Know-It-All, Part II
It’s time for another installment of Know-It-All, where I offer you the best of my unsolicited and usually obvious advice –
First – because I am an unapologetic smarty-pants,
Second – because they say that you should stick with what you do best – and I am much better at giving advice than taking it.
So here goes:
– If someone tells you that you look great – go right to a mirror and check it out. Sometimes it’s very difficult to see yourself clearly, so it’s a very helpful to rely on your friends, family and co-workers. After all, they don’t want you to look bad. So when they say you look nice, they are trying to steer you in the right direction. So take a look. Is it the color you are wearing, the cut or fit, does your hair look particularly nice? Believe them.
– And speaking of compliments, pay some yourself. And I am not talking about being a suck-up. But I have found that every single day there is at least one opportunity (and usually more) to pay someone a sincere compliment. Recognize those occasions – and say so. And not just “great sweater” – although that’s very nice to hear (see above). But think about how nice it is to hear “great question” “I like your enthusiasm” or my favorite: “You make me laugh.”
– If you don’t like the book you are reading, stop reading it. There are so many fabulous books out there, don’t feel guilty about abandoning one that doesn’t move you. School is the exception to this rule. If it’s required reading – then slog through it. And try to figure out what someone else may see in it. It’s good discipline. But by all means – outside of classroom assignments – read what you love. And don’t be embarrassed either if others don’t feel your reading material is classy enough. You are reading. That already puts you ahead of 100% of the folks in front of the TV.
– And if you like TV: Don’t be embarrassed about that either. TV is relaxing. TV is great social currency. And once in a while, TV is even good.
– Back to education. (and back to people trying to steer you in the right direction): Your teachers are not trying to fool you. If you are sitting in class, just looking out the window or doodling (and I spent most of college doing one or the other), and you hear the teacher say, “This is important” – Write it down! Draw a star in the textbook! If you are under 30, and you only know one way to remember a quote, by all means, get that tattoo! Because if the teacher thinks it is important, I guarantee you it will be on the test.
– And with regards to tests: Don’t EVER answer the question, “If I died, would you re-marry?” There is no right answer. Do not attempt that treacherous minefield.
– Which leads us to death. Go to wakes and funerals. Don’t tell yourself that it doesn’t matter if you don’t go. Your presence is so noticed. And appreciated. You need to care that someone you know has lost someone they love. Pay your respects. And please show your respect too. Dress up. Don’t look like you are on your way to the gym.
– And let’s circle back to reading. Don’t worry so much about bilingual signage. If you speak English, and the sign is in English, does it really matter to you what other language it might be in? Why would you want other people to be confused? Having as many people as possible understand directions is to your advantage too. I mean, you’re already suffering at the Motor Vehicle Department. Do you really want 20% of everybody else to be in the wrong line?