Life Advice

Not from a life coach, per­son­al devel­op­ment guru, or some oth­er self-pro­fessed expert on life, but from those whose advice I think it’s actu­ally worth pay­ing atten­tion to: those older than you.

First is Life Advice From Old People (via Kot­tke)–a video blog con­tain­ing noth­ing but inter­views with a wide range of ‘old’ people, includ­ing Farm­er Tom, Jon Voight and Errol Mor­ris.

Some more col­our­ful advice comes from The Musty Man (via Ben Cas­nocha) who, on his 30th birth­day, decided to offer some no-non­sense advice to those liv­ing in their 20’s. The best of the Musty Man’s advice I’ve read is on rela­tion­ships, although it’s all great.

As is the stand­ard at MeFi, the advice offered to this recent gradu­ate is more func­tion­al and emin­ently use­ful. This is one piece of advice I sub­scribe to whole­heartedly:

Make your bed every day – as soon as you get up. Some­thing about that one small thing sets the tone for the rest of the day; are you going to be lazy, or are you going to get some­thing done?

More con­cisely, this list of 30 pieces of advice for young men from an old man is fairly good, espe­cially the last item:

97% of all advice is worth­less. Take what you can use, and trash the rest.

As for advice from meta-career­ists; Ben Cas­nocha’s thoughts mir­ror mine per­fectly:

The best advice on net­work­ing will come from someone who is not a pro­fes­sion­al net­work­er. The best advice on entre­pren­eur­ship will come someone whose entre­pren­eur­ship is not selling books and work­shops about entre­pren­eur­ship. Writers who write about any­thing oth­er than writ­ing for a liv­ing usu­ally have the best advice on writ­ing.

Like many oth­ers in my situ­ation (someone attempt­ing to fig­ure out the dir­ec­tion they want their life to go in) I love hear­ing advice from a diverse range of people. If you have some, or even just a choice quote, please offer it up in the com­ments. I would appre­ci­ate it more than you can ima­gine.

5 thoughts on “Life Advice

  1. Paul

    Advice for young men.

    1. Learn to be a mod­er­ate. There are so many angry young men around that being a mod­er­ate on polit­ic­al and social issues actu­ally gains respect from people out­side your imme­di­ate peer­group. It is all too easy to have extreme views on top­ics. Bite your lip if you have to. Learn how to sound uncon­vinced, without say­ing “I’m not con­vinced by your stu­pid argu­ment!”.

    2. Next time you go clothes shop­ping, take a female with you and actu­ally listen to their advice. Your moth­er does­n’t count though. Women love shop­ping – espe­cially if its with someone else’s money!

    3. Live in a for­eign coun­try for a while. Prefer­ably not an Eng­lish speak­ing one. Travel really does broaden the mind and makes you a more con­sid­er­ate per­son (towards people out­side your peer­group) and more dis­cern­ing per­son (about your own coun­try).

    4. Read. Not art­icles on the Inter­net, but old-fash­ioned dead tree media. Get to know a fic­tion author you like and read everything they did. You’ll express your­self bet­ter (some­thing they might not have taught you to do at school) and you’ll have some­thing genu­inely inter­est­ing to talk about.

    5. Take risks early on. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. Hav­ing a Plan B and a Plan C usu­ally mean you’ll nev­er need them. If you fail, take the pain! And take it with good humour. If you find your­self doing some­thing you hate, start plan­ning your exit strategy but don’t plan on just stick­ing around in the hope it’ll get bet­ter – it won’t.

  2. Zack Sherwood

    I love this! Decid­ing to make my bed in the morn­ing is one of the most dif­fi­cult tasks I face all day.

    I work on a TV show and our whole goal is to get advice from pro­fes­sion­als in vari­ous fields to give advice to col­lege stu­dents – spe­cific­ally the ques­tions come from stu­dents.

    So last year I inter­viewed travel writer Paul Ther­oux and he gave some of the more inter­est­ing advice for writers I’ve heard:

    The first rule I tell young writers when they tell me they want to write is “leave home.” Because if you stay home people will ask you ques­tions you can­’t answer. They say “What are you going to write.” “where will you pub­lish it?” “Whose going to pay you?” “How will you make a liv­ing?” No one has answers to those ques­tions. If you leave home no one asks you ques­tions like that.

  3. Lloyd Morgan Post author


    Tak­ing a woman shop­ping and listen­ing to her advice is some­thing I’ve very recently learned. In the past few weeks I’ve actu­ally done this and have improved my appear­ance immeas­ur­ably. Not only that, but I now feel much, much bet­ter while wear­ing these well-fit­ting clothes.

    As for liv­ing in a non-Eng­lish speak­ing for­eign coun­try and tak­ing risks early on—this is some­thing I really did need to hear today.

    I’m cur­rently on a train, trav­el­ling to Heath­row before an exten­ded vaca­tion in Japan and Aus­tralia. On this trip I plan to think long and hard about my career and a pos­sible move abroad.


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