Tuesday 24 April 2018

Graham's pick of the 20 best words of advice, ever!

Words of wisdom from a group of celebrities in the know

Graham Norton

Even the most wizened of misers will be generous with one thing – their advice. People love to give it. No matter how sad the jilted lover, everyone else will be only too happy to tell him or her about the other fish in the sea. Patience may be a virtue, but wise friends can't wait to reveal their trite insights into how best to navigate a path through the emotional maze of life. The modern world means that to even approach a computer results in a tsunami of memes telling you to be strong, or kind, or explaining why friends are like your knicker drawer. Yes, to give advice is clearly one of the greatest pleasures in life, so why, then, do so few people ask for it and an even fewer number actually take it?

We can all recognise the wisdom in really good advice but when we are hunched, sobbing on the bed, very little really helps. Of course, I know what the Persian Sufi poets said: "This, too, will pass," but in reality, until it does, I'm going to feel like moving to Minsk to start a new life.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of those who ask for advice aren't really looking for it. Just asking or composing the letter will probably have been the most helpful part and they will have decided on a course of action long before they receive any response. The same is true of the tearful huddle in the wine bar. Telling a friend what's wrong gives the problem a solid form that one can cope with. Leaving things unexpressed means that a worry can transform into a damp grey blanket of gloom that will envelop your whole life. If I was on Facebook right now I might post a picture of some meat with the legend: "Problems are like a fine steak – better flash fried than left to stew." In our gut we all know what to do, but sometimes we need someone else to give us a push.

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