By the time you’re 40ish, or been around long enough, you’ve been on the receiving end of tons of advice — some good, some not so good or at least not applicable to your life. I thought that I would compile some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. Maybe you’ll gain something from these “words of wisdom” too.
- “Never get into credit card debt” – My Mom, delivered in such a severe and foreboding tone that I didn’t even ask her why and I never racked up any debt)
- “If your kids fall or bump into something and you know they’re not hurt, just distract them. ” – Male co-worker. This tactic also works if they’re fighting over toys or cry for no reason. You can distract them with funny faces, loud noises or other shiny toys.
- “You can only change your reaction to people.” – A friend, after hearing me complain one too many times about the same people.
- “Money buys freedom.” – I can’t remember who said this but I think it was a rock musician.
- “Don’t lean back ahead of time“ – Wandering Scientist, who has written a million good posts about balancing work and motherhood. Lots of practical tips as well as thoughful posts. I’ve written about this too and the most important thing is to not feel guilty.
- “Forget balance. Choose Flexibility” – The Happiest Mom blog. This is good advice for anyone with interests outside of work.
- “If someone tries to abduct you, fight back and don’t let them take you away to an isolated place.” – High school teacher, to the whole class. This stuck with me because it had no context in terms of the school subject. This teacher was also male and he was so sincere and heartfelt that it made me take more notice for some reason. I now wonder if he experienced any personal tragedy.
- If you only have a few minutes to clean before guests arrive, clean the bathroom (clean toilet, wipe sink, quick sweep of the floors). Drop an Alka Seltzer in the toilet bowl.” – Probably a Martha Stewart or Real Simple magazine tip, i.e. clean what people will notice most.
- “To find a good, affordable restaurant in a foreign country, take a peek inside and see if most of the customers are local. If yes, it’s a good bet the food is authentic and reasonably priced.” — Rick Steves, of the PBS travel series. That’s not an exact quote but I followed this advice in Europe and it really made a difference in my travel experiences.
- “Focus on your strengths.” I forget where I read this but as someone who tend to focus on improving my weaknesses, this was a bit of a revelation. While I do continually try to improve myself, I do my best work when I take on projects that play to my strengths.
- “Rock your baby up and down with energy, like this.” – A Nurse, who showed us that many babies prefer a vigorous up-and-down rocking motion rather than the gentle back-and-forth motion. It sounds strange and sometimes it felt like our babies were hanging on for dear life, but it worked!
Advice is a funny thing. After I wrote down the above list, I realized that most of the advice I take to heart come from strangers or acquaintances (blogs, books, famous people), not people I’m close to in real life. I don’t know if that’s common or if I’m more dismissive of advice I hear from family and friends, or if most advice given are nothing more than well-meaning clichés.
Another thing about advice is that timing comes into play. Sometimes two people can give you the exact same advice, phrased differently, and you just don’t pay attention until you’re ready to hear it.
What are some unforgettable, and good, advice you’ve received or read somewhere?