What's One Of The Best Pieces Of Life Advice You've Received?

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Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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What's One Of The Best Pieces Of Life Advice You've Received?

Learning lessons via the School of Hard Knocks is always painful and often slowly-paced.

If we're wise, we take care to seek the counsel of those more experienced than we, and listen hard to what they have to tell us.

Heeding their advice can help us avoid major mistakes, damaged relationships, lost precious time -- and even put us on the fast-track to prosperity.

"Never go to bed angry at your partner". "Spend less than you earn and invest the difference." "Take calculated risks, but not too many at once." -- these are all examples of pearls of wisdom that will benefit those willing to follow them.

I'd like to start aggregating some of the "top hits" of this kind of life wisdom.

What's some of the best advice you've received in life?

Let us know in the Comments section below.


travissidelinger's picture
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From babies to politicians

"From babies to politicians, life is not about right or wrong, it is about what you can get away with.  And it's your job to make sure your neighbor isn't getting away with TOO much."


I love this statement because it explains so many human interactions.  Now I'm not advocating for global selfishness.  On the contrary, I am right there with Chris saying that either we move to living sustainably or this global human experiment will have a bad outcome.  However, most people will gladly burn that last barrel of oil while pointing a finger at neighbors and saying it's their fault.

Grover's picture
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Choose Wisely

The most important decision you'll ever make in your life is "who will be the other parent of your children?"

Locksmithuk's picture
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Get it in writing

I think it was Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes To Hollywood who said once in an interview that the best advice he'd been given was "Get it in writing".


Turns out it's pretty good advice. I think back to a lot of times in my personal life and in business when I've been grateful to have had things signed & sealed. I've watched a few fair messy situations as a sideline observer, where things have gone horribly wrong in a he said / she said entanglement.


Then there were some others from some publication I read somewhere about 50 bits of advice from an 80-year old. My favourites were:

1. Choose your life mate carefully.  From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery

2. Be modest.  A lot was accomplished before you were born

3. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them

4. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job might seem to be

5. Don’t expect life to be fair

6. My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am

7. Never miss a good chance to shut up

8. [Particularly appropriate for our times]: I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts

9. If you start thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering someone else's dog around

Yoxa's picture
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Be Proactive

Wisdom from my grandmother:

You'll have regrets over things you shouldn't have done, but you'll have deeper regrets over things you should have done but didn't. Err on the side of action!

dcm's picture
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“If you’re going through

“If you’re going through hell, keep going” - Churchill 

Hotrod's picture
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Sex advice from my Father

My Dad, who was a man of few words when it came to me and anything to do with sex said this, Never have sex with anybody you wouldn't marry."  I thought it was pretty corny at the time, but the older I get, the wiser he becomes.

suziegruber's picture
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the journey

The journey is more important than the destinatiom.

suziegruber's picture
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the journey

The journey is more important than the destinatiom.

Barnbuilder's picture
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Buy Once, Cry Once

Quality is an essential factor of anything material that you purchase. Get the best and maintain it. Have cheap knock offs for secondary uses.

LesPhelps's picture
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Do The Math

Dr. Albert Bartlett

thc0655's picture
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The hard way

The hard way is always easier.

thatchmo's picture
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If you place your nose upon

If you place your nose

upon the grindstone, rough

And hold it down there long enough

You'll soon forget there are such things

as brooks that babble and birds that sing

And your whole world

will just then compose

of you, the stone, 

and your ground-down nose.


I think I may have posted this years ago here.  Author unknown to me. 

Or, as Edward Abbey sayeth:

"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."

SagerXX's picture
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Stop bitching....

...about the wave you're on.  Focus instead on surfing it magnificently.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Draft Horses

My grand father is farming the family farm with a new 1929 tractor, he is stopped by his father who has just come from town.(they only went to town a few times a year)

"Son, I've just come from town and I think you better get the mare settled."


LesPhelps's picture
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suziegruber wrote:

The journey is more important than the destinatiom.

When you get there, you find out there is no there there.

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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"Don't complain, it doesn't

"Don't complain, it doesn't do any good and nobody likes it."

Somewhat self-explanatory, but once you put complaint aside, you can apply your wit to solutions. I learned this from a friend and mentor when I was in my early 20's and it changed the way I think.

"Timing, Tact, and Dosage."

In dealing with people, you have to be certain they're of a mind and disposition to hear the message, deliver it in such a way that it'll be gracefully received, and without laying it on too think (or thin). A guidance counselor gave me this advice before kicking me out of school, and it stuck with me from that point on.

"Fail fast."

We all fail. Most of life is bumping into the walls a bit trying to figure out which way to go. The more quickly you can assess the points of failure, the faster you can find solutions and develop knowledge that's based on experience. Don't dwell on failures, find them quick, and learn from them without losing extra time.

These are some of my favorites. Great idea for a thread, Adam.



Mohammed Mast's picture
Mohammed Mast
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Bobby McFerrin

Don't Worry Be Happy

SingleSpeak's picture
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Git er done

"If you've got a frog to swaller, don't stare at him too long. If you've got two frogs to swaller, swaller the biggest one first." (variaton of Mark Twain quote)

thatchmo's picture
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You were given 2 ears and one mouth for a reason.

westcoastjan's picture
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Regarding effort...

From a favourite uncle, when I was leaving home at 21, moving out west:

"I don't care what you do with your life. You can become a shit shoveller if that is what you want. Just make sure that you are the best damn shit shoveller that ever lived!"

All he wanted to convey was try hard and always put forth your best, honest effort, no matter what you do. To do so is to walk through life with integrity.


Broadspectrum's picture
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Advice From Frank Zappa

Hi All,

In the field of romance, in the lyrics to his song, "Find Her Finer", which is in regards to the proper way to approach a lady and impress her in order to win her heart, Mr. Frank Zappa advises: 

"Don't never let her know you are smart.

The universe is no place to start. You gotta play it straight from the heart"

Well, I think that is good advice because coming from the heart encourages the best results for a new relationship. A couple can talk about the universe after getting to know each other a little bit.  What do you think?


macro2682's picture
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Posts: 576
Time with kids...



When your son graduates high school, you have already spent 93% of your in-person time with them. 


Childhood is precious.  Every minute counts.


One more visual to represent how short life is... below is what 90 years looks like on paper each o is one year:








Thats it... that’s your entire life. 


Im 36, which means I have about 50 summers left. 

apismellifera's picture
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From a farmer

Wendell Berry:

"To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”

(It's especially meaningful to me as someone who loves farming, especially the livestock piece.)

apismellifera's picture
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And on investing


The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

(I rephrase this one as "In investing, being early is the same thing as being wrong," which is something I've unfortunately learned the hard way over the past ten years!)

Wayne Grow's picture
Wayne Grow
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Only love

I’m fond of this one from the cheesy Johnny Depp movie Don Juan:
“There are only four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same: only love.
Don Juan DeMarco”

killerhertz's picture
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Just do it

"Don't let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow so just do it!"

This was taken from the inspirational satirical speech performed by Shia LaBeouf. But in all seriousness I've been overwhelmed at times having two young boys and a new house. I've had so many projects and so little time due to family commitments, all with this giant gray cloud of socio-economic dread hanging over us.I've found that making good decisions soon (maybe not the optimal/best) and breaking down large projects into small ones has enabled me to get stuff done, resulting in a lot more fulfillment and less procrastination and anxiety.

VeganDB12's picture
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"Tell the truth"

I was instructed by 2 very successful and vastly different people, one a pacifist, the other a true warrior.

Their points were the same:

1. it is easier to remember

2. it saves time

ecb's picture
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Posts: 21
Pearls of wisdom

From the farmer: Never whip a borrowed team (of horses).

As a citizen: There's no such thing as a little bit of zoning.

To the overtalkative: Give your ears a chance.

To the argumentative: It's not what you say, but how you say it.



Uncletommy's picture
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Posts: 668

As Bernard Baruch said when asked how he made his millions:

"I always sold too soon!"

karenf's picture
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My 2 cents

When I had cancer in my 30's I thought to myself that at least I would learn the secret of life by having faced death.  At the end of it what I had learned was  - live each day as if it was your last - ... but that eventually did not cover it because I didn't die.  I still needed to plan for the future forgo gratification and not waste money BUT I also needed to make sure that all my relationships were in a place of - nothing left unsaid - because on any given day it could be your last. 


I wanted to recommend The Daily Stoic to your readers.  It has wonderful daily wise posts that touch on variations on these themes. 



The wrong thing to take from the Stoic exercise of Memento Mori is that you should live today like it’s your last day on earth. The problem with that approach is that it excuses too much reckless behavior. You’ve seen the movies--an asteroid is coming and so everyone freaks out and acts like a lunatic or a libertine.

The point, Seneca says, is to live each day like it’s your whole life. His line was that he “balanced the books of life each day.” Meaning, he lived fully every 24 hours, neither rushed nor indolent, deferring nothing and doing nothing superfluous or unnecessary either. In modern terms, he was taking it day by day.

Too many people waste their time thinking about the future or trying to maintain the past. That was not Seneca. “I don’t, by Hercules, grab at [the day] as though it were my last one,” he says, “but I look upon it as though it could be my last.” What’s the distinction? It’s about being fully present in the moment, indifferent to whether there’s more or less to come tomorrow because, as we know, tomorrow is never guaranteed. “I enjoy my life thus far,” he said, “because I don’t spend too much time measuring how long all this will remain.”

And so we should do the same. This could be the last email we read. The last lunch we eat. The last quiet afternoon with a friend. Enjoy it. All of it. Completely. Live a full life today and if you’re lucky enough to make it through to tomorrow, do the same thing again


This is one of my favorite posts:



It was announced in late May that the remains of the great poet Samuel Coleridge were finally rediscovered, having been lost for nearly six decades. Coleridge, one of England’s most beloved poets (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, and Dejection: An Ode) had originally been buried at the chapel of Highgate School but his remains were re-interred in St. Michael’s Church, in 1961. Yet despite his enormous fame and the relative recentness of the move, the location of the remains were forgotten about by church officials, bricked over and lost.

It’s a humbling lesson for anyone who chases fame and renown, one that fittingly calls up three verses from an English peer of Coleridge’s, Thomas Grey, in the poem “Elegy Written in a Country Courtyard.”

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,

Awaits alike th' inevitable hour.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault

The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,

Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death? 

All paths to glory lead to the grave and, in this state, all are made equal again. As Marcus Aureliuswrote, “Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died and the same thing happened to both. They were absorbed alike into the life force of the world, or dissolved alike into atoms.” It doesn’t matter your reputation, how famous you are, how many readers you have, how much money you have -- when you pass from this earth you are no longer important and eventually you will be forgotten. So what good is being self-important and greedy while you’re alive? Marcus Aurelius himself was buried not in his own vault, but in the vault of Hadrian, and then when Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, his remains were lost forever.

It’s the cycle of life and Marcus had prepared himself for this. He didn’t chase posthumous fame because it didn’t matter to him. What he cared about--what we need to care about this morning and today--is the good he did while he was alive. He cared about the present moment because it is the only thing that matters.

The same is true for you right now.

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