Remona Aly
Friday 24 July 2015 BBC Radio 2, Pause for Thought

The Best Advice I’ve Received

The Best Advice I’ve Received: Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Vanessa Feltz Breakfast Show



Whenever people say the dreaded ‘if you want my advice’, my kneejerk reaction is: ‘No thanks, I’m fine!’ The voice inside my head tells me I can figure it out on my own. And then there’s the ‘I told you so advice’ which follows on from them telling me what I should have done. The Danish saying Advice after mischief is like medicine after death’’ was never more true in this context.

But, without a doubt, there are many wisdoms that Ive found in perspectives from others. If I can’t see the bigger picture, good advice helps me to step back and look at things from a different angle. Good advice can be both eye opening and life changing. But it all boils down to two things – the advice has to come direct from their heart, and my heart has to be more open to take it in.

I think of Professor Higgins in ‘My Fair Lady’ when he finally gives Eliza Doolittle the advice she’s needed all along. After months of parrot style teaching, he talks from his heart to hers. It’s wise, it gives her perspective and it empowers her to master the English language: “That’s what you’ve set yourself out to conquer Eliza”, he says, “and conquer it you will”. Then comes her moment of epiphany: the change from within herself.

Those moments of clarity are ones Ive garnered from souls whose wisdom has lived beyond their graves. One of the wisest guides I look to now is the 13th century Muslim poet, Rumi, whose words reach my heart, give me perspective and encourage me to change myself for the better. Rumi said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Good advice can turn followers into leaders, despair into hope, and turn flower girls into fair ladies. It’s up to me to open my heart and wise up on good advice.