I was a stupid kid once. I listened to everyone, and since I grew up in a blue-collar world, a lot of the stuff I learned about the world was wrong.
I want to tell you about the best advice ever. Some of the advice in this article came from mentors. Some came from books. Some came from videos.
But wherever the pieces of life advice in this post came from, they changed me for the better.
Wherever you are on your journey, I hope they do the same for you.
From my perspective, the best advice ever has changed my life, earning me more, and making me happier. This advice has carried me through starting this blog, growing a consulting business, and being a dad and a human being.
Here are 8 piece of epic life advice that have changed mine!
This post contains affiliate links. These pay us a small commission if you choose to buy something, at no cost to you. This helps support the work we do here at Roostervane. Thanks!
1. Money can buy peace of mind
I grew up relatively working class. We had most of the things we needed, and always a meal on the table. For which I am super thankful.
But clothes were always handed down. And the handful of times I ate in a restaurant as a kid, they started with Mc.
I remember something I heard my whole life.
“Money can’t buy happiness.”
I’m sure to some extent, it can’t. We obviously all know the stories of millionaires who were deeply unhappy, even suicidal.
But last year, I started interviewing people who had doubled their income. It was for a book project I was planning. And I realized a money block I’d picked up.
To my surprise, I found that most of them were happier with more money.
And it wasn’t just because they had money in the bank.
Poverty brings a lot of stress. If you don’t know how to pay your bills, or you have to choose between the type of housing you want or medicine, it makes life difficult.
So the first time I heard somebody say it, I thought it was bullshit. But over time, I’ve realized the truth: money buys peace of mind. Building wealth buys peace of mind.
And peace of mind, a life without stress, is essential to happiness.
2. Work smart, not hard
One of my earliest jobs was working construction on a highway. I was on a crew of general laborers, and we would go around the construction site doing whatever manual work needed to be done.
I heard these working-class guys say this again and again: “Work smart, not hard.”
This is life advice that almost everybody knows. And we usually apply it to silly little hacks. There are YouTube videos full of little tricks like this.
One the construction site, they’d ask an excavator to dig a hole instead of us doing it by hand with shovels. And someone would inevitably say, “Work smart, not hard.”
The thing that I realized in time is that if you take this advice to heart, and actually follow it, it will change your life.
I was working at a job that paid me $100,000 a year. And I wanted to earn more money. Logic said that I could pick up a side job – or extra hours. That would make me more money. But it would also be ridiculously challenging, and take away from time with my kids.
That’s working hard. Not smart.
But working harder is most people’s answer to not making enough.
I ended up switching industries. And I earned twice as much in tech. I also kept working on this blog, which now earns me money too.
The thing is, we all have things we could fill our days with. I know so many people who love being busy. They wear it like a stupid badge of honor.
But the people who are truly rich, who have an extraordinary quality of life, do something differently.
They spend their limited hours in the day working smart. Working on things that actually make money. And scale. That build wealth.
Robert Kiyosaki’s famous advice is that the rich don’t work for money. They just don’t. They spend their time building assets that make them money.
So next time you want to follow this advice, forget about stupid little hacks, and reorient your life to working smart.
3. A need does not constitute a calling
When I was 20, I was on my way to be a minister. For a lot of different reasons, I never made it there.
But my mentor was a senior pastor of the church who had a lot of wisdom.
And one of the things I remember him saying is this: a need does not constitute a calling.
When you look at the world, there are going to be so many needs. A lot of people who are compassionate, altruistic, and agreeable, can find themselves being drawn to try to fix all of them.
I’ve met so many people in terrible jobs, that are treating them like garbage, but they’ve convinced themselves that they’re saving the world.
Maybe they’re working with disadvantaged youth or for a nonprofit.
They can’t leave, because they’re needed.
I set myself free with my mentors words.
“A need does not constitute a calling.”
Just because there is something needed in the world, doesn’t mean it’s your job to fix it. Set yourself free.
4. Be as kind to yourself as to everyone else
My daughter is kind to everyone. She sees the good in everyone, and is super patient.
But when it comes to herself, she has no patience. She will beat herself up for the smallest things.
And I often say something to her. Something like, “be kind to my daughter. I love her more than anything.”
A lot of kind people can be really forgiving and generous to everybody else in the world. And then really hard on themselves.
Be at least as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.
5. Work yourself out of a job
In the vast majority of the jobs you work, your goal should be to work yourself out of a job.
But, again and again, I meet employees with these stupid protective mindsets around their job.
“Nobody can do this as well as me.”
Too often, a job becomes an integral part of their identity. They need it. They need to be the best at it. And they get into this pathetic place where they only see themselves as a certain job and never grow.
When I see somebody who’s being in the same job for life, I think, “How sad.”
Some of the best advice ever came from an old boss.
Always try to work yourself out of a job. You’re either going to move up and let somebody take your place. Or, in some cases, you’ll do the job so well it doesn’t need to be done anymore.
6. Get assets to put money in your pocket
One of my favorite money mentors is the finance author Robert Kiyosaki.
In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, he famously defines an asset as this: an asset puts money in your pocket.
So when it comes to building wealth, this advice is pretty much all you need. You are trying to build or buy assets that put money in your pocket.
This blog puts money in my pocket every day. From the advertising, I get a check each month. Some days it’s huge, and some days not so much. But each day it puts money in my pocket.
It’s an asset. And I built it from scratch, starting with nothing.
Whether you’re thinking about property, investments, a business, or a tiny house in your backyard that you put on Airbnb, true wealth will come from building income streams.
The wealthy know this. And poor people just worry about how much their salary is and claw for a little extra each year.
7. Nobody is thinking about you
“What will people think?”
I spent the first half of my life worrying about what people think. I imagined that there were people, whose opinion I cared about, who were huddled in a room somewhere talking about Chris. Watching Chris. Analyzing everything he just did.
“Can you believe what Chris just did?” They would ask themselves. “What a moron Chris is!”
And I’m not sure where the advice came from, but when I heard it it changed my life.
Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Nobody is thinking of you.
Or, in the words of David Foster Wallace, “You’ll stop caring what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.”
It helped me to stop being a people pleaser.
Nobody is thinking about you. And if people occasionally think about you, it’s a fraction of what you actually think.
Stop stressing about what people think of you, and go live your life the way you want to. Because nobody cares.
8. We’ll all be forgotten
When I was younger I was obsessed with what would happen after my death. Sounds sort of morbid, I know.
But in my defense, I was raised very religious.
So the logic went something like this.
“Our time on earth is short. So do something that will matter for eternity.”
Even when I moved out of religion, I saw a lot of people obsessed with their legacies. I worked for the government. I saw people, mostly men, obsessed with getting their names on stuff. They wanted a program named after them.
Or a building.
So many people are seeking immortality in whatever way they can find it.
So, on the day when I discovered the greatest life-changing advice ever, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
We will all be forgotten in time. Every single one of us.
Look at the billions of people who have lived on this planet. Virtually all of them, except for a small handful, have you forgotten.
I will be too. So will you.
So here’s the best advice ever: Recognize that you’ll be forgotten.
I don’t know about you, but when I accept that, it’s liberating.
Live the life you want to live. Make a difference to people. Find things that bring you joy.
But don’t do any of it so that you’ll be remembered in centuries. Because you won’t be.
These pieces of life advice, for me, have been the best advice ever. These collective nuggets of wisdom have earned me more money, made me happier, and helped me to embrace who I am.
I hope that they help you see the world differently too.