How to live with a human mind.

A Bit of Good Advice

What advice has spared you heartache, wasted time, and sundry troubles?

I love good advice. Why? Because I love efficiency. Good advice spares me from costly, inefficient mistakes that other people have already made, freeing me to make my own spectacular, brand-new mistakes. Of all the advice I’ve received, this is my favorite:

He who walks among poopies gets poopies stuck to him.

It’s a nice reminder to choose friends and associates wisely, lest their metaphorical poopies end up in your backyard. It also warns of the need for situational awareness. Sometimes life's poopies aren't metaphorical.

Here's another one, courtesy of my dad:

Keep your workspace clean.

I'm the kind of guy who can absent-mindedly set aside a tape measure when I'm working, then spend five minutes hunting for it the next time I need it. Those little five-minute intervals add up, they're distracting, and they hurt the outcome. But if you think of the workspace as part of the job, investing a few minutes here and there to clean and organize as you go, there will be a lot less cursing.

One more, courtesy of my mom:

Pay a little extra toward your mortgage each month.

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Search for a mental health professional near you.

If you have a mortgage, do yourself a favor and look at your amortization schedule. Ask your lender if you don't know what that is. Applying a few extra bucks to the principal each month magically reduces total interest, increases equity, and shortens the length of the loan. Soon, you could be like me and own 12% of a middling-quality tract home.

I want to hear the best advice you have ever received. Let’s share it with the world, or at least the people who stumble in this direction. Please go here and hit me with your best advice about life. I’ll compile your thoughts into a special new project, and I'll post it here. Thanks in advance, and remember:

If you ever find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

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woman's guide to how men think
Shawn Smith is a psychologist in Denver, Colorado and the author of The Woman's Guide to How Men Think and The User's Guide to the Human Mind.

(This post originally appeared at

Shawn Smith is a licensed psychologist in Denver, Colorado.


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