The great benefit of living with, working for, or being related to people who have experienced more of life than you have is picking their brain for advice.
The most effective people learn from their own mistakes, and make a significant effort to learn from other people's errors as well.
A recent Quora thread asked users for the best advice they've ever gotten.
Here are a few of the greatest excerpts, lightly edited for clarity:
Never say "but."
"A very smart woman I worked with once told me that if I eliminated the word 'but' from my professional vocabulary, I'd find greater acceptance for my ideas, and greater cooperation from my team members... The word 'but' negates everything that precedes it, and you cast a negative spin on anything you say when you use it... 'But' is exclusive and isolating; 'and' is inclusive and welcoming." — Quora user Marsha Browne
You never get anything unless you ask.
"It was a professor in my university, but I believe its origin is from somebody famous: If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no'." — Quora user Joe Yasman
Think before you complain.
"Don't complain. I think it was phrased as something like, 'Do you ever listen to someone complaining and think, This is a great conversation!?' Being negative doesn't help others, and it doesn't help you." — Quora user Steve Carnagua
Time is the one thing you never get back.
"A mentor I had some years ago told me that time is the one thing that you can never get back. If you look at it as an asset, you can donate it, spend it, or waste it. Whatever you do with it, it is gone once it passes." — Quora user Karen Meyer
Attitude is more important than talent.
"I have been time and again repeatedly told that a strong positive attitude takes a man farther than his talent. There are many greats in sports, entertainment, politics, science, and art who had great talent but lost on huge counts only because of a faulty and shaky attitude.
Attitude helps you solve problems talent cannot. Attitude helps you navigate through problem talent hides. " — Quora user Vamsi Uppala
Quality is always greater than quantity.
"If you're going to do something, do it well enough to avoid doing it the second time. Going back to do something the second time is a time-waster if you knew it can be done right the first time. Even writing this post, I'm putting in my best effort into editing it, explaining it, and making it easy and enjoyable to read — to avoid going back and fixing any grammatical errors." — Quora user Dennis Do
"Do what you say you're going to do." — Quora user Blake Alexander
Do the right thing.
"Advice from Charlie Munger (not proffered personally): The safest way to try to get what you want is to try to deserve what you want." — Quora user Josh Tarasoff
"When I was in my 20s I worked as a waiter at a very popular restaurant. I found it very difficult to keep up with the orders and, consequently, my tips were very low.
One of the very experienced servers took me aside and she said, 'Slow down and take longer steps. You'll feel more relaxed and your customers will see that and trust you.'
If you slow down, you have time to think and plan better. Taking longer steps means more than just how you move through a space. It's about looking ahead and covering more ground, encompassing more than just the task at hand." — Quora user Gordon Bennet
Everyone ends up in the same place.
"'At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.' —Italian Proverb
When you really think about this, in the end we all end up the same. You can't take your money and fame with you after you die." — Quora user Felix Wong
Time is not money. It's better.
"Always choose time over money. Contrary to what people say, time is not money. Time is much much more than money. At the end of your life, it's guaranteed you will be out of time and more than likely out of money as well, if you didn't value time." — Quora user Navin Uttam
Don't worry what other people think.
"Stop being so self-conscious because absolutely nobody is paying any attention to you anyway — they are only paying attention to themselves." — Quora user Michael Wolfe
You can't truly control anything but how well you do things.
"To find happiness in life's tasks, invest in the process (which you can control), not in the outcome (which is largely out of your control)." — Quora user Mark Hurley
"God gave you two ears and one mouth; use them proportionally." — Quora user Derrick Mayfield
Take risks when you can.
"On deciding whether to step off my career track in my mid-20s to live abroad for a year: 'You have the rest of your life to work. You'll be working for 40 years. I don't know why we were in such a hurry when we were young.' I took the year off." — Quora user Deborah Diamond
More From Business Insider