What’s Your Very Best Life Advice?

15 May 2014 · 26 comments

Over the last couple of months, I’ve begun to use Reddit as my morning wakeup site. Over a cup of coffee, I scroll through pages of funny photos and interesting links until I’m fully functional and ready to work. One popular feature at Reddit is the AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview series, where famous folks (and not-so-famous folks) answer questions from the Reddit community.

A Reddit user named uberlad always asks the same question in these interviews: “What’s your very best life advice?” Many of the answers sound as if they’d fit perfectly with our current year-long exploration into fear, happiness, and freedom.

Here are some notable responses to “What’s your very best life advice?” (Apparently, uberlad likes to ask this question of comedians.)

  • Norm Macdonald: “Let what you have make you happy. But never let what you don’t have make you happy.” In other words, be happy with what you have, and don’t covet what others have.
  • Alex Filippenko: “Find a profession that you really love, that you’re passionate about…To the degree possible, do something that brings you happiness and fulfillment.”
  • Skrillex: “You are the company you keep. If you surround yourself with creative, hungry, and productive people, it will make you step up your game. If you’re around lazy people who complain, then you’ll never grow as a person. Keep good people close!”
  • Ken Burns: “This [too] will pass. Get help from others. Be kind to yourself.”
  • Geoff Rowley: “Always get back up.”
  • Piper Kerman: “Know that you can learn more from your failures than your successes.”
  • Jon Lovitz: “Happiness is a choice…Are you willing to do what you have to do to get what you want?”
  • Drew Carey: Learn how to set goals. That’s the key to everything. That includes designing your own success. You define what the goal is, it’s not somebody else’s goal, it’s yours…All goal setting is figuring out what you want to do with your life.”

I shared my own “very best life advice” with you last month:

How to be happy

Now it’s your turn. What is your very best life advice? If a young person were to come to you and ask bout the keys to success and happiness, what would you tell her?

1 Tina in NJ May 15, 2014 at 06:46

The best things in life aren’t things. Don’t chase “stuff” at the expense of loved ones, learning, or your future.

2 Amy May 15, 2014 at 07:28

Constantly question yourself, and don’t be afraid to find out that you’re sometimes wrong. It isn’t a character flaw to be wrong, because everyone is wrong sometimes. Rather, it’s what we do with that information that counts – whether we use that information to grow, and whether or not we make amends to those we may have wronged.

3 Joseph Ratliff May 15, 2014 at 07:28

After caring for yourself, and breathing, which you mentioned in your graphic…

Your only time is now to do that which fulfills you… the “thing” you’ve always wanted to do but put on the back burner because of ________________ (whatever).

So do it, now. Keep doing it until you’ve finished it and can see it, feel it, touch it, live it … whatever.

Because tomorrow, you might not be here.

4 Kevin May 15, 2014 at 07:49

Sorry to be a bit off-topic, but for all the great things I hear about Reddit I can’t seem to get the hang of that site. I’ve tried several times and I just don’t get it. While I’m by no means a techie, it’s not like I never use the internet. I’m into Facebook and Twitter and listen to hours of podcasts almost every day. So am I the only one who can’t understand Reddit? Probably…

5 jdroth May 15, 2014 at 08:04

No, you’re not the only one. I have trouble with it too. I’ve dabbled with it on and off for many years, and only recently have developed a system for using it. But it basically amounts to this: Choose the categories I want to see. Open Reddit first thing in the morning while sipping coffee. Look at four or five pages of stuff, opening the links that sound interesting. Bookmark the best. The end. :)

6 Kevin May 15, 2014 at 09:03

Thanks – that makes me feel a bit better. A couple of the podcasts I listen to mention sub-Reddits or even have their own sub-reddit. So I go to check it out and I just seemed to get over-whelmed by the “clutter”. Probably safe to say it doesn’t have the cleanest design on the internet. I’ll keep at it.

7 Tyler Karaszewski May 15, 2014 at 13:12

Here’s the problem with being a new user to Reddit. As a new user, you look at the front page and the most popular categories, and everything has 1,000s of replies, and it’s overwhelming and out-of-order and confusing.

Once you start looking around a bit though, you find smaller categories, and new topics when they only have a few replies, and you can contribute to the conversation in a way that makes sense, and you’ll see the conversation scale up on certain parts of the site. But, when you’re contributing to a smaller niche category or a post with fewer responses, you can see it’s basically just a message board. And as things get more and more popular, they filter up towards the top of the site.

8 EL May 15, 2014 at 08:11

It would be to be happy and stay motivated at the same time. Happy and Stay motivated deciphered for me is to continually self-improve, create something, always love not by saying it but by showing it every day with actions.

9 Cat May 15, 2014 at 09:30

Never lose your sense of awe. Find excuses to feel joy, and look for tiny things that delight you. Enjoy the flowers in the parking lot.

10 chacha1 May 15, 2014 at 09:50

“Be nice.”

11 Nicole May 15, 2014 at 09:58

I like Cat’s advice. To add to that, my best advice is to always have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be anything big, either, if you’re able to appreciate the small things. But if there’s nothing fun on the horizon it often makes it tough to get through the not-so-fun days.

12 Martin May 15, 2014 at 10:43

Always grab life by the balls. Do things that scare you. Take risks. Say what you want to say. Always be true to yourself.

13 @freepursue May 15, 2014 at 11:52

It is not necessary to do or acquire what is “expected” if you know deep down it does not feel right. No matter what your head, heart and gut tell you, your gut is always right.

Follow your bliss and seek all that life has to offer by working hard at what does not feel like hard work. That way, you can live in the present as opposed to living for the future.

Listen attentively, love others unconditionally and never be scared to say “I don’t know” and “I’m sorry”.

Finally, stay curious and maintain your sense of wonder.

14 PB May 16, 2014 at 05:38

From my mother-in-law on my wedding day: “Don’t have kids until you really want them, because they don’t go away.” Extremely true.

15 Larry Martin May 16, 2014 at 06:14

One of my favorite quotes is:

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” – Brian Tracy

To me this means, you can’t control things that come at you in life but it’s up to you to decide how to handle them and more often than not, if you decide to handle things in a positive way – the outcome is usually positive too!

16 Sandy May 16, 2014 at 06:25

My advise is very old fashioned: protect your health, both mentally and physically. Nothing else matters if you have to drag yourself through the day feeling like crap. Do not take your health for granted. If you have it you have the ability to stay strong which allows you to wake up looking forward to each day with a sense of wonder and purpose.

17 Craig Anthony May 16, 2014 at 06:31

Shun all superstition and always demand evidence. Question everything and seek to learn more about the world. If the facts contradict your beliefs, it’s time to revise your beliefs.

18 Andrew Snyder May 16, 2014 at 08:47

Pay as much attention to your mental health as you do to your physical health, and don’t hesitate to seek the help you need.

19 jlcollinsnh May 16, 2014 at 16:55

Spend sparingly. Tip generously.

20 Diane C July 22, 2014 at 07:32

Love this one, Mr. Collins. It’s one of the things I noticed when dating my (now) husband. Boy, what a good clue! His twelve-year-old truck looks new (Sorry, Pete, he’s a contractor.) and he’s a consistently generous tipper.
Another of mine is: Enjoy today. No matter how crappy your day might be, there’s always something good in it. Just the fact of existing is worthy of celebration.

21 PawPrint May 18, 2014 at 10:09

Don’t let fear prevent you from trying new things. Dwell in the present, not in the past. Happiness is a choice you make every day (that one took me a while to figure out).

My husband’s: Regarding jobs, find something that you really like to do. Don’t be hung up on being right.

22 Edward June 4, 2014 at 13:01

My favourite motto is from the late, great Joe Strummer: “The future is unwritten.”

I also really like the simple, “Be epic!” and the “Life” magazine motto repeated in that recent “Walter Mitty” movie: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

23 Patricia June 12, 2014 at 05:05

Reflect often. Be curious.

24 Edith June 24, 2014 at 09:06

Don’t let hedonic adaptation take a hold of you. Every day close your eyes and picture yourself, as realistically as possible, losing everything and everyone you’ve got. Open your eyes: you haven’t lost anything, see your life as if it was given to you brand new. For the day.

25 Diane C July 22, 2014 at 07:36

Here’s another one that motivated me. I do not know the source.

“Retiring too early is a mistake you can recover from. Too late and there is no recovery.”

Yup, that one pushed me all the way to FIRE.

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