7 Smart People Share The Best Advice They Ever Received

27 Dec

As humans we’re always craving for something or someone else to take over the decisional power when things get tough. We’re always seeking ‘signs’ to show us whether we’re about to make the right or wrong decision.

However, what I’ve come to find is that instead of looking outwardly, we should look inwardly at honing our own decision-making abilities. That’s what transforms us in to resilient and wiser beings (as my mum says: “Getting older is mostly making less of the same mistakes and Googling shit”).


Pic: Anna Dziubinska

We all need a little guidance along the path though right? So in the fashion of The Little Pocket Book of Wisdom, I’ve curated bite sized advice from some smart humans I interviewed over the last few months. They’re all still figuring out the answers too, but here’s the input that’s helped them thus far:

1. The PR

“Treat your enemies as teachers, be grateful you have them in your life.” 

This is from one of the ultimate teachers, the Dalai Lama. I read this at the time I needed to hear it. The ‘being grateful’ part has to do with considering the alternative, just imagine how vulnerable and sensitive we would all be if we were never tested. It’s the mantra that’s helped me flip my thought process when confronted with unkind people.

“No one’s going to love you exactly like you imagined.”

Advice from a good friend who’s also a life coach. The message being, love yourself enough so that any other love just adds more candles to the cake you’ve already iced.

“There’s no secret ingredient, it’s just you.”

Perhaps the scariest thought of all, but also freeing once you take charge and realise that when you work hard, you get to where you want to be. I see this quote every week on the wall at my yoga class. It’s actually from the character Po in Kung Fu Panda!

2. The BuzzFeed Writer

“It’s never going to be the perfect time. Just do it and see what happens, you will spend your whole life waiting for the perfect time.”

Not sure exactly who said this, but it’s always stuck with me.

“Not all fingers are equal.”

From my mum. It’s African as fuck, but it basically means don’t compare yourself to others, like people are not equal, so don’t spend your time checking for what other people are doing.

“Know your sauce.”

I don’t know if I made it up, or I heard it on Twitter, but it’s to know and believe in your work. Also, know what you’re good or not good at, and use it correctly.

“Don’t be too precious with your work.”

Some people are going to like it and some people are going to think you are shit, it’s fine, don’t be too precious. Being too precious means you find it hard to take advice and criticism.

3. The Rastafarian Care Worker

“Trust no one, but love everybody and wish them all the best.”

This one came from my meditation practice. People aren’t ever really bad or horrible, it’s usually an acquired behaviour caused by a problem or life experience they couldn’t overcome so they become imbalanced and malfunction.

“To survive in today’s world, people need only food clothes and shelter.”

Originally from a song by a British reggae group called Misty In Roots. Food for sustenance, clothes to stop us from getting cold and a roof over our heads for rest. Anything else is a bonus.

“I am one of the vessels he chose to get it out there in the world.”

It’s a derivative from the original quote in the King James Bible, which goes ‘it’s not me, but the lord that works through me to achieve…’ I take from this that there is such a thing as divine inspiration and guidance (if you believe in God of course, as there are many schools of thought which can enable one to become enlightened).

“‘Nuff water weareth away the stone.”

Originally a Chinese proverb, to me it signifies that with a little effort every day, you can overcome any problem.

4. The Brand Strategist

“Just turning up is 80% of life.”

From my German oral tutor (I bunked like all lunchtime lessons, bar one).

“Do the minimal amount of work to do an excellent job.”

Burnout is not aspirational.

“Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em and then tell ’em what you told ’em.”

Advice one of my work mentors gave me on research and presentations.

“There’s a world outside your manor.”

Dizzee Rascal on not being complacent and varying your references.

5. The WSJ Journalist

“Don’t think you’re stupid, because no one else knows what’s going on either.”

An editor instilled this in me when I needed to hear it. The workplace can be intimidating, but none of us are truly experts, we’re all still continuing to learn, and should feel encouraged to go for it.

“Don’t ever go to bed with your partner on an argument.”

This is straight from the mouth of mum, and it’s something I always try to adhere to with my other half.

6. The Lifestyle Magazine Editor/Entrepreneur

“Everything you can imagine is real” – Pablo Picasso

(My dad always said “You can do whatever you want”, which is basically the same, just way less visual.)

Picasso’s line has always really resonated with me. I mean it’s so literal that it’s hard not to apply it to your own life. It’s kind of incredible how you can work toward something and then eventually it becomes your reality. Just like magic but with a bit more elbow grease!

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. BE ambitious. BE courageous and above all BELIEVE in yourself. Conviction and confidence are the reason for more than half of my successes. If not more! (Side note: I’d highly recommend being the most reliable person on the block. Employees always remember the timely and efficient one. I can attest to that!)

“Everyone is winging it!”

Don’t ever think it’s too early to take the leap. Don’t ever think you’re not capable, experienced or smart enough. Because everyone is winging it! Excuses make for idle hands, which in turn delay all the incredible feats you are capable of. Meeting someone who is both younger and more accomplished than myself is like 1000 tiny paper cuts to the heart and my ego. Seriously, put pen to paper ASAP.

7. The Nurse

“Listen to your instincts.”

This was the best advice I got as a new mum. In the end no one gets it right, we all get it wrong in our own unique way.

“Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.”

Often overlooked, but important to remember as you move through life.

“If it don’t fit, don’t force it, just relax and let it go.”

Don’t wear yourself down if it’s not meant to be.


Pic: Korinna Bognar

It’s funny how the right advice seems to find us at the right time, and it’s those important pearls of wisdom – wherever they come from – that tend to stick and strengthen our character. Hopefully I’ll do some more posts like this as I curate the motivations and mantras of people I come across, but in the meantime, enjoy navigating this life thing, we all got this really!

I’d love to hear any advice that’s helped to shape you, drop it in the comment box below along with what you take from it!



One Response to “7 Smart People Share The Best Advice They Ever Received”

  1. Rastafarian care worker December 31, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Not a comment as such just two more quotes for u ALSO FROM K/ j version of the bible SPARE THR ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD this says to as much as we hate having to physically discipline our children there may be no other way sometimes but initially good communication skills should be applied .. I.E. Always let violence be the last resort after all other avenues have been explored.(in carribean culture a variation would be if u can’t hear you will feel
    —-//——-///——///—–//——–//- -2/-Raise a child in the way it should grow and when it is older it shall never depart ffom it. In Other words Instill all the necessary discipline and knowledge into your children when they are young growing up so they have constructive thoughts to cherish all through Their lives and it will serve to make them exemplary individuals and pillars of society encouraging whoever they meet to be a wonderful person.(stay eternally blessed bellas bunting runs tings just the thought your original blog name inspired in me so I thought I would share it with u . Ps I will keep sending u quotes ps don’t forget to update your page as often as possible to keep subscribers intrested and hungry for more wisdom ttfn from the Rastafafian another caring individual.

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