While it is possible to look to religion, oracles or soothsayers for guidance and wisdom, there’s nothing like the words of ordinary folk.
Redditors have been sharing the small pieces of advice given to them that have seen them through hard times, made them look at the world differently and face up to their own mortality.
Some dealt with the idea that it’s never too late do something.
When Redditor Luckyhenry was 38, he was contemplating beginning a two year Associates Degree in Radiography, but he was hesitant and had nearly talked himself out of it: "I'm too old to start that. I'll be 40 when I get my degree," he thought to himself.
However, a meeting with a friend led him to reconsider. "If you don't do it,” said his friend, “you'll still be 40, but without the degree."
Luckyhenry says: "I'm nearly 60 now, and that degree has been the difference between making a decent living, and struggling to get by."
For others, it was chance encounters that gave them a great sense of perspective.
User RedheadBanshee met a man who was confined to a wheelchair.
He told her about a time a person once asked if it was difficult to be confined to a wheelchair.
“He responded, 'I'm not confined to my wheelchair - I am liberated by it. If it wasn't for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my room or house.'"
A commenter followed up by saying how it was a "great instance of ‘it could always be worse.'"
Others are heartbreaking examples of why you should always appreciate what you have, while you have it.
"I had a daughter who was born with a fatal birth defect," says Redditor Mescad. "We knew she wouldn't live, if she was even born alive at all. I decided that whatever time we got with her, I was going to appreciate it."
Despite his daughter only surviving for five hours, Mescad says he treated her the same way as any new father would treat his newborn baby in that time.
"My point of view was that we had the rest of our lives to mourn the loss, but only a brief moment to enjoy her life. It made a huge difference in the grieving process later."
User apopheniac1989 received a simple piece of advice on being humble.
"If you think you know something, find someone who disagrees and listen to them."
He says: "It has taken years for that to fully sink in, but it's a never-ending process. The last part, the part about actually listening, is the tricky bit, and it took me many years to get it right."
"But it's the best advice I've ever heard, and it changed my life more than any other single piece of advice."
Messing around in a swimming pool gave Loubird12500 a new perspective on fear. She was trying to teach her nervous sister how to dive, but not having much luck. She grew more impatient while her sister grew more edgy, and began to scream how scared she was.
At that point an old lady swam over, fist punched the air and said: "So be afraid! And then do it anyway!"
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