“I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble that I’m always in …” – Alice in Wonderland
When I was growing up, my dad gave me advice all the time. About cars, about finances, about everything. At the time, one of my ears was listening while the other one was hearing an adult talking in a “Peanuts” cartoon. Wah wah wah WAH wah. But it must have stuck, because I started taking it to heart 20 years later. And I kicked myself for not following it sooner.
Here were some of his words of wisdom:
- “Don’t spend more money than you have.”
- “Don’t let your gas tank go below a quarter tank.”
- “When you get a raise, put it directly in your 401K. It’s money won’t miss.”
- “Get your car’s oil changed regularly.”
- “Don’t use a credit card unless you can pay it off every month.”
It’s all great advice, especially the credit card one. I kick myself for not following it.
Here’s some more parental/anyone advice that I didn’t take to heart until years later:
- “There’s a difference between what you want and what you need.” An 8-year-old thinks she needs a Barbie Dreamhouse. Any parent knows she will pay with that $200 piece of plastic for two weeks before she sees the next shiny and new thing advertised.
- “Leave early.” When you leave early, you get there early. Or on time if something comes up. It’s solid advice, so why do I still end up scrambling and rushing out the door?
- “Love what you, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” For 22 years, I worked at a job. While I was good at what I did there, I didn’t wake up loving it. But it was a good job with health benefits. I needed those benefits because the stress from work increased my anxiety and depression. Once I left that job, my health improved greatly. I’m still working on finding what I love, but at least now I truly feel I’m in charge.
I’ll wrap up by giving you my own bit of advice:
When you hear good advice (and you’ll know it when you hear it), don’t just nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Write it down. Remember it. Act on it. You’ll be lightyears ahead of the rest of us.