We’ve all been offered advice that we haven’t bothered to take, but wish we had.
Others might have told us to do (or not to do) something, and we’ve kicked ourselves for not listening to them.
Here are 50 bits of advice worth listening to. They might not all be relevant at this particular moment, but just about all of them will come into play at some point in your life.
1. Take care of your health. Everything you eat, every bit of physical exercise you do will have an impact on your overall well-being. This goes for the present as well as how you’ll feel decades from now. Stay active, eat well, and your future self will thank you for the investment.
2. Trust your own judgment.How many times have you set aside your own intuition on a situation because someone else has tried to convince you otherwise? And how many times have you kicked yourself for doing so? Trust in your judgment, and hold firm to it.
3. Learn to be comfortable with discomfort.You’ll undoubtedly come across situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Learn to acknowledge that you’re feeling “off,” without the desperate need to change your circumstances. Similarly, learn to say “this makes me uncomfortable” without demanding that others stop behaviors that make you feel something you dislike.
4. Develop strong coping mechanisms.This goes along with the previous piece of advice. You’ll experience many things in life that may upset or shock you. By developing good coping mechanisms, you’ll be able to process them without being shattered. It’s up to you to learn how to manage your own thoughts and emotions regarding life’s many difficulties.
5. Adapt to changing circumstances. It’s great to make plans, but we can’t assume that things will play out as we’ve expected. Flow with changing situations, make contingency plans, or reschedule things as needed.
6. Get to know yourself. The more soul-searching you do, the more you’ll truly know yourself. And once you do, that sense of self will help see you through many difficult circumstances.
7. Stop worrying about what others might think.Wear what you like, love whom you love, do what makes you happy. Those who care about you will love and accept you, and those who don’t, well… their opinions really don’t matter.
8. See every “failure” as a learning experience. Failing absolutely sucks, especially if the failure is embarrassing. That said, we can learn a lot from what we perceive as failure. Take Thomas Edison’s quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
9. Make decisions with a clear head and a full belly. Many poor decisions have been made when people have been overwhelmed by emotion. Or hangry. If you have an important decision to make, be sure to get plenty of rest, and eat something. Then, and only then, work through the decision-making process.
10. Don’t waste your time arguing with fools.“They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”Think about all the time you’ve wasted getting into arguments in social media comments. That’s time you’re never going to get back, and it’s unlikely that you’ve changed anyone’s mind about anything. Just don’t bother.
11. Recognize that you can’t please everyone. If you spend most of your time trying to make everyone else happy, you’ll be miserable. Any action you take will delight some people, offend others, and upset a few as well. That’s okay.
12. Understand your own anger, and use it productively. Let’s say that you’re turned down for a job you’re perfect for, and you’re furious about it. Rather than shrieking about this injustice, turn that energy toward something more useful. Like starting your own business, and doing a better job than the company that missed out on having you aboard.
13. Keep in mind that nobody is superior to anyone else. One may have supervisors or managers who are in superior positions, but that only means that they’re in a position of authority. That’s just rank – they are not better than anyone else, nor is anyone superior to them. As such, you need never feel inferior to anybody – all are equal, despite superficial evidence that might imply the contrary.
14. Live in the present moment. What happens to a driver when they’re looking at the backseat, or glove box, or out the side window, instead of keeping their eyes on the road? Right, so, do you think it’s beneficial to keep your gaze focused on past issues or future imaginings rather than this moment, right now? Past is just memory, and the future is imagination. All we ever have is right now, so stay here.
15. Ask, don’t assume. Countless arguments and even battles have unfolded because people have assumed things rather than asking them. Many people follow the “assume –> accuse –> attack” approach. Instead of bothering to find out the truth of a situation by asking about it, they come up with an explanation in their own minds, based on their own experience or bias. Then they project their assumptions and unleash hell. There are always additional details to discover, so always ask.
16. Own your mistakes, and learn from them.Nobody respects a person who tries to blame their errors on others. In contrast, people think very highly of those who admit to their mistakes, and then take action toward real change.
17. Use difficult experiences as learning opportunities. Life can be extraordinarily difficult at times, and all of us will deal with heartbreak, loss, and various other types of pain at some point. Try to learn from every experience so you can grow from them. This will help you avoid the trap of wallowing in victimhood.
18. Express gratitude often. Countless relationships break down because people feel taken for granted. Many people develop a sense of entitlement with regard to others’ behaviors, especially their partners’ actions. Never let others feel that you’ve taken them for granted. Instead, express your appreciation whenever possible. Even for the little stuff.
19. Keep learning. Study and learning shouldn’t end once you’ve finished school. By constantly learning new things, you create new mental pathways. In fact, research shows that learning new skills, languages, and movements as an adult can help stave off dementia. Considering how much there is to learn out there, you’ll never have any reason to be bored.
20. Stop being easily offended. Many people have an instant knee-jerk response to be offended by what they interpret to be another’s actions or words. Often, it’s because they’ve misunderstood or misconstrued the other person’s behavior and took it as a personal affront. Others use personal offense as a means of silencing those who disagree with them. You can disagree with another person’s idea without taking it as a personal attack. Similarly, what you may consider to be offensive behavior toward you may have absolutely nothing to do with you at all.
21. Keep your word. If you want to be respected and trusted, then keep your promises, even (especially) when it’s difficult to do so. Personal integrity counts for more than you can imagine, and having a reputation for being trustworthy will be of immense benefit throughout your life.
22. Your life, your choices.Nobody else has any say in what you choose to do (or not do) regarding your life choices. You have the right to choose your own career, partner, healthcare practices, and lifestyle. No one else is owed an explanation for your choices. They might disagree with your decisions, but that’s their issue, not yours.
23. Spend more time listening and observing than speaking. You can learn a great deal by being aware and observant of what’s going on around you. Speaking for its own sake just takes up time and air, creating (potentially) unnecessary noise. Observe and analyze, and choose your own words carefully.
24. Speak clearly, with confidence. This goes along with the bit of advice above. Many people have adopted vocal inflections they’ve learned from the media, to their detriment. You’ll be respected more and taken more seriously if you’re articulate. This can benefit you in situations ranging from job interviews to court cases.
25. Face your fears. Nobody likes to experience hardship or pain. That said, hiding from things that make us fearful or anxious doesn’t make those things disappear. Furthermore, giving in to fear and anxiety usually makes us more fearful in the long run. The good news is that our perceptions of how scary some things are tend to be far worse than what they’re actually like.
26. Don’t do what you hate.Most of us have experienced the feeling of depression and resentment that comes from doing something we absolutely despise. If you hate your job, chances are it’s causing some severely negative emotions in you. This can lead to ill health, as well as relationship breakdowns. Life is too short to spend time doing things that hurt you.
27. Invest in an amazing mattress.This one might seem strange, but a good night’s sleep and proper physical support will have an extraordinary impact on your overall health. Remember that you spend about a third of your life sleeping, so make it a great experience.
28. Be open to other perspectives.Many people instantly dismiss others’ ideas and experiences because they can’t relate to them. Learn to listen and really hear what others have to say. Chances are they can offer insights you wouldn’t have considered.
29. “Stuff” isn’t important. Yes, we all like to have things, but ultimately, they don’t truly matter. If your house was burning down, would you scramble to save your partner, children, and animal companions? Or pack bags full of “things”?
30. You can always help another.No matter what you’re going through, know that there will always be another who can benefit from your assistance. Even just dribbling a bit of water on a thirsty plant will make a huge difference to that little life.
31. Don’t shame others for their choices.Remember #22? That applies to everyone, and none of us have the right to shame others for making different life decisions. We may not agree with their choices and behaviors, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to mock or berate them.
32. Make yourself a priority.This doesn’t mean ignoring others or treating them badly. It means that it’s important to keep time and space for yourself. Turn down an invitation with grace if you need some time alone. Learn to say no, rather than agreeing and then getting resentful.
33. Apologize sincerely.When you know you’ve done wrong, offer a sincere apology. No excuses or “I’m sorry you feel that way” type statements. None of us are perfect, and we all mess up at times. What’s important is letting the other person know that you’re aware you messed up, and you’re sorry.
34. It’s better to have something and not need it, than the reverse.This is as true for a pantry full of canned goods and medical supplies as it is for a toilet plunger or fire extinguisher. Plan for what might go wrong, just in case.
35. Don’t be a d*ck.It’s a pretty basic bit of advice, but a worthwhile one. Our actions tend to have strong repercussions, and being rude or disrespectful to others will eventually turn around and come back to you. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.
36. It’s better to take action than live with regret. Countless elderly people express regret that they didn’t say or do certain things when they had the chance. This is especially true with regards to travelling, and expressing how they felt about those they loved.
37. Pay more attention to people’s behaviors than their words.Believe changed actions and behaviors, not just words. Does this person keep their promises? If they apologize and promise to do better, do they follow through with actions?
38. How people treat you reveals how they feel about themselves.Criticisms from others reflect how they feel about themselves. You just hold up a mirror to their own perceived inadequacies
39. Correct practice makes perfect.Ensure the things you’re practicing are in fact correct technique. Then practice them diligently until you attain the level of competency that makes you feel accomplished.
40. If you’re frustrated with your routine, change it.Routine can be useful, but it can also really dampen down the human spirit. Switch up your weekly calendar, do things on different days, at various times. See what works best.
41. Your actions today will dictate the rest of your life.Will you be disciplined, or will you procrastinate? Are you choosing kindness and self-improvement, or hostility toward others? Each choice opens up a different path for you to walk.
42. Do your research before reinventing the wheel.You may have some great ideas, but others might have even better ones. Research everything thoroughly, then determine how, or if, you can improve upon what you’ve found.
43. Be certain in your uncertainty.Recognize that what you know as absolute truth right now may change when you learn something different.
44. Don’t let forceful personalities intimidate you.Many try to bully others by being louder and more aggressive. Similarly, chihuahuas bark their heads off, while wolves are quiet. Hold your ground when someone is snapping, especially if your position is strong.
45. Remember that you are what you consume.This goes for food and drink as well as media and entertainment. Treat your body and mind like your own treasured, sacred child, and nourish them accordingly.
46. Always pay attention to your surroundings.Be aware of what’s going on around you. If a situation is making you uncomfortable, then pay attention to what’s causing that reaction. It’s happening for a reason. Being aware will allow you to respond or react to whatever unfolds.
47. Choose your lovers carefully.We exchange a lot of emotion and energy with our intimate partners. Be discriminating with your intimate choices and you’ll have few regrets.
48. Take time before trusting.It’s okay to be friendly and caring with people, but be discriminating with whom you trust. People reveal their true selves over time, and you may regret being too open with the wrong ones.
49. Be kind, whenever possible.Every living being will experience pain and hardship, so try not to be the source of either. No act of kindness is ever wasted, and the grace and gentleness you show another living being may change their entire life.
50. Live each day as if it were your last.Many squander their days because they think they have time to spare. Any of us could have 20 years left, or we could be gone in 20 minutes. Choose wisely when it comes to how you spend your time, and with whom.