I was in a taxi last week, and our talk suddenly went from the weather to life and the lessons we hoped we learned in times of recession and difficulty (you have to love the Irish capacity for chit-chat). We mused over the pearls of wisdom we’d been lucky enough to receive, either from a friend, family member or from prose that moved us and it’s been on my mind all this week. There are so many lessons I wish I had learned, fully appreciated and applied over the last few years. And the thing about words of wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that frequently they’re learned in retrospect, sometimes long after we needed them. However, no experience need ever go to waste; a life lesson or sound piece of advice can be passed down to anyone we hold dear, a stranger on the street or simply repeated to bring a smile to those who need it most. And, above all, this can make a difference at any age.
Below (and in the gallery above) are a collection of the IMAGE team’s favourite lessons and words of wisdom:
In the interim on relationships – The goal is to laugh forever with someone you take seriously.
Clodagh Edwards, CEO
90% of success is just showing up.
Jessie Collins, Editorial Director
I’m always conscious of the fact that I may be the only person another person has spoken to or gets to speak to, all day. It means I’m always conscious of having kindness in my heart when having conversations with the kinds of people we all sometimes avoid: the badgering homeless person, the random stranger, the lonely old person, the crazy who just starts talking to you … Sometimes, just listening to someone is the greatest thing you can give them, and 99% of the time you come away from the exchange feeling better too.
Eoin Higgins, Cara Deputy Editor
More about listening, this quote was a game-changer for me:
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen’ – Winston Churchill.
Ellie Balfe, Online Editor
Warsan Shire has kind of become my bible for everyday life lessons – stuff like: “My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude” and “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself – what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.”
Eoin Mulligan, Editorial Assistant
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” – American choreographer Twyla Tharp
Lucy White, Cara Editor
From a very young age, my mother used to always tell me that If I looked into a mirror for too long I’d turn into a WITCH – which I believed! It was her way of teaching me not to judge a person based on appearances and possibly why I’m now allergic to selfies!
Corinne Vaughan, Senior Account Manager
When I was an anxious teenager having a particularly raw “what is life” moment, my dad told me to stop fretting over the people who (I felt) didn’t like me. “Do you want to be best friends with everyone you’ve ever met? No, because if we all liked everyone, we’d all be boring, bland people with no personality. Focus on the people who matter most to you rather than trying to win the whole world over. “It always stuck with me and really made me focus on the people who I wanted in my life.
Lauren Heskin, Cara Junior Editor
I carry two pieces of advice with me always; both repeatedly said to me by my mother. The first is “there’ll always be someone smarter, prettier and more successful than you.” She said it to try and make me understand that it was impossible to try and be all things to all people when I should take stock of the unique things I have to offer. Yes, someone will likely be or do it better, but it doesn’t mean you can’t excel at the things you’re good at.
The second was “the only thing certain in life is that nothing stays the same.” I fear getting stuck in a rut, frequently fretting that I’ll never get where I want to go, and those words reassure me that change will come regardless of what we say or do. Particularly helpful if I’m having a bad day.
Jennifer McShane, Staff Writer
“It’s not how the world sees you; it’s how you see the world.” This helped me hugely to shake off years of self-consciousness. I look outward more than inward now. Much more enlightening!
Marie Kelly, Fashion Editor
I read a great piece on Linkedin a while ago by Shane Rodgers called The career advice I wish I had at 25: “If work was really so great all the rich people would have the jobs.”
I particularly love this point: “It is well established that almost nobody laments on their death bed that they didn’t spend enough time at the office. This seems obvious. Still, we let contrived circumstances and fairly trivial issues keep us from important events like school sports days and kids getting badges for picking up rubbish. I wish somebody had schooled me about these priorities at 25. I can remember every sports day and certificate presentation I missed. I can’t remember any of the reasons I missed them.”
Amanda Kavanagh, IMAGE Interiors & Living Editor
This is genuinely what I have learned in my life: YOLO (You Only Live Once).
Alec Ward, Account Executive
The wisdom and simplicity of Dr Suess: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Irene Molloy, Senior Account Executive
My favourite piece of advice passed to my mum by a friend: “You have one duty in this life: to make the space around you as pleasant as possible for the people who have to share it with you.”
Jillian Bolger, Writer