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    "It Takes Years To Earn And One Moment To Destroy": Adults Are Revealing The Life Lesson They Wished They Learned Sooner

    "The amount of confrontations I’ve managed to de-escalate just by doing it is quite a bit."

    When we're younger, it's pretty common to ignore really valuable advice that older people tend to give because of their life-long experiences. So when Reddit user britney2004 asked: "What's a piece of advice you received that you initially ignored but later found to be incredibly valuable?" I thought it would be helpful to share their answers. Here's what they had to say:

    1. "Taking care of your back."

    someone touching their back

    2. "We judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge everyone else by their actions."


    "A corollary to that: Pay more attention to what people do than in what they say. Talk is cheap, but when push comes to shove, how people act shows you a lot of what kind of person they are."


    3. "Floss."


    4. "Your reputation takes years to earn, but only a moment to destroy."


    "But you have to balance that with being okay to fail. Chasing perfection 24/7 is a recipe for depression. You have to learn how to handle being imperfect and getting a reputation for being able to bounce back from failure."


    5. "Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry."

    a person going grocery shopping

    6. "Cave quid dicis, quando, et cui. Beware of what you say, when and to whom."


    7. "Read instruction manuals. Everything from electronics to setting up a tent, you will get so much more out of your things. The one disclaimer, some manuals are shit. So...good luck."

    a person reading an instruction manual

    8. "The associations you keep will inevitably be the qualities you develop."


    "I’ve also heard this in the form of a theory that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."


    9. "Procrastinating leads to a burden. It's the root of most problems, whether you are a kid or an adult."

    a person looking on their phone while they're at work

    10. "Be careful with the toes you step on. Might be the ass you're kissing later. Never experienced it firsthand but have seen it happen with many others."


    11. "You’ll never convince a narcissist that their behavior is wrong, is abusive, etc. because their ego is too big to admit they are wrong, so there is no use trying."

    a man looking at himself in the mirror

    12. "Stop worrying about the opinions of people you don't respect anyway."


    "If you wouldn't take their advice, don't take their criticism."


    13. “'The worst thing you can do when someone shouts, is to shout back.' The amount of confrontations I’ve managed to de-escalate just by calmly talking back."

    a woman shouting

    14. "When I left a cushy and secure job at a television station to freelance in film and TV production services, my father cautioned: 'Put away 10% of each paycheck for a rainy day.' I didn't take his words to heart — and when, shortly after my first anniversary as an independent, the industry slowed to a crawl, I encountered some tough times that I barely survived. I recall that, at my lowest point, I had the next month's rent in hand — just barely — but no money for food besides a small baggie of pocket change. My heat had been shut off in the middle of an Alberta winter, and I had to ask my father for a loan to pay the gas bill and for groceries. So by the time work eventually picked up again, I had learned my bitter lesson and began to follow his advice assiduously."

    "Forty years later, I retired with a surprisingly well-capitalized retirement account, and membership in a gold-plated private healthcare plan. And in three weeks, for the third straight year, I'm forsaking frigid Canada to winter in Mexico. 

    In my young adulthood, I suffered through 18% mortgage rates, 12% unemployment, and a decade of stagflation, but I think in many other ways, young people today are facing at least as fraught an economic climate as I did back in '81. And I understand that today, others’ ability to 'put something aside for a rainy day' might be more limited than was mine. But I strongly encourage those who can, to do so."


    15. "If your friend or coworker complains about others to you, they are saying bad things about you to other people."

    two coworkers talking to each other

    16. "'If you have to question your integrity on a decision, the answer should be obvious.' Gramps passed this knowledge right before my whoppings; 20 years later, after first hearing this advice, and I'm lucky he is still here to see the man I've become. Any shadow of doubt I have usually made it easier to say no."


    17. "Don’t be afraid to let family members go if they’re toxic. I learned my lesson the hard way with this one."

    two people talking on the couch

    What was a piece of advice you initially ignored but later realized was correct? Tell us what it is and why in the comments below!