I’m not sure why, but I can always find an exception to even the very best advice:
1. “Be yourself” – Would you say this to a serial killer?
2. “You can learn far more from failure than from success” – In my experience, at best, failure teaches you to make a different mistake the next time around.
3. “Write what you know” – Unless what you know isn’t all that captivating or original. As the actress Jeanne Moreau once said, “The ideas we can have about ourselves often aren’t very interesting.”
4. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – So if I give a homeless person a million dollars, should I expect him to return the favor? How long should I wait? Maybe this should read “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but don’t hold your breath.”
5. “All people are created equal” – Excuse me? Have you ever been in a lockerroom? Of course, all people should be treated equally, but that’s another story.
6. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – But what if you’re judging a book cover contest? And as to appearances, as one actress once said to another, “Don’t be afraid of makeup.” To which the other actress, who’s a friend of mine, replied, “I’m wearing makeup.”
7. “On their deathbed no one ever wishes that they’d spent more time at the office” – But what if they loved working? What if their office had a really great couch? What if their family life was a living hell? I knew a woman who loved her career, and who was carried into the hospital clutching her phone list.