Let’s be frank. It’s been a tough week, and we need all the inspiration we can get to boost our moods and keep on keeping on. Thanks, therefore, the Dame Helen Mirren for providing us with just the food for thought we need to reset and start again.
The 71-year-old actress shared her rules for a happy and fulfilling live as the commencement speaker at Tulane University in New Orleans recently.
In turn, we share them with you.
Number 1: Don’t Rush Into Getting Married
“I married Taylor a lot later in my life and it’s worked out great,” she told the students present. “And always give your partner the freedom and support to achieve their ambitions.”
Don’t forget that works both ways round, too. If they’re not on your side and for your dreams, is the relationship really working?
Number 2: Treat People Like People
“A long, long time ago, an actress friend of mine did the most simple thing that taught me a huge lesson,” she continued. “We were in the back seat of a car being driven to the location where we were filming, and she was a smoker, in the prehistoric days when you could smoke in a car, and she got her cigarettes out and before she lit up, she offered the driver one.
“So simple, but, you know? Thoughtful. To her, he wasn’t a ‘driver person,’ but a ‘person person’ who might want a smoke.
“Today she would probably be arrested for attempted murder but that’s a lesson I never forgot, and I am grateful to my actress friend to this day.
“So, remember that every single person, whether they have dominion over your life or not, deserves equal respect and generosity.”
And that means women, too.
“No matter what sex you are, or race, be a feminist,” she added.
“In every country and culture that I have visited, from Sweden to Uganda, from Singapore to Mali, it is clear that when women are given respect, and the ability and freedom to pursue their personal dreams and ambitions, life improves for everyone.”
Number 3: Ignore Anyone Who Judges The Way You Look
“Especially if he or she is some anonymous creep lurking on the Internet. And if you are that person lurking on the Internet – STOP IT, just stop it, go outside and DO something.”
Number 4: Don’t Let Your Actions Be Dictated By Fear
“For the moments when you are challenged by other fears – like ‘Am I good enough?’ ‘Am I smart enough?’ ‘Will I fail?’ – throw caution to the winds, look fear straight away in its ugly face, and barge forward.
“And when you get past it, turn around and give it a good swift kick in the ass.”
Number 5: Follow These Very Practical Dos and Don’ts”.
- Don’t put hot cups on waxed wooden surfaces. In fact, don’t wax wooden surfaces.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Do say thank you when it is merited.
- Don’t procrastinate… especially in saying thank you when it is merited.
- Don’t lose your sense of humour.
- Do confront bullies.
- Don’t procrastinate.
- Do open your heart to love.
- Don’t confuse sex with love. Love generally lasts longer than two minutes.
- Don’t smoke tobacco or chew it.
- Don’t dive into water if you don’t know how deep it is.
- And don’t procrastinate.
- Do call your parents at least once a week. Tell them you love them, and then ask for the money, not the other way round.