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‘Run Your Own Race’ And 5 Other Pieces Of Life Advice That Actually Changed Lives

Time for a mantra makeover.

It’s true: We all get by with a little help from our friends.

Take a moment and think about where you are in life today. Chances are, you got there thanks in part to a much-needed push or a well-timed pull from someone looking out for you -- even if that momentum came in the simple form of encouraging words.

The key to living a full, successful life is to recognize and celebrate those unseeming yet defining moments when someone’s words of wisdom were just the nudge you needed to help you chart your course. That’s why we’ve partnered with the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu to bring you these six readers’ stories of the best advice they were ever given -- and how it continues to guide their life to this day.

1.

While he was in college, Michael Korb felt what most young 20-somethings feel -- he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Abruptly, he switched his major to English “for no discernible reason other than the fact that I was a native speaker of the language,” he says. In his final semester, Korb took a "Shakespeare In Film" course -- “basically to justify watching movies,” he recalls. After reading one of his reviews, Korb’s professor pulled him aside and told him, “This is what you’re supposed to do.”

“I’d never had anyone tell me I was good at something before,” Korb says. “Apparently I was a born critic despite never having given a minute’s thought to writing as a profession.” Within two weeks, he was hired to write for a local newspaper. “I went from not knowing what to do with my life to writing for a living in a matter of weeks,” he says. “If it weren’t for that professor, I’d never have interviewed the Kardashians or been yelled at by Steven Spielberg.”

-- Michael Korb, Fort Myers, Fla.

2.

Ivette Manners says her best friend used to tell her, time and time again, “Run your own race.” In a world full of perfectly curated lives displayed across various social media, the constant pressure to compare yourself to others can be overwhelming. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what other people are doing and feel like you have to compete,” Manners says.

Whether it’s with jobs, relationships or life in general, just because someone else is following a particular path doesn’t mean you have to do -- or even want to do -- the same thing. “You have your own path,” Manners says. “Don’t try to catch up to others because you want to have their success. Go after your own.”

-- Ivette Manners, Long Island, N.Y.

3.

Sometimes the advice you don’t follow can be the most valuable. Many years ago in New York, successful pop music publisher Billy Meshel a told young songwriter named Spencer Michlin that his talents seemed suited to love songs -- particularly ‘you and me’ love songs, written to address one person from another. (Think: “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “You Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and “You Were Always On My Mind.”)

The problem? Michlin didn’t want to write love songs. “I learned that Billy’s advice, though never followed literally, applies to almost everything,” he says. “Songs are about human relationships, and human relationships are built around ‘you and me.’ In any kind of writing -- and out in the world -- you can get along better if you make it about ‘you and me,’ ideally putting ‘you’ first.”

-- Spencer Michlin, Dallas, Texas

4.

Years ago, Sondy Ortiz listened as a pastor delivered a sermon … and with it, the best advice she’d ever heard: Desire plus discipline equals development. She hung the words where she could see them every day, and they’ve encouraged Ortiz to push herself further than she ever thought possible -- especially when it came to weight loss.

“Every time I thought I couldn't continue with my weight loss goals, I would read those words and instantly be encouraged. Because of this phrase I was able to go from 210 pounds to 165,” Ortiz says. “They remind me what I desire, and I apply the discipline which allows me to reach development.”

-- Sondy Ortiz, New York, N.Y.

5.

Like many of us, the best advice Shae Peppler ever heard was from her mother. (After all, Mom knows best, right?) “My mother once said, ‘Never go to sleep angry,’” Peppler says. “Doing so makes for better rest and a clear mind -- because you never know what can happen in life.”

She credits those words for pushing her to always clear the air before hitting the pillow. The wisdom has been especially beneficial in Peppler’s relationship with none other than her own mother, as the two have undergone many life changes and obstacles through the years. “Often times my fuse was short or the simplest of comments were taken out of context,” Peppler says. “This advice has kept me up later than I've wanted or forced me to apologize before I was ready, but it has always reminded me that typically disagreements can be worked out through communication.”

-- Shae Peppler, Chicago, Ill.

6.

A camp counselor told 13-year-old Eliane Cohen not to take things personally. “I don’t remember what he was coaching me through,” says Cohen, who’s now an adult, “but it suddenly made sense that negativity or aggressiveness coming from others is simply a reflection of how they’re feeling inside, and often has nothing to do with me.”

These words have helped her avoid grudges and allowed her look objectively at people and situations. She says, “I understand now that some people are going through something, and that sometimes we all just need a break.”

-- Eliane Cohen, Lima, Peru, and Miami, Fla.

In between the milestones that we proudly celebrate are so many special moments that often slip by. Chevrolet Malibu is committed to helping you celebrate the hard work and fruits of your accomplishments. Learn more about how Chevrolet Malibu can help you strive for the personal and professional success you deserve.