We all find ourselves wishing we could call upon the wisdom of those whom we admire from time to time. Navigating our way through this tumultuous life isn’t always easy, it has its ups, its downs and its roundabouts. During the low points, we all need a bit of a shove in the right direction, a bit of encouragement to push through and remember, as Marilyn Monroe was so keen to remind us, that there is always light at the end of the tunnel even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. How could we possibly appreciate the good times if we didn’t experience the bad?
We have gathered a collection of some of the most hard earned life lessons from some of the world’s most inspirational people. From Audrey Hepburn to Nelson Mandela, the advice and wisdom they have imparted continue to give us a deeper understanding of life and the world around us. They remind us to stop, take a breath and appreciate what we have and how far we have come. Moreover, their resilience and respective spirit of determination in the face of adversity serve as inspirational reminders that we are all capable of achieving what we set our minds to.
On a less serious note, the people on this list remind us of the absolute importance of laughing at ourselves. As Robert Frost once said, and we’re inclined to agree with him, ‘If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.’
10. Audrey Hepburn: Embrace Your Quirks and ‘Do your own thing!’
Audrey Hepburn once stated about herself: ‘I think I’m rather funny-looking. My teeth are funny, for one thing, and I have none of the attributes usually required for a movie queen, including the shapeliness.’ It’s hard to believe, but the iconic beauty was frequently told that she was unattractive by her mother. However, instead of internalising those messages and changing herself, she embraced her quirks and used them to make her stand out from the crowd. She once said, ‘I never think of myself as an icon…I just do my thing!’ So what are you waiting for? Get out there and celebrate all of your weird and wonderful attributes.
9. Marilyn Monroe: Live Gratefully
Always one to put a positive spin on the trials and tribulations of life, Monroe once said that ‘Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right’ and she wasn’t wrong. Ups and downs are a part of life. We couldn’t possibly know what it is to feel happiness without having some low times to compare it to. The next time life throws you a curveball, make like Monroe and use it to make you appreciate the good times all the better.
8. Bob Dylan: Success isn’t measured by how much you have
Who better to get life advice from than the greatest folk musician of all, Bob Dylan! He once said that “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Bob. A successful life is measured by whether you spend your day scanning groceries or saving a life in the emergency room. Regardless of what you do, if it makes you happy and you give it everything you’ve got, that’s what counts.
7. Coco Chanel: Be Amusing
One of the world’s most innovative fashion designers, Coco Chanel was renowned for her elegance and style. She is also remembered for her many wise words and her influential quotes that continue to reach men and women across the globe today. Here’s one we at TheRichest think is worth remembering: ‘You live but once. You might as well be Amusing.’ A reminder to embrace the ridiculous and the sublime never hurts.
6. Einstein: Value People
Einstein once stated that ‘Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else’. We all get fed up with up with the people in our lives from time to time, but there’s a lot to be said for following Einstein’s advice. Even if it’s just in the form of a phonecall, reach out to your nearest and dearest for just a few minutes each day and let them know how much they mean to you. We can almost guarantee that you’ll hang up that phone feeling lighter.
5. Leonard Cohen: Take your time
In his 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers Leonard Cohen offered his readers some sage advice, ‘Never make a decision when you need to pee.’ We can’t argue with him. It’s pretty important to take some time to deliberate over the more important decisions in life.
4. Steve Jobs: Don’t settle for second best
American entrepreneur, inventor and co-founder of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs had some pretty wise words to share with the world over the course of his career. His reminder that we should not settle for second best is a particular favourite. He once stated that, ‘If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.’ Whether it’s your job, your relationship or friendships, do not settle for something that does not fulfil you
3. Christopher Reeves: Choose Hope
American actor Christopher Reeves was most widely known for his role in the Superman movies. In 1995, Chris fell from a horse during an eventing competition and was paralysed requiring a wheelchair and a breathing apparatus for the remainder of his life. The inspirational actor turned activist founded the Christopher Reeves Foundation, lobbying on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries. Reeves famously stated that ‘Once you choose hope, anything’s possible’. Reeves’ story reminds us that anything is possible.
2. Nelson Mandela: Never ever give up!
‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ Mandela recited William Ernest Henley’s famous poem, “Invictus” to his fellow prisoners on Robben Island, empowering them to continue the fight in the struggle for justice. He lived through to his words, never giving up on his cause, his life instead dedicated to fighting for freedom and equality. He believed that ‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’ An inspiration to millions worldwide, Mandela has proven what we can achieve when we have passion and belief in a cause on our side.
1. Maya Angelou: ‘I rise I rise I rise.’
Legendary poet and author Maya Angelou sadly died on 28th of May 2014. The renowned writer shared many of the lessons she herself learned throughout the course of her life. She reminds us to weather the storm, no matter how hard we feel life gets with her famous words, “No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” Maya Angelou emphasised the importance of resilience in making it through life. Her words have profound meaning to people in all corners of the world and her legacy will undoubtedly live on for several lifetimes.
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