Stephen Fry: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

We’re bringing back a favorite item from our archive — British writer and actor Stephen Fry offering life lessons based on his 54 years living in this world. Some of the highlights:

  • Don’t set goals for yourself, particularly material ones. They’re disastrous and will keep you from becoming who you really are.
  • Keep your ego in check. You’ll be better liked, and more opportunities will come your way.
  • Get outside your comfort zone by traveling to distant lands and reading books in a serendipitous way.
  • Be a giver, not a taker. It’s more rewarding.
  • Learn with friends.
  • Have heroes.
  • And always think for yourself.

This talk was recorded in April 2010 and runs 31 thought-filled minutes.

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  • This is very interesting. Got some more to see.

  • Bob D. says:

    I love Fry’s perspective. His emphasis on the spiritual value of shifting focus from oneself to others is something I understand intellectually, but I often forget about it in my zeal to delve ever deeper into my own subjective experience in search of truth and wisdom. Reflecting back on the most energized times in my life, I must admit that this inward focus often took a back seat to an intense engagement with other people. Of course, it’s not an either/or scenario, and we can all benefit from inner, self-focused work as well as from passionate social engagement. Fry’s commentary is a good reminder, though, for folks like myself who tend toward an overly-individualistic, me-against-the-world style of bootstrap spirituality.

  • Pablo Antonio Narvaez says:

    Spirituality, individuality, and self introversion, are essential elements in the search and discovery of one’s self.
    It’s only then, that one finds the concerns and aspirations that link each to the rest of humanity, the environment, and ultimately; to the eternal and all pervading mind and energy in all of the universe.
    This is not in conflict though, and in fact is conducive, to the improvement and strengthening of our engagement with all that surrounds us; to our better understanding of it.
    One fact does not negate the other. On the contrary; they are interdependent, and
    thrive on each other’s evolution and progress.
    Unavoidably, one comes to the point where it’s not any longer us against anything, but, us and everything.

  • … Carl Marxx or this holy text (or the Queen).

    Fascism, Communism are totalitarian regimes. Democracy isn’t, but only in theory.

  • Mike Turner says:

    I agree with most of what he says but it’s very easy for someone without chronic pain to say stop whining about your pain. I’d be interested to see what he has to say when he has to deal with major chronic pain.

  • Jonathan says:

    he has defenitly read some of Dale Carnegies work,or maybe he was the one the book was deticated to: ” to the man who does not need to read this book” :)

  • MaddyG says:

    Actually, Stephen has wrestled with crippling depression very openly for many years, so he’s well aware of what it means to be in pain. Emotional pain is often as bad if not worse than physical pain, and I have dealt with both.

  • This is perhaps one of the most eloquent yet friendly invitation to reflection and reevaluation of one’s life.

  • Beverly J. Druskis says:

    So wonderful to listern to Stephen Fry reading the Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

  • bet says:

    Oh Stephen. Whining about people whining is not very interesting either.

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