43 People Share The Most Inspiring, Thoughtful, And Funny Advice That They Actually Live By

via twenty20/zarakbush
via twenty20/zarakbush

1. On Expectations

Mine is, under-promise, over-deliver.

2. On Rules

If you’re gonna break the rules, only break one rule at a time.

3. On Improving Yourself

You can’t give what you don’t have. Improve/help/love yourself properly, because only by doing so (or at least trying to) will you truly gain the potential to affect others and make the world a better place.

4. On Arguing

At least think about the arguments the side you are opposing has.

5. On Feeling Superior

Never make fun of or criticize someone’s job. If they are working hard to provide for themselves and their family, then that is something that should be admired and respected no matter how unglamorous the job may be.

6. On Work

The only job to be ashamed of is a job done poorly.

7. On Leadership

Be a leader, not a boss.

8. On Saving Money

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over twice and put it in your pocket.” – Frank McKinney Hubbard

Was an impulsive buyer and this changed my life.

9. On Problems And People

Be hard on the problem and soft on the person

10. On Promises

Don’t make promises you can’t keep or don’t plan on keeping.

11. On Balance

What you do to one side of an equation, you must do to the other.

12. On Behavior And Charity

Everyone has a story. There’s a reason for the behavior of everyone. Reach out when you see people in need. You can change lives.

13. On Presenting Yourself

Always, ALWAYS, let people underestimate you. That way, its easier to beat them.

14. On Excellence

Be excellent to each other.

15. On Timeliness

Be on time, keep nobody waiting. If running late, inform.

Seriously, how hard can it be.

16. On Keeping A Poker Face

Have more than you show, speak less than you know

17. On Oatmeal Film Becoming Actual Concrete Within Minutes

Always wash out my oatmeal bowl immediately after finishing it.

18. On Being A Dumbass

Don’t be a dumbass.

  • You want to drink in a National Park? Fine, go for it, just Don’t be a dumbass. Clean up after yourself and don’t leave your fucking cans and bottles.

  • You want to swim in the Potomac River? Fine, go for it, just Don’t be a dumbass. Don’t do it the day of or day after rain, and stay the fuck out of the current in the middle.

  • You want to do all the crazy jumps on your new snowboard you just bought? Fine, go for it, just Don’t be a dumbass. Practice on the smaller shit first and work your way up.

  • You want kids at 20? Fine, go for it, just Don’t be a dumbass. Understand it’s a lot of work and you’ll see a hell of lot less of your friends, who are out at the bars and whatnot.

19. On Getting Murdered In Your Bathroom

Always check behind a closed shower curtain before going to the bathroom.

20. On Anger

Not to be aggressive ever while angry, unless its self-defense.

21. On Car Etiquette

Driver picks the music. Don’t touch my radio, I won’t touch yours.

22. On Remaining Neutral

When an argument breaks out, stay neutral until your hand is forced. Think of yourself as Switzerland, this neutral body just observing warring factions at work/school etc

23. On Talking Shit

I never talk shit about anyone to anyone.

24. On Being Different

Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re useful.

25. On Pissing

Piss when you can. Seriously. Small urge to pee when you’re about to lay down? Take a piss. No urge to pee when you’re about to lay down? Take a piss. About to leave for a date and just pissed? Take a piss.

It’s so nice, never having an inconvenient urge to piss because whenever I have a chance to take a convenient piss, I take it.

26. On Kindness

You can measure a person’s soul by how they treat service staff.

27. On Communicating

Don’t tell people what emotion they are feeling.

Whether you outright accuse them of it (i.e. “You don’t have to get so upset about it!”, “Stop overreacting”, etc.) or indirectly claim it through a question (i.e. “Why do you get so embarrassed when…”),it is often embarrassing or even insulting to the individual to have their entire current state of being reduced to a single word. That word you just accused them of being, even when used with the best intentions, does not even come close to the way they are really feeling.

This is my philosophy on why the common “Calm down”, “Stop overreacting”, etc. are often responded to with “I AM CALM” or “I’M NOT OVERREACTING.” It’s not that they disagree with you, it’s that you are misrepresenting the way they feel. Instead, try asking them how they feel. Let them describe it to you because once you understand them in their own terms, you will better understand how they are perceiving the conversation.

I have become very aware of this and find that my conversations are much more meaningful and effective when I make a conscious effort to avoid it.

28. On Being Aware

You don’t know what someone else may be dealing with, so be understanding. Always be honest. Try to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

29. On Staying Peaceful

Never let the chaos of others infect your peace.

Dysfunctional people will gleefully pull you into their mess (consciously or not) out of a selfish need to fulfill their dysfunction. They will do so with zero regard for your or your well-being. Too often we try to be “nice” or “supportive” or even try to “rescue” others and go willingly, only to discover (often times too late) that it’s a lost cause: you can’t fix other people, you can only control how you react to them.

It’s not selfish to have clearly defined rules regarding what you will and what you will not put up with from other people.

Never let the chaos of others infect your peace.

30. On M.E.M.E.

Morals, Empathy, Motives, Effort

31. On Optimism And Effort

It’s one of these four:

  • Always take the long way home. The more you get set into your own universe, the smaller your universe becomes. A discipline of never taking the easiest path available means that I can meet more people, am never in a rush, and when I ever have a problem, I have the character to pursue a more-patient harder solution that satisfies all of my needs, rather than the easy solutions which just cause more problems.

  • When life gives you lemons, learn to juggle. This works in a couple different ways, but the basic one that resonates for me is: trying to be optimistic in the face of adversity just exhausts me; but usually there is a way to change the adversity into some asset for some completely unrelated problem which you can be awesome at.

  • Luck can be manufactured. The novice spends his luck; the master invests it. In backgammon, when a novice plays a master, it always looks the same: in the beginning the novice seems a little lucky, and takes an early lead; this continues until there is a sudden turnaround where the master suddenly seems astonishingly lucky, and beats the crap out of him. And it’s because the master is using her luck to build a high-entropy position on the board where any throw of the dice is a good roll: from that point on her every die roll is “lucky”; while the novice is mostly using his luck to play safe, and this gradually builds a low-entropy position where almost every throw of the dice is “unlucky”.

  • Wu wei: the definition of “magic” is “hidden patience.” Usually the “how did he do that?” for card magic is really straightforward, but your brain doesn’t jump to it, because it requires understanding that the magician in front of you is the sort of person who might buy 52 decks of playing cards just to assemble an entire deck made of the Jack of Spades, so that he knows exactly which “random” card you pulled. It looks like magic because that patient work was hidden from your eyes. Once you see this principle it’s everywhere. For example, it’s the same with a chef at a restaurant: she magically conjures hundreds of amazing steak dishes per night via mise en place: a French phrase meaning “everything in its place,” but really meaning “she got here several hours before all of her customers and busted her ass prepping everything so that she didn’t have to do any of that crap during crunch-time.”

32. On This Too

This too shall pass.

33. On Choosing Friends

If they talk shit about others to you, they’re probably talking shit about you to others. Stay away.

34. On Not Being A Know-It-All

Don’t shoot down an idea you can’t improve upon.

35. On Driving

Use your Damn Blinker.

36. On Not Getting Scammed

My dad from a young age taught me the golden rule was “beware of monthly charges.”

37. On Dignity And Self Reliance

I have a few…

These are the ones that get me places:

  • If it sounds too good to be true… – Don’t be an easy mark, that’s a worse fate than being broke or alone. Good things come through effort – not to those who wait – so make effort to gain anything you truly want and don’t be distracted by things you don’t truly want. Kids know this instinctively, so you’re already behind the learning curve. I do not say this to offend anyone but most adults that don’t live by this are often times greedy to a certain degree. Like ravens they like shiny objects and can be tricked (or trick themselves).
  • It’s better to say you’re sorry than to ask for permission – Good ideas can die when people interfere, so don’t let them. Be self reliant and learn to apologize properly if you can’t already. It is actually needed from time to time. Good intentions and acting on those intentions are the best true apologies out there, so have good intentions and don’t ask for permission. If you fuck up, own it.
  • Never ask twice – Don’t beg. Be the guy who takes no for an answer. Don’t bother people if they already said no or perhaps. Be good to the people who do understand/help/say yes and don’t be needlessly shitty to the ones who don’t.
  • Never hit first, always be ready to finish – I have seen a few fights in my life, nothing extraordinary, but I find this rule is good. It can keep you relatively safe if you end up in a fight. My grandfather always told me to hit first but it is the only piece of advice of his I never followed.

These are the ones that ensure I don’t lose focus and become a shitty person:

  • Be better than average – kinder, more understanding, non-judgmental and open. People respond to it and you will slowly have better and better people around you. You will find people with great hearts who would otherwise have sheltered them from you because they feel fragile. Fragile people are not weak people, remember that. I have learned so many thruths about the world and myself by having introverted people open up to me. They’re great observers and the shittier an observer you are and the less insight you have into yourself, the more you need these people in your life.

  • Go the extra mile – whenever you slack someone has to pick up after you. This one is simple, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Whenever someone is like this naturally, I tend to gravitate towards them and most times the opposite is true as well. Also if you’re the happy go lucky person at your workplace who thinks the spirit you bring to the table makes up for a little slacking here and there – You’re wrong. And yes, people do talk about it behind your back and say nasty shit about it because they’re tired of it.

  • Not being called out is not the same as getting away with it – Don’t be the person who lies or cheats and thinks they get away with it. We all know the type and one thing they have in common is that they will let people (who know them) in on how good of a liar they are. It always happens, without fail and guess what? You’re a shitty liar and everybody knows it. Literally everybody. Because that is who you lie to. Everybody. It amazes me how many people assume other people are dumber than they are and yet never learn. I say this because if this is you, you’re most likely wondering why it’s so hard to connect to people or why your coworkers never ask you to come with them to the coffee house after work or whatever. Ever wonder why no one has called you out yet? You don’t call out the village idiot for being an idiot either… You just steer clear.

  • Be humble – You can be proud, but you can’t brag. People who brag ruin their own efforts. I like listening to braggarts like I like red hot wire hangers in my eyeballs. Not so much and rarely without reacting. If you make a beautiful shot playing basketball, you can brag a little. If you give a homeless person 100$ and brag about it, I tend to think the bragging negates the positive sides of the good gesture. Not for the homeless person of course, but on a personal level. Either do it for them or do it for you, but be honest about your intentions.

  • And last but not least, defend the ones you love, stand up for them, take care of them and remove any obstacles they can’t handle themselves. Be fierce in that regard and let this be the arena where you always give 100%, the first priority in all of your life and the place you find strength and honor. These people are your rock, your harbor, your armor and your heart. They are all that matters in the end because if you lost them, how could you ever enjoy even the greatest riches? It’s all about the people who are important to you. Don’t save the world and lose the girl. Save the girl and do your best to save the world afterwards.

38. On Being A Good Example

Don’t argue in front of the kids.

39. On Cars, Guns, And Women

My grandmother’s golden rules that stuck with me all my life. Never let someone borrow your car, gun or your woman.

40. On Lending Money

If you lend friends or family money, never assume you will be repaid.

41. On Consumerism

I’m not buying anything someone is trying to sell me. I buy things that I have found a need for.

42. On Thinking Long-Term

This has always served me well:

“Never trade long term goals for short term satisfaction.”

43. On Hard Drugs

Hard drugs: never more than once a month. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Eric Redding