Updated: Jan 13
I am a big fan of things like “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe” and “The Ultimate Way to Organize,” so when I came across an article entitled “The Only Two Pieces of Advice You’ll Ever Need,” I got excited at the prospect of getting some quick and easy direction for life. I dove in and read Tyler Cowen’s article feverishly, quickly realizing that this author’s foundation was built on ideas that revolved around garnering advice from others: small groups and mentors.
Cowen suggested that if you look to a formal or informal gathering of peers or to a person who knows significantly more about an area than you do, you’ll be guided in the right direction for life and toward your goals. That’s it. That’s the only advice you’ll ever need. But something was missing for me. Something in my heart was saying, “Hey, wait a minute. Really?! This is it?! Look to others for the answers? That’s the only advice I’ll ever need?”
I started contemplating and writing. Since the sun was rising while I sat, I knew that something would illuminate within me. An explanation for my reaction floated to the surface, and I understood that advice for life can never be complete without an emphasis on one’s heart, one’s loving inner guide.
When I pondered what two pieces of ultimate advice I might offer to my own children or others, these thoughts emerged:
1) Cultivate knowledge continuously.
2) Ensure that your pursuits stem from a place in your heart.
These two concepts could include Cowen’s emphasis on obtaining knowledge from wiser individuals, but they also acknowledge the importance of the wisdom that rests within each of us. When we learn from other sources (people, books, teachings), we expand our breadth of knowing, but it is imperative that what we learn also connects to a benevolent space within us. This space of the heart reminds us that the world becomes a better place when we act out of a sense of love and community, and it also helps to illuminate our passions. Actions that stem from both knowledge and a sweet space within lead to magnanimous inspiration where we act on behalf of others and not just ourselves. This is how we build a brighter future for all.
Additionally, when we seek wisdom from individuals who are coming from such an inspired space, we avail ourselves to a more direct line of thought, motivation, and action that is in line with nobler ways. In other words, guidance from benevolent beings nurtures a positive feeling within and often benefits society as well as ourselves.
Knowledge is a key to learning and growth, but the space of the heart is what turns that knowledge into wisdom.
Take a moment now and consider the two best pieces of advice that you might give someone. What would they be? Do you follow those pieces of advice in your own life? Please feel free to share your wisdom or offerings in the Comments section below. Each one of us is a student of this world, always learning and growing, and maybe a morning sunrise or your own heart will ignite a different idea within you. Feel free to help us grow.