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

I kind of suck at taking advice. I am better at reinventing the wheel, because dammit, I’ll make my own wheel my own way.

This can be a lovely trait, but let’s be honest: sometimes, it can be a stupid one. I know this well as a parent and teacher. I have watched children, teens, and young adults plow headlong into disasters of varying scale that could have been prevented had they Just Listened to the voice of experience.

I’ve gotten a lot of good advice from my mom: “This isn’t your last chance to eat cheesecake,” she once told me, and I pull that one out all the time when I can’t make a choice or I really want something I shouldn’t have just then.

When I couldn’t choose between two gorgeous wedding dresses she said, “If you like them both, you can’t make a bad choice.” Another one I use a lot.

I recently heard a friend say to his son, “Don’t say ‘no’ to something you want.” So true. I don’t know if it’s the girl or the midwesterner or the shy person (or lazy person) in me, but I say no way too often.

Funny how great advice often seems obvious when you look at it later.

One of my favorite pieces of advice was not for me, but for Lisa Simpson. Lisa, with whom all former nerdly 2nd grade girls can identify, has a substitute teacher who likes her, who gets her. He gives her some hope that somewhere there’s a place for girls like her, and then, too soon, he leaves. He leaves her with a piece of advice that gets me to this day, written on a note that he hands to her as his train pulls away (see left).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard? Who gave it to you?

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About mina

Like a rock: sometimes hard, sometimes crumbly, occasionally brilliant, sometimes dense.

Posted on July 23, 2011, in advice, questions. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have no idea! lol My inner perfectionist is currently battling with my inner hermit for who will win this argument, and all the while, I’m think that everyone will judge me. 😉
    I think the best advice I’ve ever *wanted* to receive is to simply not care what others think. I spend way too much time caring about that, and it’ seriously hampered my efforts to do cool stuff with my life.

  2. Great post! Honestly the only good advice I can think of at the moment is stuff I have read in books. My favorite is Emerson. His essays opened my mind to new ways of thinking. Recently I have found myself recalling words by Pema Chodron. She is amazing at phrasing Buddhism into understandable language.

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