Craig Oliver: If there was one piece of wisdom you could pass on, what would you say?

6 February 2023, 11:01

Desperately Seeking Wisdom offers insights into life's lessons
Desperately Seeking Wisdom offers insights into life's lessons. Picture: Desperately Seeking Wisdom
Craig Oliver

By Craig Oliver

Desperately Seeking Wisdom is a podcast for people seeking answers about life but aren't sure how to get them.

I talk to some well-known people about what they've learned from deeply personal, sometimes traumatic experiences.

The first series made front-page news with guests including the BBC presenter, George Alagiah, and the writer and film director, Richard Curtis.

This season has many insightful conversations with the likes of the Reverend Richard Coles; comedian, David Baddiel; the BBC's John Simpson; two former Home Secretaries, and the film star, Jack Davenport.

At the end of each interview, I ask: If there was one piece of wisdom you would pass on, what would it be?

The answers are a world away from the snake oil of much of the self-help industry.

Learning to accept bad things can and do happen to good people comes up a lot. It may not be fair, but it is the truth. When we resist this and fail to see it as an opportunity to grow, we suffer.

You can listen to Desperately Seeking Wisdom from Monday, 6th February on Global Player or wherever you get your podcasts.

Anthony Scaramucci, who was Donald Trump's director of communications for just 11 days, disproved his reputation as a brash politico by saying the experience taught him: "I didn't make up the rules and we have a mystery to life. So we have to embrace and accept that mystery… we're going to have to live with those rules, whether we like it or not."

The idea that we should all learn to accept is easy to type and hard to live. I was left in awe of Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Lapersouse who had to deal with the fact their daughter died after eating a wrongly labelled sandwich.

Nadim said: "Very hard and tough things will happen. People will die around you." But when he found a way to face reality, he was able to move forward.

Nadim even found it in his heart to forgive the CEO of Pret-a-Manger: "So that he could be a good father to his own daughter."

Rev Richard Coles, who is grieving the love of his life who died of complications related to his alcoholism, advises people to be patient in the face of adversity.

"If you can just get through your present moment, it will pass and something else will come along. Just keep going," he said.

It's not all about trauma. So many guests spoke of learning to be grateful for being alive. I am grateful all of them made themselves vulnerable – I know you will gain a lot by hearing them.