Use Forearm Tattoos to Keep Good Advice Close (2024)

A surprisingly effective and unconventional way to use tattoos

We get tattoos for many different reasons. Some get tattoos because they like the art form. Some get tattoos to enhance their body image. Some get tattoos to commemorate an experience. Some get tattoos to remember a loved one who has passed away.

There are also many different places we can get our tattoos. Back. Chest. Biceps. Feet. The options are seemingly endless.

This article is only going to be about forearm tattoos. What’s the difference between a forearm tattoo and other tattoos?

Well, perhaps if you were getting a tattoo for the reasons I’ve listed above, there would be little to no difference.

But throughout my exploration of the internet (and going down endless rabbit-holes) I noticed a few particular individuals who got tattoos of good advice they don’t want to forget.

Rather than to mold their body-image into an art canvas filled with beautiful pieces (which has its own merits), these individuals took a more technical approach to these tattoos.

These tattoos are a permanent reminder of advice they don’t want to forget.

The Obstacle Is The Way & Ego Is The Enemy — Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday has tattooed on his forearms the title of his two bestselling books The Obstacle Is The Way and Ego Is The Enemy.

Ryan first tattooed ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ on his left forearm as a reminder that adversity can be transformed into advantage. Deeply inspired by stoic philosophy (particularly Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations), he keeps this advice close to him to help him through tough times.

It serves as a daily reminder to persist through barriers restraining him from his goals.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus Aurelius

Ryan’s second tattoo ‘Ego Is The Enemy’ on his right forearm acts as a primer to keep his ego in check. He believes our deadliest enemy lives within us: our ego. This tattoo grounds him in reality and helps him be less invested in the story he tells about his own specialness.

He sees his tattoos when he meditates, reads, runs and swims. Being reminded of this advice repeatedly brings him comfort and direction whenever he is struggling.

I Love You — Whitney Cummings

The L.A. based comedian Whitney Cummings has tattooed on her forearm ‘i love you’ in white ink. Although it’s almost invisible, it’s purpose is undeniable.

Whitney got this tattoo when she was struggling with patience and compassion. She grew up in an alcoholic home and hence had to survive as a child by exerting control whenever possible. This behavior haunted her as an adult to the point where whenever people didn’t do things her way, she would become frustrated.

As she sought help to manage this judgmental behavior, she found a trauma therapist that told her to say in her mind ‘I love you’ before she has a conversation.

The result was a mindset shift from being frustrated that other people aren’t doing things her way to understanding that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.

Not wanting to forget this simple trick, she got it tattoo’d on her forearm.

Work Harder & Do More — Casey Neistat

The Godfather of Vlogging: Casey Neistat has more than several tattoos. The two tattoos I’m going to address are his ‘work harder’ tattoo on his left hand (I know it’s not on his forearm but it serves the same purpose) and ‘Do More’ on his left forearm.

When Casey went into a slump, and hadn’t made a movie into a year and needed a reminder, he got ‘work harder’ tattooed on his left hand just under his thumb. It’s such simple advice that is easily forgotten.

Becoming comfortable with what you have is extremely common and leads to the complacency makes you feel as if you’re degrading.

Imagine seeing ‘work harder’ when you’re watching Netflix!

Perhaps his most recognizable tattoo ‘Do More’ on his left forearm, featured in the Nike Make It Count commercial, has a marvelous story behind it.

While in the middle of a three-commercial deal with Nike and completing two amazing, well-received movies, he was burnt out. At the ninth hour, he called his editor and told him that instead of making the third movie, he wanted to travel the world with the production budget until they ran out of money.

They managed to cover 15 countries in a span of 10 days. Make It Count truly became a video on how to make it count. And how you can always ‘Do More’ as his tattoo says.

What To Focus On: Happy — Maria Popova

Maria Popova, who blogs at Brainpickings has a bullseye-like tattoo with the word ‘Happy’ at the middle. Above the bullseye it says ‘What To Focus On:’. This tattoo designed by Marc Johns, was put on her wall for years before she got it tattooed.

During a particularly difficult time in her life, she decided that this truth was so simple, yet easily forgotten. I’m sure most of you can relate.

We double-down on things that don’t make us happy anymore. We prioritize things that make us unhappier rather than improve because they were previously of great solace. I’ve personally gotten caught up in duties that weren’t important and were decreasing my quality of life significantly just because I had previous committed to them.

Maria got this tattooed on her forearm to make the advice as inescapable as possible in the beginning of the day.

Use Forearm Tattoos to Keep Good Advice Close (2024)
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