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I remember my mother telling me that if I was picked on at school, it was always best not to react.This may have left me emotionally distant, but on the other hand I was never bullied.Richard Madeley, TV presenter Passed on to me by the playwright John Mortimer, who received it in turn from his father: “All advice is useless.” 32.Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen, campaigner and writer The best advice I have been given, especially since January when my son’s killers were sentenced, is: “Your strength and courage is admired by many. Xanthe Clay, Telegraph food columnist I once put out a request for dinner party tips in Weekend.The same is true of the tearful huddle in the wine bar.Telling a friend what’s wrong gives the problem a solid form that one can cope with.I firmly believe that the vast majority of those who write to me in the Telegraph aren’t really looking for advice.Composing the letter will probably have been the most helpful part and they will have decided on a course of action long before I respond with a lovingly composed epistle.
If I was on Facebook right now I might post a picture of some meat with the legend “Problems are like a fine steak – better flash fried than left to stew”.
We can all recognise the wisdom in really good advice but when we are hunched, sobbing on the bed, very little really helps.
Of course, I know what the Persian Sufi poets said: “This, too, will pass,” but in reality, until it does, I’m going to feel like moving to Minsk to start a new life.
Before I left school she gave me a good luck card for my exams that said: “You can only do your best, but DO it!
” At the time it sounded slightly threatening, but now I realise it was just an Irish mother’s version of “Be the best you can be!I told my cameraman to focus on the old man, and not on me, in case Mr Mahoney was watching. Lisa Armstrong, Telegraph fashion editor My mother taught me how to remain sane when faced with the implacable logic of small children: always give them choice, but controlled choice with inbuilt distraction. ” but “would you like to eat your vegetables from a green or a yellow plate? Tim Rice, lyricist and author My mum, circa 1955, told me: “Make new friends but stick to old, one is silver, the other gold”. Julian Fellowes, actor and writer The best piece of advice I ever received was from my mother: “If you want to be happily married, marry a happy person.” I am glad to say I took her at her word. Jack Straw, former Home and Foreign Secretary When Barbara Castle was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Security, after Labour unexpectedly won the 1974 General Election, she asked me, then a barrister who knew nothing about health or social security, to be her special adviser.