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wisdom

Grandmother offers advice for living through difficult times.

There’s no shortage of advice for getting through difficult times. Unfortunately, most of that advice is either painfully unrealistic or reeks of toxic positivity. Solid advice that is both helpful and comforting is hard to come by, which is why this advice is going viral for all the right reasons.

The advice comes from Elena Mikhalkova—or rather her Mikhalkova’s grandmother—and it goes like this:



My grandmother once gave me a tip:

In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.

Do what you have to do, but little by little.

Don't think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.

Wash the dishes.

Remove the dust.

Write a letter.

Make a soup.

You see?

You are advancing step by step.

Take a step and stop.

Rest a little.

Praise yourself.

Take another step.

Then another.

You won't notice, but your steps will grow more and more.

And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.

Can we all just pause for a minute to take a deep breath and maybe wipe the tears from our eyes? Because I don’t know about you, but this advice is just what I’ve needed to read almost every day lately.

I suspect I’m not alone in this either because Mikhalkova’s advice is being shared all over the internet.


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With COVID-19 raging again and many of us (dare I say, all of us?) struggling with one thing or another, this quote hits. Unlike the clichéd “one foot in front of another” advice that can seem both demeaning and overwhelming, this advice offers concrete steps to take.

Wash the dishes. Make soup. Rest, and praise yourself.

These are things I can do. Well, maybe not soup, per se. But cookies. I can make cookies. And maybe you can make soup. Or knit a scarf. Or sweep the kitchen floor. This is enough.

What this advice taps into that other tidbits lose sight of is that when we’re in the midst of a calamity, even the most simple and everyday tasks are more difficult. Making lunch can seem monumental and the mere thought of doing virtual school for another few weeks can make us take to our beds, sobbing in the fetal position. Advice to “look on the bright side” can be patronizing and counterproductive. This advice does none of those things but, instead, acknowledges that even a small step matters. It doesn’t dismiss the pain, but recognizes that even thinking about the future can be painful and that progress sometimes looks like making it through the day without crying

This advice also goes beyond the “sun will come out tomorrow” reminders and acknowledges that things might not be better tomorrow or the day after that. It will take time for wounds to heal and difficult times to pass, but we need not passively wait for this time to come. We can make soup, rest and be kind to ourselves.

In the early days of the pandemic, I remember feeling like there was so much more I should be doing with all this extra “at home” time. Yet I found even the most basic tasks to be more difficult. In turn, I felt guilty for not being more productive. But what I’ve learned—or rather amlearning—is that allostatic load and decision fatigue are very real. Productivity looks different on different days, and sometimes being patient with ourselves is the most productive thing we can do.

Mikhalkova’s advice taps into a mantra that I often recite when I’m struggling: Just do one good thing. Unload the dishwasher. Return an email. Fold the laundry. Hug my kids. Then do the next good thing. Eventually these things add up. Time passes and small steps turn into something bigger.

What I love most about Mikhalkova’s advice—and what is easy to forget in difficult times—is the reminder to praise ourselves along the way. Because sometimes that pat on the back we need the most is our own.


This article originally appeared on 02.07.22 Christine Organ is a writer who lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two sons, and rescue dog. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.



via Pexels

A teacher lists his class rules.

The world would be a much better place if humans weren’t so … human. We all fall short of perfection. Common sense is, sadly, not too common. And there’s one guy out there who always manages to screw things up when things start getting good.

Call it Murphy’s law. Call it the great “reason we can’t have nice things.” Call it entropy. It feels like a whole lot of pain could be avoided if we all had just a little bit more sense.

But what if there was one rule that we all agreed to follow to make everyone’s life better? What would this magical rule be?

A Reddit user who goes by the name P4insplatter came to this realization and asked the AskReddit subforum, “What simple rule would fix the world if everyone actually followed it?” They received dozens of simple rules that if everyone got behind would make the world drastically better.



It’s no shock that most of them felt like a variation of the Golden Rule. It’s funny that a lot of folks believe the world would seriously improve if we could just abide by a simple saying that we all learned in kindergarten.

Also known as the “ethics of reciprocity,” the Golden Rule is so innate to humans that versions of it have been found in religions and cultures throughout the world.

Here are 17 of the best responses to P4insplatter’s simple, but world-altering question.

1. Let go

“Let go or be dragged” an old zen proverb I heard at a meditation class. Really changed the way I let myself worry about things." — civagigi

2. Simple, but true

"Don't be a dick." — WuTangLAN93

3. The Golden Rule

"Treat others how you want to be treated." — AlbanyGuy1973

4. It starts with you

"I read somewhere that if you want to change the world, you have to change the community, to change the community change your relationships, and to change your relationships change yourself." — cagibaxii

5. Simple Earth math

"Don't use more resources than what the Earth is capable of renewing." — DaethSpiral321

6. Bill and Ted's rule

"Be excellent to each other." — pnotar

7. The law of Lebowski

“Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." — Bonhomme7h

8. Signal

"Use your turn signal(s) properly." — futilelord

9. The principle of non-agression

"Simple, the non-aggression principle. You don't do, initiate or threat any harm unto others, unless acting in true self defense." — ufrag

10. It works for everything

"Leave it better than you found it." — Narcoid

11. Generosity and humility

"Be generous and humble. Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community. Humility teaches you to improve and make a positive impact on the world." — SuvenPan

12. STFU

"If you are not educated on the subject, sit down and stfu. Let the experts with years of education and experience talk." — Ch3m1cal420

13. Fairness first

"Everyone gets a chance at one [thing] before anyone gets seconds." — ehsteve23

14. Permanent daylight

"Obviously making daylight savings permanent." — ObviousINstruction18

15. Two ears, one mouth

"Listen more, talk less." — TryToHelpPeople

16. Turn off the lights

"All empty buildings should not have any lights/ac/heating on at night or after business hours depending on the nature of the work. their ac/heating and lights if necessary should only be turned on before the start of the day. This will not only help with energy costs but also with light pollution." — hadrainsgate

17. Don't tread on anyone

"You cannot do ANYTHING without consent." — DeepCompote


This article originally appeared on 03.17.22

Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway.

Charles Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet’s closest business partner, passed away on Tuesday, November 28, at 99. Buffett and Munger's partnership lasted over 50 years, producing Berkshire Hathaway, one of the largest and most successful conglomerates in history.

When Munger passed, his estimated worth was $2.6 billion. Buffet, 93, is believed to be worth $119 billion.

But Munger was far more than just a wealthy man. Apple CEO Tim Cook called Munger a “keen observer of the world around him,” and he was known for his pithy bits of common-sense wisdom known as “Mungerisms.”


These sayings have been collected into books, including “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.”

In a piece called “Charlie Munger on How to Lead a Successful Life,” Time magazine shared one of Munger’s most valuable pieces of advice. Munger believed that one of the best qualities one can have is the ability to see things in the inverse.

“If you turn problems around into reverse, you often think better. For instance, if you want to help India, the question you should consider asking is not “How can I help India?’ Instead, you should ask, ‘How can I hurt India?’ You find what will do the worst damage, and then try to avoid it,” Munger once said.

“Perhaps the two approaches seem logically the same thing. But those who have mastered algebra know that inversion will often and easily solve problems that otherwise resist solution. And in life, just as in algebra, inversion will help you solve problems that you can’t otherwise handle,” Munger continued.

Munger believed it’s as important to be as clear about the things we want to avoid in life as those we wish to pursue.

“What will really fail in life? What do we want to avoid? Some answers are easy,” Munger said. “For example, sloth and unreliability will fail. If you’re unreliable, it doesn’t matter what your virtues are, you’re going to crater immediately. So, faithfully doing what you’ve engaged to do should be an automatic part of your conduct. Of course, you want to avoid sloth and unreliability.”

Another piece of Munger’s advice that needs to be shared far and wide in today’s America is avoiding “extremely intense ideology” because it “cabbages up” one’s mind.

“You see a lot of it in the worst of the TV preachers. They have different, intense, inconsistent ideas about technical theology, and a lot of them have minds reduced to cabbage. That can happen with political ideology. And if you’re young, it’s particularly easy to drift into intense and foolish political ideology and never get out,” Munger said.

As a student of the human condition, Munger understood that few of us can overcome our own “self-serving bias.” So, when making persuasive arguments, it’s best to avoid using reason and, instead, appeal to the person's interests.

“You should often appeal to interest, not to reason, even when your motives are lofty,” Munger said.

Family

4-year-old's 'sweet and sour' revelation is a solid piece of wisdom, even for adults

Life advice hits different when it comes from an adorable kiddo.

Emi's bike-riding revelation has people tickled.

Out of the mouths of babes comes the greatest wisdom sometimes.

Kids are brand new at this whole being a human thing, and they often vocalize what they're learning as they go. This is especially true at age 4, when they're really getting the hang of asking questions and talking about their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the things they say are surprisingly profound, and hearing sage life advice from a preschooler is always an unexpected treat.

That's why 4-year-old Emi's revelation about finding the positives in every situation has people so tickled. Emi's mom, Katy-Robin Garton (@katyrobinbird on Instagram), often puts a mic on her daughter when they go bike riding so she can hear her better and so she can capture her musings in her adorable voice while it lasts. On this ride, Emi explained how "sour" things can be turned "sweet."


Garton wrote in the video's caption, “'How will you feel when biking ends?' I asked 4-yr-old Emi. We live in Montana so when the snow comes, biking season comes to an end. Emi replied, 'I’ll be sad, but when we can’t bike, we can ski and ice-skate!' and then she continued on with what you heard in this video, 'everything that changes, has a sweet to it.' You see?"

Emi's "You see?" is about the cutest thing ever. But her life advice here is solid, even for the grownups. So many of us can get caught up in negativity and cynicism and spirals of complaint. Sometimes we need to be reminded to find the sweet in the sour.

Watch:

"These magical moments in motion are the very reason I’m motivated to get outside and ride… and ski… and ice-skate of course," wrote Garton. "It clicked for Emi as she rode—what she and I were talking about a few days prior, how you can turn a sour thing sweet with a shift in your perspective and attitude, and how you can also do the same to turn sweet things sour. At the time, I wasn’t sure the concept had deeply clicked for her, but clearly it did in this moment. I suppose when your body is free, your mind follows."

"Emi has given me the gift I didn’t know I needed today. Thank you Emi, and thank you Mama bear for raising your kids full of love and sharing it with us, ❤️❤️" wrote one commenter.

"This is the best life lesson anyone can give and coming from a 4-yr-old it's like the most special thing. Thank you," wrote another.

"EMI Talks are the new TED Talks, 😍" shared another. (Right? Totally.)

"This is the silver lining reminder I needed to hear today." wrote another. (Same, friend.)

People in the comments also pointed out that the parenting Emi has gotten is key, but as Garton pointed out, it's not just the way her parents talk to her that led her here. It's also the fact that they go outside and do physical activity together, giving Emi's young brain a chance to process and talk through what she's been learning while she's moving her body. It's a magical combo, truly.

You can follow @katyrobinbird on Instagram to enjoy more of Emi's adorable wisdom.