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William Shakespeare, or “The Bard” as he’s affectionately known to some, produced an incredible array of plays and sonnets; many people, however, think of his works as “old-fashioned”, or dry and unrelatable.

However, if you’re willing to put in a little effort, you’ll discover how lively, and informative the works of Shakespeare can be.

What Would Shakespeare Say?

You could write an entire book on what Shakespeare can teach us about the human condition; indeed, some people like Harold Bloom have.

Given his large body of work, you don’t have to guess what Shakespeare thought about life, love, and loss. Of course, these quotes are taken from the mouths of his characters, but he endowed these lines with a quality of universal truth.

Here are a collection of some of his best pieces of advice.

On “Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”

“Be as great in act, as you have been in thought.” –“The Life and Death of King John”

For daydreaming types, this is important advice. It’s a fun diversion to dream up new ideas and think of things you’d like to do. The true measure of a human is their ability to put those ideas to work.

Believing in Yourself

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”–“Measure for Measure”

This quote, no matter the source, is a sage piece of advice. Your doubts will always betray you; over the course of your life, how much will your doubts end up costing you? It’s impossible to put a dollar figure on it, but for many people, doubt costs them a small fortune. Be bold, take charge.

Faking it Until You Make It

“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.”“Hamlet”

We’re none of us born perfect; everybody has skills, attitudes, and behaviors that they’re still trying to attain as they perfect themselves. The easiest way to get started is to jump right in. For example, if you wish you were better at making conversations with people, see if you can “fool yourself” into believing you are; you’d be surprised, you may just end up having a great talk with someone.

Avoiding Your Tragic Flaw: It’s a Matter of Character

The last important lesson we’d like to talk about is Shakespeare’s emphasis on the idea of the “tragic flaw”; an individual’s worst shortcoming or “Achilles heel”.

In the tragedy King Lear, the poor old King doesn’t realize that he’s surrounded himself with a group of “yes men”. When his daughter tries to open his eyes to the harsh truth, he is offended by her words.

Don’t be like King Lear, analyze yourself and try to change the parts of yourself that aren’t going to help you accomplish your dreams.

Not bad advice for someone who died four hundred years ago!