The Best Life Advice I’ve Ever Gotten


“If you could only give someone one piece of advice, from something that you had to learn the hard way, what would it be and how did you learn it?”

I’ve been asking people this question for years. I used to go around with a tin lunchbox filled with Hershey’s Kisses and trade people, “A piece of advice for a piece of chocolate.”

I told them I was doing it for a school project.

I wasn’t.

I just wanted to learn.

Remain open.
Open to opportunity. To love.
To vulnerability.

Be open to compliments.
Even though those are sometimes hard to take.

Accept them. Gracefully. And as truth.
Because others see things in you that you cannot.

Others see beauty in you.
That you cannot.

Because you can never truly view yourself. Can you?

The way you really look.
The way you really are.

You see your reflection in a mirror. A window. A photo.
You never see yourself.

You can never see yourself.
The way I see you.

Don’t force things.
Try to breathe.

Water rests in cupped hands. The moment you make a fist, it escapes.

What is meant to happen, will.
If it’s meant to happen, it will.

If he is meant to come back to you, he will.

Whether you are currently standing or have fallen,
You’ve grown.

You’ve grown up.

And that’s a beautiful thing. That you’ve grown.
Because growing can be painful,
But it is a process that allows you to look at things.

From a higher vantage point.

Remember that the sun always shines behind the clouds.
All it takes is the spinning of the world
Or a gust of wind.

And, if it’s going to rain anyway,
You might as well dance.

Some days you thrive.
Some days you just survive.

Both are valid.

But know, with certainty, that both shall pass.

Try to love yourself.
Or at the very least, while you’re working on that,
Be kind to yourself.

Stop calling yourself names.
Stop putting yourself down.
Be kind to yourself.

For who on this earth is more deserving of your kindness?

Know that the cliché is true;
Sometimes the smallest things are the greatest.

And the most exciting memories
Are the days
That everything went wrong.

Stop searching for the meaning in life.
Look for the meaningless in life.

Because everything that is really important
Is in the details.

It’s okay to question.

Because life?
It doesn’t make sense.

Just, sometimes people who question get tired of questioning.
Due to disappointment
From the lack of answers.

The problem is the thinking
That they need answers.
That they’ll grow from answers.

The answers aren’t the interesting part.

It’s the questions.

They are your driving force.
They are the reason that this world is changing.
That people are moving.

Keep thirsting for more.

But also realize that you have enough.

In your book of life, focus on the page you’re on.

Yes, know how much more you have to accomplish,
But more importantly,
Remember how much material
You have already covered.

You’ve gone through hell to get where you are.

Respect that about yourself.

You are never lost.
You may not be where you thought you would be at this point.

But you are not lost.

You are meant to be
Right here.

Open your eyes to those who have less than you.
And give.

Give accordingly.
Tip liberally.

$2 may mean much more to the taxi driver
Than it means to you.

That Apple may mean much more to that guy on the street corner
Than it does to you.

And food tastes better
When it’s shared.

If you can share neither money nor food:
Share wisdom
Share faith
Share kindness.

All gifts
Make a difference.

You don’t need to stuff yourself
Because children are starving in Africa.

But children are starving in Africa.
And in your country.
And in your state.
And in your city.
And maybe in your block.

So just… Eat.

And know,
With surety,
That you are blessed.

Don’t just feel gratitude towards others:
Express it.
Say it.
Write it.

Communicate it.

Eulogize people while they’re alive.
So you’ll never have to look back and say,
“I wish I’d have told him… What he’d done for me.”

Show those you love
That you love them
With your words.
With your actions.

Tell them over and over until they look back at you and say, ‘I know.’

Don’t just hear,

When others speak to you,
They’re communicating more than sentences.

Know that the way she is acting
May have more to do with her
Than you.

She may just be tired.
Or have had a hard day at work.

She may not know how to tell you
That she needs space.

Know that your way of giving
May not be someone else’s way of receiving.

Give accordingly.

Don’t just talk,

Let others know what you’re thinking.
Whether you’re looking for them to listen or to try to help.
Be very explicit.

Because even if you think
That you’ve been ridiculously clear.

People can be stupid.

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Know that healing takes time:
Broken hearts.
Broken bodies.
Broken spirits.

They take time.

Allow yourself time.
Gift yourself time.

Because in six months, this will be six months ago.

Will this matter
Five years from now?

If not,
Let it go.

Know your worth:
You are valuable.

Not your function.
Not your body.

You are not your career.
You just have one.

Some numbers are vitally important.
Your dress size is not one of them.

How you look matters.
How you feel matters even more.

You are not as fat as you think you are.

And, even if you are,
So what?

You’re good for cuddles.

Never let skinny be your goal.

Strive to be healthy.
And love your body.

Your body is an instrument.
Not an ornament.

Trust yourself:
It’s okay to go out.
It’s ok to stay home.
It’s okay to go the artistic route or the sciency one.

Be confident in your choice.
Because you know.

People will indeed judge you.
And then they’ll forget.

Because people are like goldfish.
They remember things for three seconds.
While it’s news.

And then they go home.
And move on to their own lives.

In the end,
They don’t actually care how you wear your hair.
Or what career you’re in.

And remember,
Fitting in is an imaginary concept.

None of us fit in.

There is no norm.

Not everyone is going to like you.
And that’s ok.

You’re not going to like everyone.

Realize that you are different people.
With different skill sets.

(Obviously this other person is unskilled at interacting
With other people.
But that’s ok.
He’s probably great at fishing.
And the world needs good fishermen).

Find something that is yours:
A concept.
A thought.
A message.
A skill.

And own it.
Immerse yourself in it until it courses through your very veins.

That is learning.

Believe in something.

Even though that thought may terrify you
Because that trust may be violated.

And you will fall.

Trusting others can be dangerous.
But not trusting others can be more so.

Because you’ll spend life
Looking over your shoulder.

And holding your own hand.

Be careful when speaking about others.
Words may not be sticks. Or stones,
But they can consume
Like wildfires.

Be amazed by your body now.
By your power of vision.
By your ability to jump.

By the fact that you possess a brain
Which effectively translates neurological signals
Into words.

Appreciate these things now.

While they’re easy to take for granted.

Health is a superpower.

It never too late
To start over.

Let today be your new beginning.
Let now be your restart.

Just because you’ve messed up,
Doesn’t mean it’s over.

Collect yourself.

And take a step.

Journeys happen
Step by slow agonizing step.

One at a time.

That’s the only way a journey happens.

Little by little.

Saving is smart.
But so is spending.
Value money enough to be okay
Parting with it.

All it takes is a good night of sleep.

It takes more.

Don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
Everyone does, sometimes.

Even Olympians
Have trainers.

Go outside.
Fresh air rejuvenates the lungs.

And the soul.

Your environment matters.
Whenever possible, create a positive one.
Surround yourselves with people you aspire to be more like
And who support you.

You can’t do everything.
But you can do something.

Speak to people from outside of your social circle.

Expose yourself to other cultures.

Find the beauty in their truth and appreciate it. Learn from it.
Then allow the contrast to enhance and highlight your way of life.

And its beauty.

Life will scar you.

After a few years,
Your feet will be calloused
And your face will be lined.
But imperfections are what make your body

A work of art.

You may have made mistakes,
But you needn’t have regrets.
Allow those mistakes
To propel you forward.

And then
They are no longer mistakes.
They are turning points.

Mistakes are the cause
Of who you will be.

You are not a victim.
You are a survivor.

Don’t wait to start living the life you dream.
Because life?

I hear it’s short.