5 Best Pieces of Advice from 2019

5 Best Pieces of Advice from 2019

It’s that time of year when the Internet is inundated with “best of” lists and round-up posts. I thought I’d join the fun and create my own little list of best pieces of advice from 2019. This isn’t just advice given to me, but things I overheard or absorbed in one way or another. So let’s jump in!

“JUST DO IT.”

I hope Nike doesn’t come after me but seriously this is true. Something I’ve noticed in myself is a paralyzing fear of simply getting started. I think we get stuck in these cycles of perfectionism and “I’ll try”s but the truth is, if we don’t take action and just do it, we’ll never get started.

“THE GREATEST TEACHER, FAILURE IS.”

I HAD to include a Star Wars quote and that quote, OF COURSE, had to be from Yoda himself. We are trained to not fail. We are trained to avoid failure at all costs. And by avoiding failure, we shrink the boundaries of our existence until we’re moving around in a little box of fear. True growth comes from failing. It is the gift that keeps on giving. So, in the coming year, I urge you to (just) do it and then fail a few times. You’ll learn how to pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes.

“EXISTENCE PRECEDES ESSENCE.”

This is a quote from my wonderful and very wise supervisor, Jim. This isn’t necessarily a piece of advice, but it is something I have been mulling over since I heard it. Here’s the deal—we exist before we become who we are meant to be. We can choose to spend our lifetimes simply existing or we can do the work of figuring out who we are. No one can answer that for you—only you can do that for yourself. So it’s not necessarily an easy path to actively cultivate and explore our meaning and purpose, but not choosing any sort of essence at all is a decision in and of itself. (If you’re wondering what is a good question to ask yourself, Viktor Frankl tells us to ask ourselves: “What is life asking of me?” as a jumping off point for exploring meaning in your life.)

“LET YOUR BUTTERFLIES FLY IN FORMATION.”

Long story short: your brain has a lot of power over how your body feels. Your thoughts literally affect your physiology. When we feel anxiety or fear, reframing those feelings can completely change how we react and respond in a given situation. (This quote is from the book How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett. I highly recommend!)

“YOU ARE NOT BEHIND.”

Thank you, David Epstein (author of Range), for this beautiful, beautiful quote. Our society pushes developing skills and specializing at younger and younger ages. (Did you start playing basketball at 2 months of age? No? You won’t ever make it.) But David Epstein blows that idea out of the water with a wonderful book about the power of exploring and developing gifts, talents, and skills over a lifetime—and how that actually helps you instead of hurts you. At the end of the book, he says his best piece of advice is: “You are not behind.” And indeed, no one is ever behind. Contrary to popular belief, life is long and if you want to make a career switch or go back to school, it simply is never too late. To swing back around to piece of advice 1, JUST DO IT!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

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