answer? You’re really optimistic, you see the best in people and you’re always there. Granted, I didn’t really want to care what others thought of me but this changed me. I became happy. Living a hard childhood is never easy but to be told you appear happier than you think really lifts a person. I’ve been optimistic ever since. I see a problem or a challenge as an opportunity.

    If I’m not wrong, Ashton Kutcher said something like that at the Nickelodeon Teen Choice awards in 2013 – “Opportunity looks a lot like hard work”. He was right. I’ve never forgotten it.

  • Yoppy Halilintar

    My grandfather once said, “Never stop learning.”

  • Zimm

    My father once said to me, “the man has to be flexible in a relationship” years later I’m seeing the truth of that!

  • PissBoy

    My dad said “Speak as though you’re correct. But always listen as if you’re wrong.”

  • WMcNTerry

    Dont be an idiot. Changed my life. Whenever I’m about to do something I think, “Would an idiot do that?” And if they would, I do not do that thing.

    • Cali Fornia Cat

      This is original. Ha! : D

  • Chiel Wieringa

    I’m usually the one giving advice because people ask me but I really suck at it (it might be that that’s the reason they ask me). So my advice would be: don’t listen to people giving you advice 😀

  • Chris Kirchenbauer

    First piece of advise: My father wasn’t one to pass out a lot of career advice, but this one I still pay attention to: “Live east of where you work.” He didn’t. It came from his experience driving into the morning sun and into the evening sun for 35 years. At least I’ve succeeded in never living west of where I’ve worked.

    Second piece of advise: When faced with a decision, big or small. “What will you wish you would have done in XX years?” It falls along the same lines of regretting what you didn’t do more than what you did. I kinda came up with this one on my own. One morning at work, about 20 years ago, I was offered free US Open Golf practice round tickets. It was a really busy day and I had a lot to do that day. I asked myself what I will wish I would have done one year from now? The time frame is more a function of the importance of the decision. I used the tickets and vividly remember watching Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Woody Austin walk up the 18th fairway together. I’ve shared this advice with as many people who would listen.

  • Surjit Grewal

    On the whole, world is beautiful, it depends on you, what you are looking for. My father used to say, if you are alone and sad in the evening , call someone for dinner , enjoy the evening, it is much cheaper in the long run.
    Dinner should have the main ingredient LOVE, not show of the richness.


  • Aletta

    No matter how far you’ve gone down the wrong road, turn back.

    I saw that on a bumper sticker, and it gave me courage to do something icky. Now I think about the person driving that car, and I wonder if they know how profound their butt was to me that day.

  • Amy

    “Grasp all, lose all.”

    Read it on the internet somewhere. I have a habit of trying to do too much, this short saying reminds me that you can’t do everything, and if you try you will actually not be able to do anything. If you want to be effective, you have to decide what is actually a priority and let go of the rest.

  • Carliam

    work place/life…….theirs no danger when you can see danger, but if you cant see danger, boy……….
    relationships……you cant clap with one hand
    life…look at it first but don’t buy it…give your self a day and in most cases you wont by it because you don’t really need it

  • Cali Fornia Cat

    Actually, I keep a list of good advice I’ve been given. A couple favorites:

    (Dad) “What’s the worst that can happen?” When I’m afraid to do something. Once I’ve faced that (and calculated how I would problem-solve if it did), I can often go forward.

    (Robert S.) When overwhelmed with life and Things To Do, he says, “Sometimes you just have to do the next right thing.” You can’t worry about everything at once. You’re capable of one activity at a time. Similar to the prayer that says, “Lord, I don’t need to see the path, I just need light for the next step.”

    (This blog) “Pick a Winner.” and “No ‘builds a house.’ They lay one brick again and again and again and the end result is a house.”

    (Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, and Greene’s Mastery) Re: social intelligence: People aren’t thinking about you; they’re thinking about themselves. If you want to get along in life, be interested in people. If you want to persuade people, let them know what’s in it for them, not how it will help you. [Side note: I started reading Mastery around the same time I discovered the Procrastination Blogs; the brick laying advice goes hand in hand with this great book.]

    (can’t recall) “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” When trying new ideas at work (no, I don’t work in health care).

    Welp, gotta go lay a brick now.

  • Cody O’Brien

    This is far too late, but I just found this.

    From an uncle that I had little respect for, and from whom I never thought I could learn anything:

    “No matter what you think of someone or how they may seem, you can learn something from everyone. Instead of focusing on what you think of them, find out what you can learn from them.”

  • Delly

    This is not so much advice that I’ve received, but something I came up long ago.
    ‘Straightfoward is the only way forward’
    So, in the words of the novella Alice in Wonderland
    ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’.

  • Christina

    “How you do one thing, is how you do everything” – learned from my yoga training. Bad behavior, even small things, define you. Good reminder to try, try to always be good.

    “People can always say no” – from the book, the Defining Decade. You might as well ask. You might be surprised how often you hear “yes”.

    (Ironic that this is next, given what I just wrote above) – “Don’t just reach out to people in your life because/if you need something. Reach out to people, once in awhile, simply to check-in and say hi.” – A VP in my company

    “Speak less, listen more” – A coach gave me that advice, and it’s been really helpful for me, as I work on patience.

  • Paul

    Calculus Teacher: The worst that can happen is that you’ll be wrong.

  • Cameron Holder

    My favourite quote (although I’ve never been able to find out who it is attributed to) “Learn from other people’s mistakes, you don’t have enough time in your life to make them all yourself.”

  • Millifly

    Que Sera Sera

  • ANON

    Spend less, save more, be able to live without working within 10 years.

  • neroden

    Take more risks.

    Of course, this only applies to me; I’m naturally risk-averse. For most people it would be terrible advice.

  • Yaroslav

    everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough. – Richard Feynman

  • Lauren Cockrell

    My mom often told me, “Life is not easy.”

    My father’s best advice: “You can do anything for a year.”

    I often hear these words in my head when enduring something challenging or painful or difficult. I expect life to be tough but know I can handle it, at least long enough to find a better path.

  • Iris Stephen

    Have to be corny for a moment, but here goes:

    ‘We’re all born naked, and the rest is drag’

    I find it helps me to see people as separate from the roles they occupy in society. It also helps me to find my feet in a new role at work, or wherever else – I dress the part, think ‘showtime’, put on a big smile and dive in.

    • Iris Stephen

      And, when things get dire, I go to Rohrschach: ‘I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!’

  • Bendariaku

    “Be yourself.”

    That technically was the best advice. Well, not anymore. Other than that, that’s all I know.

  • alrey

    For some reason, I cant think of anything.

    Maybe because if someone gives me an advice, I analyze and make some adjustments on it (because if you follow it all the time, it may not be good). It’s good to know when to apply it and to whom to apply it if applicable.

    So far, believe, no one has given me yet a good, complete advice with implementation guidelines 🙂 hahaha

    But if I have to choose one — Learn to say No

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