Best Advice You Ever Received Essay

When his mother died on Sunday at age 102, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recalled some of his favorite bits of advice she had given him. What’s the best advice someone has given you? Who did it come from — a parent or other family member, a graduation speaker, a teacher, a coach, a friend?

As Javier C. Hernandez reports, Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite parental advice was “Call your mother” – which he heeded, every day, until his mother died. Charlotte Rubens Bloomberg dispensed other advice over the years:

In a birthday letter to the actress Kitty Carlisle in 2003, he imparted his mother’s advice for longevity: “Never eat anything that tastes good,” he wrote. “When you lean over to pick something up, see if there is anything else you can do while you’re down there.”

Students: Tell us about the best advice you have been given. Why was it good advice? Who gave it to you, and when? Have you followed it?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment below. Please use only your first name. For privacy policy reasons, we will not publish student comments that include a last name.

Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.

Have you ever heard a piece of advice or nugget of wisdom that was particularly impactful and stuck with you for a long time? If so, tell us so we can have it too.


Tim’s Answer: I actually heard this one from a friend’s father at a group dinner back in college. He said something along the lines of:

When you’re figuring out what to do with your life, I think it’s a mistake to first decide what you want to do and then move to best location to do that thing. Instead, pick the place where you really want to live and go there. Your career will work itself out wherever you go.

Now, years later, looking at my own experiences and those of my friends, this definitely seems right on. A) It’s hard to stay happy for very long if you’re in a place you don’t like—whether because the culture rubs you the wrong way or you’re too far from people you care about or you’re neglecting some yearning to be somewhere else. And B) career paths are twisty and surprising and totally unpredictable anyway, and people never seem to end up where they planned.

Of course, certain professions are tied to one particular location, but most aren’t. So if you’re at a crossroads, and you’ve always wanted to live in San Francisco, but you have a connection that can get you a good job in your home town or somewhere else you feel lackluster about—move to San Francisco with no job. You’ll figure things out when you get there.

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