I believe that life is a teaching tool for us to be able to constantly improve ourselves and to learn as much as possible. Though plenty of people have given me bad advice, there have also been many people that have given me valuable advice that has greatly impact my worldview and the way I live. Here is a list (in quotes) of some of the best advice I have ever received in my life, how it has encouraged or taught me about life, and why I think this advice is so good:
(In no particular order…)
- “Always do your best.”- my dad. – My dad not only has said pretty much this quote, he also has lived it. He sometimes picks up the slack of others who are not willing or able to work as hard. I strive to do my best every day, whether it is at my job, or with my interactions with others, or whatever I do. I don’t want to do anything half-heartedly, and I feel (appropriately) guilty when I do less than my best. The feeling I get when I accomplish something good and I know I gave it my whole heart is one of the best feelings in the world!
- “My response is my responsibility.”-Pastor David Shoaf – My pastor’s quote is completely convicting to me because I know I have, on occasion, blamed someone for “hurting me” without taking responsibility for a wrong response to them. When I remember this piece of advice/admonition, I am able to bite my tongue and be humble enough to admit my part in a conflict, where I had the wrong response towards someone, even if that other person really did hurt me.
- “Never let those who hate you dislodge your love and faithfulness to the God who gave His only begotten Son to give all for you.”—Pastor David Shoaf—Along with advice #2, I think what Pastor Shoaf said really encourages me to not let my love for God and others falter, even when others hurt or betray me. Tough as it is to not let evil or hurtful people discourage my love, I figure that these people will eventually get what they deserve, but more so, I can “heap burning coals on their heads.” That is, I can let my love convict them of their actions, so that they will feel bad and improve their behavior. Also, sometimes the nastiest people are the ones that need our love the most.
- “Don’t let people say you can’t do something.”-J—This was said by my mentor J. I was so discouraged when I first met her because many people in my past had discouraged me from trying new things, and didn’t believe in what I could do. She not only said these words to encourage me, but also showed me she meant those words by always believing I could do the things that others may have thought I could never do. Now, even when I have trouble doing something, I try again and again until I get it right. This advice is so good for all of us because it keeps us going, even when times are tough. When we don’t let other people’s estimation of our abilities influence what we do, we can achieve almost anything!
- “People are neighbors to be loved, not commodities to be used.”—Jefferson Bethke—Even though I have never met Jefferson in person, how he lives and especially this quote, inspires me. This is a good quote to remind us of the value of people. I have said this before, and I will say it again: When we stop caring about people, we become monsters. That can also be said this way: When we treat people like commodities to be used, instead of souls that are to be loved, we also become monsters. This quote has helped encourage me to uplift and encourage people, and never to use others to my own advantage.
- “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”–Jim Elliot—This was something that the famous missionary, Jim Elliot, said in regards to the eternal versus the temporal. I have been realizing more and more that this is very true. This piece of advice has encouraged me to loosen my grip on some material things and be more willing to share with those that are in need. In loosening my grip on temporary things like money and outer appearance, I have found that I am more able to love and help people than when I become stingy or judgmentally vain. I also have found that when I apply this quote to letting go of small annoyances that probably won’t be remembered even the next day, and not to fuss over these issues. For instance, if someone rudely bumps into me without saying excuse me, instead of getting very upset at them, I would just politely say, “Excuse me,” and walk away from them, and not dwell on the situation again.
- “Dear ‘helpers’- If you’re doing it for the gratitude, then it’s not about them, it’s about you.”—my online friend *Holly (*=not her real name), in regards to people who do things that they think are kind, but only so they will feel “good” about themselves and will be appreciated by the recipient. — This piece of advice has helped me to make sure my motivations in doing something for others are pure, and are not tainted with selfishness and self-aggrandizement. I want to have a pure heart when doing something kind for others, helping others so that they will be able to experience love and joy, not just so I will feel appreciated by them. I don’t ever want to feel entitled to appreciation or even respect, but instead to know that these things are gifts from above.
These are some of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. All these words of wisdom have helped shaped my worldview in a positive and more enlightening way for me. They have helped me to be more giving and loving of others. What are the best pieces of advice you have ever been given? How have they influenced your life? Feel free to reply in the comments.