There’s a literary legend that Ernest Hemingway once wrote a six-word story that could make people cry. The story? “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Whether he wrote it or not, that story conveys just how much can be packed into six words. A whole life, really.
In the spirit of that six-word story, back in 2006 Smith Magazine — edited by Larry Smith — began asking readers to follow Hemingway’s alleged confines with a bit of a personal spin: Submit your life story in six words. The project was a huge success, eventually turning into a collection of books referred to as the six-word memoirs. The books included memoirs from famous individuals, like Gloria Steinem’s contribution: “Life is one big editorial meeting.” As well as submissions from lesser-known Smith readers, “I still make coffee for two.” Eight years on, the project includes over one million six-word memoirs.
The latest in this Smith collection doesn’t tell life stories, it dispenses advice: 1,000 pieces of advice to be exact, and all of it told in six words. The Best Pieces of Advice in Six Words follows the tried and true format, sharing advice in six word bursts from the very well-known (“Be an optimist who worries often.” – Madeleine Albright), to the less well-known (“Your past is not your future.” – Emily Cumming).
In celebration of The Best Pieces of Advice in Six Words book, out today, we collected some six-word advice from HelloGiggles staff and writers. Turns out advice really is best given six words at a time.
“Be yourself for you, not others.” – Elizabeth Entenman
“Listening and speaking are equally important.” – Bridey Heing
“Remember, who you are is magic.” – Elaina Hundley
“Trust your work or nobody will.” – Sammy Nickalls
“You can, doesn’t mean you should.” – Margaret Eby
“Take a bath, read a book.” – Anna Gragert
“Don’t wait forever to start traveling.” – Priscilla Blossom
“Fake it ‘til you make it.” – Jessica Tholmer
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” – Tyler Vendetti
“Always buy toilet paper in packs.” – Lilian Min
“You are your own worst critic.” – Kayleigh Roberts
“Working hard isn’t necessarily working smart.” – Kit Steinkellner
“It’s never too late to restart.” – Gina Mei
We’d love to hear your six-word advice, so chime in via the comments.
And for more six-word advice, check out the book: The Best Pieces of Advice in Six Words.
(Image via iStock)