It’s easy to scoff at “fortune cookie wisdom.” There are many little sayings that seem simple, pithy, and worthless, but I’ve found that profound wisdom can come from sayings like these if you actually take them to heart and use them. Over the years, I’ve picked up little sayings like this and have used them to make big changes in my life.
Some are quotes that I’ve read. Others are those common sayings you’ve come to know but don’t really know where they came from. Others are ones that I’ve come up with in my half-decade of being a student of life. All of them can have an impact on you and give you the spark you need to change if you let them.
When it comes to pieces of wisdom you hear, just understand that you’re ultimately the one who makes meaning in your life. Take these bits of wisdom and run with them for a while. If you do, I bet you’ll make some of those changes you’ve been meaning to make for a while.
- This is where I’m at and I have to deal with it – I said this to myself when I was dead broke, working a job I hated and had no hope for the future. I’d screwed up and dug a deep hole. But I found a way to stop digging. We all end up in situations we don’t want to be in now because of things that happened in the past – unchangeable things. As much as those past moments may haunt you, every minute spent worrying about them is just wasted time you could use to start improving now.
- Do what you can with what you have – Maybe you don’t have the perfect upbringing, the best connections, or the most resources, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build with what you do have. Sometimes, having next to nothing to lose is the freest position. Like I mentioned in the point above, I had almost no resources to start with, but I still managed to build my own ‘mini empire’ over time.
- Spend each day getting a little wiser than you were when you woke up  – Knowledge compounds. A book here, a few minutes of a video there, a positive learning experience picked up throughout the day. These things add up.
- ‘Amor Fati’ (love what happens to you) - This is a mental re-frame taught by stoic philosophy. It teaches you to draw a valuable lesson in every moment of your life, no matter how dark. It’s powerful to find usefulness in every moment of life instead of wishing things were different.
- All problems exist only in your mind – As much as it feels like you can’t control your interpretation of events, understand that it’s always possible to re-frame your own perception. How? Decide how much time you want to spend fretting over perceived problems. Decide whether or not you want to let these problems dictate and dominated your mind. Once you’re ready, decide to change your mind.
- This is happening for you, not to you – Again, this speaks to the idea of taking power over the things that happen to you. Often, many of the moments you experience in the present teach you lessons you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I look back at things that felt like they were happening to me at the time, like my crumbling marriage, and see how much they helped me become stronger and better today.
- Why not you? – Extraordinary people are those who chose to treat themselves as an exception to the rule. Somebody has to be successful. Somebody has to win. Why does it have to be someone else? Why not you?
- Success is on the other side of fear – You want to make up this scenario in your head where you somehow reach your most ambitious goals without feeling fear. I do it, too. But it’s impossible. Crossing that threshold is the only way.
- Resistance is always lying and always full of s*** – The fear you feel, that resistance that holds you back from the life you want to live, is a formless demon that takes the shape of the all lies that make you second guess yourself. Remember, this is all in your mind. Your fears, no matter how palpable, aren’t actually real.
- Five years from now you will arrive, the question is, where? – A short handful of years can make a profound impact on your life. Spend those years as wisely as possible. If you do, you can transform your entire life.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger  – Is this always true? I can’t say. But I do know that most experiences can always provide a launching pad to bounce back ten times stronger. As much as I hate when these moments happen to me, I always come to appreciate them in the long run when I use them to get better.
- Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually  – You can accomplish a ton when you have this steady, quiet, and confident energy that gradually moves toward the desired goal. Instead of getting phased by the short-term ups and downs, you keep plugging away no matter what.
- Stop thinking, start doing – Yes, research is important. But don’t waste your entire life “getting your ducks in a row.” Eventually, sooner than later, you need to pull the trigger. Action, and the results of those actions, can teach you more than thinking about the action ever will.
- Stand up straight with your shoulders back – This is one of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life. It’s a metaphor for being confident and vulnerable at the same time. Without full exposure to the world as it really is, you can’t face its challenges with maximum strength.
- You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with – Is this literally true? All of these sayings are subjective. But it accurately states the power of your environment. Notice how you tend to conform to your surroundings. Instead of trying to resist your surroundings, use them to your advantage.
- Make war with a multitude of counselors - You can’t know everything. You need to build a network of smart people with knowledge in different areas. There’s no such thing as being self-made. Without a team to help you, you’ll never reach your full potential.
- When is enough, enough? – How long do you have to keep living a life you don’t want before you’re fed up enough to change? Sometimes, it takes true frustration to build up the energy to change your life.
- It might not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility – Think about it, when has it ever made sense to spend energy complaining about the hand you’ve been dealt instead of playing it as well as possible. As much as it feels oddly good to wallow in self-pity, it often does nothing to change your situation.
- Wherever you go, there you are – You can’t escape being you. You can try. We all do. We use distractions to avoid facing the fact that we have to live our own lives with every variable that comes with it. If you want to make the most of your situation, you have to embrace your reality,
- It ain’t over until it’s over – Colonel sanders starting KFC in his 60’s, a team coming back from a huge deficit, or, most importantly, you make a huge comeback even after spending years or decades in a hole. There are only two points in time where you’re incapable of change — when you give up or when you die. Don’t do the former before the latter.