The Advice Alicia Keys Lives By

Alicia Keys relies on good advice to help her navigate life’s toughest challenges. There’s one piece of helpful advice the “No One” singer says she lives by.

Alicia Keys says she has received great advice throughout her life

Alicia Keys | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Alicia Keys | Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Keys says she appreciates that she has received great advice throughout her life. In the book The Best Advice I Ever Got, by Katie Couric, Keys says wise words have been imparted to her at the times she most needed it.

One great piece of advice Keys says she received was from her grandmother, who would often tell her, “Nothing before its time.” Keys says she used to be impatient, so she didn’t fully embrace those words at the time. However, an older and wiser Keys says she now sees that accepting that things will fall into place when they’re supposed to offers her a sense of freedom.

Early fame came with a lot of problems

During an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Keys says she wanted to remain successful, so she often worked to the point where she became exhausted. She would say yes to most requests and tried to participate in as many projects as she could. Trying to please everyone left her depleted.

“You start to think that you have to do everything that you could possibly do to make sure that these doors remain open for you,” says Keys. “You think you’re happy because that’s what you’re working for.” However, Keys says she started to realize she was working too hard and wasn’t taking proper care of herself.

The advice Alicia Keys lives by

What advice does Keys live by? She told Couric there’s one question she asks herself whenever she’s presented with a new business opportunity. If she has to make an important professional decision, Keys asks herself this question: “Would you still do it if you’d never see a dime from it?”

She says if the answer to the question is yes, then she knows she is being led by her most authentic self. For Keys, asking this question is a good way to find out if she is being led by her true instincts or if she’s being led by some “other thing,” which might come from motives that do not best serve her.

Alicia Keys describes her 20s as the ‘worst time ever’

Keys likely cherished the advice she received when she was in her 20s. She says this was a very tough time in her life. She told InStyle she struggled because she had difficulty expressing her true feelings. Keys says she would never want to be 20 again.

“I swear, I wouldn’t go back to being 20 if somebody paid me — it was literally the worst time ever,” she says. “I wanted to fit in so desperately. I was so blind, so dependent on everybody else’s opinions, so uncomfortable, so unclear.”

Fortunately, Keys says she no long feels this way. She doesn’t feel the need to fit in anymore. “I’m coming to the place now where I’m able to live more fully in my skin, my imperfections, my feelings, which are so hard to access,” she tells InStyle. “Because we want to protect our heart, right? That’s what we’re all doing in some way. And I think my ability to access that place has brought a deeper connection to other people.”

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