Esther Rantzen on positivity

Danny Scott / 06 December 2016 ( 01 October 2018 )

The TV presenter and founder of Childline and older person’s advice service The Silver Line gives her 8 tips for an optimistic, happier outlook.

1.  Sometimes decisions can be extraordinarily difficult — to downsize or not to downsize, for instance. I was advised long ago to draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, then on one side put the pluses and on the other, the minuses.  It won’t make the decision for you, but it will help you to work out how you really feel.

2.  Sort out your priorities, the things that make you particularly happy, and dump the rest. I'm still trying to do that, but not yet succeeding.

3.  Never drink alcohol on your own. Easy for me to say, it gives me a headache.

4.  Enjoy your computer. Buy one, if you don't already have one. Get someone under 16 to teach you to use it, if you're nervous. It can open up the world to you.

5.  If there's somewhere you've always wanted to go, or something you've always wanted to see or do, don’t give up hope.  The Rantzen rule is that if you want something hard enough, you will get it, but so long after you've given up hope you can't remember why you wanted it.

6.  Never say never. Life will always surprise you. So be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way, even if they make you anxious. That’s why I took part in Strictly Come Dancing. Craig said my tango was a disaster, darling.  So true.

7.  When people insult you, laugh and carry on. Especially if the insults are related to your age. It just shows how little they know. Age, of course, is a treasure trove of memory and experience.

8.  Never take any advice from a clapped-out television presenter. (That's what Jeremy Paxman called me on Newsnight when I decided to run as an independent candidate in Luton South.)

Read our full-length interview with Esther Rantzen

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