Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best Advice You Actually Followed

I read an interview with author Chang-rae Lee last month in which the interviewer asked him a great question:

The best piece of advice you actually followed?

His answer:

"Honor what you love, whether it's a person or vocation or idea."

Lee's mentor and good friend, poet Garrett Hongo, gave him that advice.

Knowing and doing "what I love" is the best guide I've found for living a contented life. Seems like it took me way too many years to realize that truth. But I'm grateful that I learned that life lesson before I'm on my deathbed ... and that I've had more years to "practice" than I ever expected.

What's the best advice you received that you actually followed?

Photo Credit: Denise Applewhite

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4 comments:

Gunnar Berg said...

Your question made me reach back. I don't think it was ever expressed in a neat one line statement with quotation marks around it, but my grandfather taught me tolerance for other people's values, even when they don't coincide with my own - to try to put myself in their shoes and understand why they think like they do, and give weight to their positions.

Todd said...

Good advice ... hard to practice. Was that from grandfather Neil?

I don't recall any advice from my grandfathers -- both grumpy guys who mostly scared us grandkids.

One great memory: Grandpa K, the farmer, used to pour us kids a very small glass of Grain Belt to sip along with the old guys on a hot summer afternoon. Got to sit quietly and listen to their stories about the "old days" and their complaints about politicians -- and taste that "golden" brew.

Gunnar Berg said...

Yes ... Neil. He was an educated man, heavy in philosophy. When I was 12 to 16 my summers were, get up and ride my bike down to my grandparents on the edge of town for breakfast. We then spent the day on small tractors cultivating corn or soybeans. He was very social so this also included morning lunch, noon lunch and afternoon lunch in a number of small town cafes, as the operation covered three villages. Then it was back to their place for a late supper ("dinner" was a noon meal). A lot of time for just talking. In essence, he raised me through the important years. I loved the man.

bob said...

From my father. "Don't make important decisions when you're upset."