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Grandpas give their ultimate life advice

Grandfather portraits on colored backgrounds
Photo credit: oneinchpunch/Getty Images

When you get stuck in a rut or just need a few words of wisdom to point you in the right direction, you’re bound to turn to someone with storied life experience — someone who’s been there. And when it comes to people who’ve been there, done that, lived to tell the tale, and are happy to pass on the pearls, you can’t get much better than grandpas life advice.

On the eve of my wedding, I remember my grandfather (known in our family as “Papa”) pulling me aside to give me an invaluable tip about life and love: “Try your best not to speak out of anger, and never go to bed angry.” Over the years, I’ve learned that failing to follow this life advice is a surefire way to say things I’ll wind up regretting.

We could all use a little more guidance like that, right? So, we decided to turn to social media to source some of the best life advice doled out by grandfathers all over. Read it and live it, friends.

And if you’re still fortunate enough to have your grandfathers around, ask them yourself. It’ll be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. Of course, feel free to share your favorite words of wisdom from Grandpa with us!

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Think strategically

“Don’t stare at the campfire. You won’t have night vision if someone sneaks up on you.”

Well, you can’t argue with that logic. Also, this grandpa has clearly seen some things in his day and undoubtedly has a wealth of tactical knowledge to share.

Don’t chase the proverbial cat

“Money is like a cat. If you chase the cat, you’ll never catch it. If you focus on what attracts the cat, like fish or similar, it will come to you.”

As businessman Ikenna Ronald Nzimora, whose grandpa gave him this life advice, put it, this is essentially a master class in marketing. Don’t chase the cat, y’all — entice the cat.

Be true to the bar you set for yourself

“Never lower your standards. Anyone who is worth it will rise to meet them.”

This can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around when you’re preoccupied with pleasing people — which is why you should internalize it right now. No looking back.

Action equals results

“Shoot the damn ball; you can’t make a basket bouncing it.”

Basketball advice or life advice? You be the judge. Because it sounds to us like Grandpa is saying you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take — on and off the court.

Wear your heart on your sleeve

“I’ve told her I love her every day.”

This is the life advice of a 93-year-old man on how he made it to 50 years of marital bliss. Simple, effective and oh-so-sweet — we’re officially crying.

Live a life of which you can be proud

“As you progress through life, if what you do and how you do it makes you proud, in a humble sort of way, no one or no circumstances will defeat you.”

Everyone needs a note like this from their grandpa as they’re about to embark on the complicated journey that is adulthood.

Actions speak louder than words

“Don’t ever judge a person by what they say, or what they don’t say. Wait, and judge them by what they actually do.”

Grandpa Gustav’s life advice? Let people prove themselves through action.

Find your tribe & live it up together

“Life’s too short not to have fun. And if they don’t want to have fun, then to hell with ‘em.”

Who wants to bet that this grandpa is always the life of the party? Anyone who’ll share that gem with his grandchild has to be the most fun at the family reunion.

Don’t make someone a priority if you’re only an option to them

“Never go out of your way over and over again for people who don’t appreciate you.”

Most of us have made this mistake at least once in our lives. Take it from Grandpa, though, and don’t make prioritizing the wrong people a pattern.

Lead by example

“Your opinion is valuable, but you can’t force it on others. The only way you will inspire is by being the real alive positive example.”

Someone needed to hear this today. In fact, we’re fairly certain most of the internet could use the reminder.

Live on your terms

“It’s your life, and it speeds by, so live it however you damn well please.”

A man who has been on this great big spinning rock for 91 years obviously knows a thing or two about learning to block out unwarranted opinions and live authentically.

Define your perspective

“Life will make you bitter or it will make you better.”

Which will you choose? Because, as this grandad gently reminded his grandson, it is a choice.

Remember why you’re working in the first place

“Never spend too much time in your life making a living that you forget to make a life.”

Living in a culture that glorifies work and fame and wealth and status, this is welcome (and much-needed) wisdom to embrace.

Be a little bad sometimes

“When you have to choose between having fun and being good, go have fun.”

Granted, living like this all the time would probably court trouble. But when a 95-year-old grandpa tells you to be a little bad sometimes, you have to realize he’s looking back at a long life and probably wishing he’d done the same more often. You only live once, right?

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Live with integrity

“Live your life so people show up to your funeral to praise your character, not to make sure you’re dead.”

FWIW, this grandpa’s other favorite kernel of truth to give out was “You’re not drunk unless you come home and smell the flowers printed on the Lino floor.” So, basically, he’s definitely a truth-sayer.

You reap what you sow

“Life is like farming. Put in the work every day ‘round the clock, and one day you will reap the harvest.”

Focus on being the best version of yourself you can be. If Grandpa’s life advice is right, everything will fall into place accordingly.

Turn setbacks into set-ups

“Don’t take every event in life as negative, but take them as character-building.”

We’re all going to hit bumps in the road. It’s what we do with those potential setbacks that truly define us.

Fake it ‘til you make it

“If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, then baffle them with your bullshit.”

Not only is this fantastic life advice, but I’m also fairly certain I’ve found the perfect inscription for my tombstone.

Don’t wait to enjoy your life

“We work all our lives and then don’t get to enjoy retirement because we’re too old and not able. Take time for yourself now while you can.”

While not everyone has the ability to take time for themselves in big ways, the important takeaway from this grandpa’s advice is to be an active participant in your own life.

Kindness matters

“Just be kind to people. Always be kind.”

It might just be the simplest advice you’ll ever receive — but it’s probably also the absolute best. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind. Shout it from the rooftops, Grandpa!

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