7 Important Life Lessons As Told By Shakespeare

Better three hours too soon than a minute late. Ford, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Act II, Scene ii

This is a big nod to the theatre industry which believes that being fifteen minutes early is being on time and being on time is being late. This goes for everyone though, not just actors. How embarrassing is it to show up to a job interview late or to walk into a meeting at work that has already started? Billy Shakespeare was a punctual man: never miss your entrance, dammit.

The course of true love never did run smooth. Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I, Scene i

Cheesy as hell, Will, but so true. This advice works in two ways:

1. So right now you’re binge watching Dr. Who realizing that your subscription to Netflix is longer than any of your previous relationships. You’ve made one too many jokes about marrying your cat and now your family is beginning to wonder. No, you’re not going to be alone forever—unless you’re into that and then, hey, good for you—sometimes finding love just takes time. Just have solace in knowing that no one ever really loved without looking for it or suffering first. Just as a side note, signing up for Tindr, OkCupid, Jdate, whatever, doesn’t count as suffering.

2. Secondly, there are going to be ups and downs in your relationships that make you think you might as well quit. No one said it was easy to forgive and forget or to get older and realize you might not be the same people you were two years ago. Just remember that love isn’t always easy. If you give yourself some time and you’re still thinking about how miserable you are, it might not just be little bumps in the road, but it’s worth a shot!

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast. Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene iii

This is Shakespeare’s way of telling us to take our time. Pretty simple, but the guy has a way with words. Spend your time concentrating on something that you’re good at, not rushing to find an answer. There is a tendency for us to rush into things because we are worried something better won’t come along, but it is important to realize that making a rash decision may just slow you down in the long run.

The sweetest honey is loathsome in its own deliciousness. And in the taste destroys the appetite. Therefore, love moderately. Friar Lawrence, Romeo & Juliet Act II, Scene v

Billy’s way of saying that too much of a good thing always turns out bad. In this instance, it’s about love. You don’t want to fall too hard too fast because it always takes some time to recover. It can also apply to a lot of things though. Sure, going out on a Wednesday night with your co-workers sounds fun until you drink too much and end up under the desk the next day, napping on your lunch break.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. Sonnet 116

If someone loves you, they won’t want to change you. So many people today are pressured to look perfect and be perfect so that they can impress members of the opposite sex. Hey, physical attraction is definitely part of the process, but don’t go to extremes to change if you’re going to be unhappy. Make those changes because you want to, because someone who loves you would never ask you to. So eat your Ramen in your underwear while you binge watch Netflix or leave the toothpaste uncapped (actually, please don’t do that, it’s really gross.)

All’s well that ends well.

Okay, technically this is a title. But it is also said in the play. It works, okay? And it’s pretty self explanatory. Don’t focus on all of the stuff you had to go through to get to the end, focus on the outcome. If things don’t end well though, feel free to grab a bottle of wine and…whine a little.

This above all: to thine own self be true. Polonius, Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii

Well, if you remember Mel Gibson accurately, this one is pretty simple, but it is also the most important. Everyone says “Be yourself, be true to who you are” when you’re a child but no one tells you that when you grow up, it’s pretty damn hard. You’re going to be out there trying to meet new people and make connections so that you can make something of yourself. It’s so easy to forget where you started or what you even wanted in the first place. TC mark

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