This prompt is no longer active. Please select a new prompt to start writing a new piece.

Timeless Counsel

Full Details

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Wisdom you will return to again and again, even as the world spins on, changing unimaginably?
In the early 1900s, a young military cadet in Austria wrote a letter to the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, asking for advice on writing poetry. Rilke responded with this: "Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.” Though Rilke had no easy answers for becoming a poet, what unfolded was an exchange of letters that lasted years, in which Rilke offered guidance on all matters of life to the young poet, such as how to live with questions:
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves... the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Now published under the title Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke’s timeless advice continues to resonate with reader’s today. As do the letters that author Laura Riding wrote in 1930 to the eight-year-old daughter of a friend, packed with wisdom such as this:
A child should be allowed to take as long as she needs for knowing everything about herself, which is the same as learning to be herself. Even twenty-five years if necessary, or even forever. And it wouldn’t matter if doing things got delayed, because nothing is really important but being oneself.
So what about you, dear writers? What counsel has influenced your view on the world, and how to live in it? Share the most cherished piece of advice or wisdom you have received—as Aliyah does here—and perhaps like Rilke and Riding, these wise words will last far beyond our own time here on earth.