21 Pieces of Life Advice from Men

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Good pieces of advice are like nipples: everyone’s got at least two and some have three – or so I thought, but when it came to sitting down to think about the great advice that had served me well over the years, I could only remember one knockout gem. That’s one I was told when I was 15 and still abide by to this day: “Always go to the barber with the worst hair.” The idea being that they all cut each other’s, so he’ll be the talented one in the shop. It works in the general sense that my hair has never been disastrous.

With nothing else springing to mind, I asked my dad for the best piece of advice he’d ever received and he said that my grandfather had told him to always stick to his principles, even if it made him unpopular.

Then I went in search of some other “wise men”, with my criteria being that they had either spent much of their professional lives in the company of other men, or that they had risen to the top in a challenging profession. My question to them was: “What’s your best piece of advice?” Here’s what they told me.

1. Perry Groves, Ex-Footballer

“Bobby Moore told me that if I’m ever in the pub I should get two halves rather than a pint – everyone will think you’re a professional, rather than a drunk!”

2. Lloyd Griffith, Comedian

“Always take a girl with you when you go aftershave shopping. Take her advice and you’ll never sleep alone again.”

3. Ray Kelvin, CEO, Ted Baker

“The difference between style and fashion is a great pair of socks.”

4. Canon David Isherwood, Vicar

“What you think about anyone or anything determines your reaction and outcomes. Transform your thinking and everything changes.”

5. DJ Yoda, Turntablist

“Don’t be a perfectionist – I knew a DJ once who was way better than me technically, but his obsession with detail was so intense that it stopped him from ever getting anything done.”

6. Daf Palfrey, TV Director

“Trust your stupid ideas.”

7. Ken P, Headmaster

“Exercise is good for the mind, and so is gardening and sex.”

8. Dr Jack, Sex and Relationships Expert

“Don’t panic if you lose your erection, just fall asleep to let the natural biological processes of testosterone production take place. Then wake up to renewed sexual vigour – it’s more-or-less biologically guaranteed!”

9. Dr Kofi Nimako, Consultant Physician

“You never know what cards you’ve been dealt, so to improve your odds don’t be overweight, exercise regularly, don’t smoke and only drink in moderation. But don’t forget to enjoy life, too – because you may have been dealt winning cards!”

10. Alexi Lubomirski, Photographer/Polish Royalty

“Make time every day to meditate.”

11. Lee Broom, Interior Designer

“The advice that has remained my mantra was given by Vivienne Westwood and was simply, ‘Do your own thing’. To be successful it helps to have a point of difference.”

12. Dave Whittaker, Pub Landlord

“If you ever find yourself on the streets living out of a bag, my advice is to fold, fold, fold. Keep folding. And when you tire, when you almost give in and just stuff your dirty clothes into the bottom of your bag, just remember that you are part of that great human effort that fights back chaos, that forged civilisation from savagery, built fountains in the desert. Keep on folding.”

13. Brent Mossop, Barber

“My grandfather always told me to move on from mistakes and look at them as life lessons.”

14. Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol

“Always begin with the end in mind.”

15. Gideon Black, Rabbi

“Do not denigrate any person, nor belittle any thing, as there is no-one who doesn’t have his hour and no thing without its place.”

16. Moose Allain, Twitter Royalty (@MooseAllain)/Artist

In“My wife and I had a really fundamental realisation – let’s call it an epiphany – about relationships which has changed the way we live. It’s the idea of ‘admin’. Admin is money, work, food, transport, housework. It’s critical that neither one of you feels unfairly burdened with the admin. It’s incredible how often the thing that’s getting in the way of your mutual happiness is just this sense of unfairness.”

17. Ian McMillan, Poet

“A writer called Pete Morgan told me: ‘Whenever anybody asks you to do anything, always say yes’ and I’ve stuck with that. it’s led me down all sorts of broad highways – and the occasional blind alley! If you say yes and it doesn’t work, the only thing that will happen is that you won’t get asked again.”

18. Anthony Hunt, Cabbie

“Don’t put your head in the crocodile’s mouth, and don’t smoke. When you hit your 60s you might develop emphysema like me!”

19. Matt Holland, Ex-Footballer

“I was negotiating a new contract with Ipswich and Tony Mowbray said not to worry about the money, that if I did the business on the pitch then the money would find me – it was something that stuck with me throughout my career.”

20. Michael Deacon, Political Satirist

“The late Simon Hoggart, who as well as being the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer was the wine writer for the Spectator, told me to never go for the second cheapest bottle – it’s always the worst. The cheapest will be better.”

21. Jeremy Johnston, Personal Trainer

“Don’t be put off just because you haven’t tried something before. Try it. I live by this.”