5 Thoughts That Can Get You Through (Almost) Anything
Collected over a lifetime, advice to keep you moving forward.
Posted May 6, 2015
I’ve been given a lot of advice in my life, some good, some bad, most forgettable, and some…outstanding. I’ve previously written about one unforgettable piece of "advice" (it wasn't exactly advice) from my father. Now I'm adding 5 more nuggets to the list. The words of wisdom below are so concise and powerful that I find myself reciting them in my mind at least a few times a week. See if you feel the same way.
As I wrote down these 5 gems to share with you, I realized they all had some common elements. Maybe you’ll pick up a pattern as you read. If not, I’ll reveal it at the end.
1. “Do what makes you feel best about yourself.”
A friend once gave me this advice. I took it to heart as a reminder to live up to my own values whenever possible. When your life is in sync with your values, you have peace of mind.
2. “Just do the best you can.”
The mother of a friend of mine gave her this advice. Thanks to this gem, my friend works hard but never feels compelled to be perfect. I’ve adopted this advice as one of my own personal mottoes.
3. “Set your own standards and work up to them.”
This piece of advice, offered by my partner, reminds me to…well, first of all, HAVE some standards, and, second, work up to—or in some cases, down to—them. I’ve also learned that I don’t have to have high standards for everything, just the few things of vital importance to me.
4. “Do what makes sense to you.”
This advice, also from my partner, might be my favorite. For a lot of tasks, chores, and choices, there is no one right answer or one right way to go. “Do what makes sense to you” helps you cultivate judgment and problem-solving skills. Whether you are making a large or small decision, this motto can strengthen your unique ways of meeting life's challenges.
5. “Welcome mistakes and learn from them.”
I learned this from life and from my psychology reading (with a particular nod to the research of Carol Dweck). When I was younger, I didn’t have the courage to take risks and bounce back from failure. I was too concerned with protecting my ego. As I've matured, I’ve learned that a mistake is just Reality’s way of teaching you something important. (But it’s up to you to figure out what that important thing might be.)
Did you pick up the common threads? All of these advice nuggets help you explore your own identity, rather than directly tell you what to do. This kind of advice strengthens the self and gives you confidence to make future decisions based on what you’ve learned has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. As Socrates said, “Know thyself.” This advice gives you the ways and means to do just that.
Readers, what's the best advice you’ve ever received?
© Meg Selig
For how to help your friends without giving direct advice, see here.
I am the author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success (Routledge, 2009). For more on peace of mind, happiness, habits, and willpower, click below my photo and follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter. Click above my photo on the word "Changepower" to scroll through all my blogs.