Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good Advice

The best advice is often not the most eloquent. It's not necessarily the advice which most concisely summarises the tradeoffs to be made, and points you in the best possible direction. Sadly, it's not even the wisest.

Often, what constitutes the most useful advice is simply that which has a way of coming to your mind when you need it most, and when you are at risk of doing the wrong thing. And in that regard, a pithy formulation can be the most helpful of all.

One of the central problems that I (and I think lots of people) face is simply that they get too caught up in their worries of the present moment. Fortunately, this is a very easy problem to solve. All you need to do is mentally take a step back, reflect on the bigger picture, and realise that most of the time the things you're worrying about don't actually matter much in the scheme of things.

The trouble is that when you get too close to your problems, however trivial, it's just a hard thought to remember.

By this metric, I find one of the best bits of advice is from Bob Dylan's song, 'Someone's Got A Hold of My Heart':
"She said 'Be easy, baby, there ain't nothing worth stealing here.' "
And it's true. For the vast majority of things, you are just better off being easy.

For some reason, it tends to come to mind in a way that wiser versions of the same thing don't always seem to.

I couldn't find the original (from the Bootleg Series Volume 3), but here's a pretty decent cover:

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