I met one woman in Georgia who has been married to her husband for over 60 years. After being asked for her best relationship advice, she paused and then said, “Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.”
Nate Bagley, creator of The Loveumentary, a study of the 100-plus greatest love stories in America, on businessinsider.com
Several years ago, I was at a lecture by a brilliant speaker, Nido Qubein, who said, “If you’re in the presence of a true expert, you will understand everything they say. If you don’t understand what someone is saying, they are not an expert.” Often when we don’t understand what someone who is claiming to be an expert is saying, we tend to blame ourselves. Now my filters are simple. I cut people off if they don’t make sense.
Julie Morgenstern, professional organizer
My mother and I were riding a trolley on a Saturday morning in West Philadelphia. I told her how much my first-grade teacher Miss Invernessy loved me, boasting that I was the teacher’s pet. I didn’t know that Miss Invernessy’s own mother was riding behind us. She heard everything. On Monday, Miss Invernessy kept me after class. After she told me, to my total humiliation, what her mother had overheard, I expected her to scold me for my hubris. She said, “The important thing is that you work for yourself, not for my approval. If you feel that doing well matters to you, you become your most loyal fan as well as your most severe critic.”
Judith Rodin, PhD, president of the Rockefeller Foundation on the RockBlog, rockefellerfoundation.org
On Your Circle
“You’re the average of the five people you associate with the most.” A wrestling coach told this to me in high school. I’ve never forgotten it.
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, on businessinsider.com
My seventh-grade football team had just been soundly trounced. Our opponent was a bunch of ragtag kids from an Oklahoma City Salvation Army shelter. Their helmets didn’t match. Some wore jeans. The kid across from me had put his number on his shirt in masking tape. But when we snapped the ball, that kid hit me so hard, my left shoulder still hurts when it rains. After the game, my dad told me, “Boy, you just got a lesson in the power of desire. The difference between winners and losers is that winners do things that losers just don’t want to do.” If I want something bad enough, I better be willing to work however hard is required. If not, a boy with a taped-on number might take it away.
Phil McGraw, PhD, host of the television show Dr. Phil
On Raising Children
Hours after our first child was born, a nun at the hospital handed my husband a typed poem:
“Be careful where you go,
Be careful what you do.
Two little eyes are watching
Two little feet will be
It’s easy to overlook that those little eyes soak up things you might not be aware you’re transmitting. Like how family members treat one another. How often please and thank you punctuate the day. Whether you come to a full stop at a stop sign. The kids might look oblivious, but they’re watching.
Paula Spencer, journalist and author of Momfidence!, in Woman’s Day
I had three children while I was earning my PhD at Harvard. When I met with a therapist, one of the first things she asked was, “When was the last time you read a book for fun?” That day, schlepping my preschoolers through the grocery store, I picked up a copy of Jurassic Park. I read all night. That question became a pivotal part of my career as a coach and self-help author. Inject fun into any joyless portion of your life. Everything can change.
Martha Beck, PHD, sociologist, life coach, and author
My no-nonsense mother used to say, “Make yourself useful.” It referred to clearing the table or taking out the trash. But as my ability to be useful expanded, so did the opportunities. Add something to a meeting, a party, or a project. Being useful is so widely applicable and enormously satisfying.
Kelly Corrigan, author of Glitter & Glue and The Middle Place