Woody Allen’s Amazing Life Lessons in Esquire Magazine

The legendary filmmaker gives some sage-like advice in Esquire magazine’s ‘What I’ve Learned’ series.  

08.09.13 12:10 AM ET

Woody Allen has been—nay, schlepped—around the block.

The 77-year-old filmmaker has directed a whopping 48 films, including the classics Annie Hall, Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose—the list goes on. His latest is the critically acclaimed dramedy Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett. Allen’s been married three times, has three children, and won four Academy Awards. He’s received heaps of praise for his stellar body of work, as well as his fair share of scrutiny for marrying his stepdaughter, Soon-Yi Previn. If anyone has lived a full life, it’s Allen.

In the latest issue of Esquire, the legendary filmmaker gave some life advice as part of the magazine’s ‘What I’ve Learned’ series. Here are some of our favorite entries, and you can read the rest here.

What people who don't write don't understand is that they think you make up the line consciously — but you don't. It proceeds from your unconscious. So it's the same surprise to you when it emerges as it is to the audience when the comic says it. I don't think of the joke and then say it. I say it and then realize what I've said. And I laugh at it, because I'm hearing it for the first time myself.”

“My mother taught me a value — rigid discipline. My father didn't earn enough, and my mother took care of the money and the family, and she had no time for lightness. She always saw the glass a third full. She taught me to work and not to waste time.”

“If you're born with a gift, to behave like it's an achievement is not right.”

“It's been said about marriage ‘You have to know how to fight.’ And I think there's some wisdom to that. People who live together get into arguments. When you're younger, those arguments tend to escalate, or there's not any wisdom that overrides the argument to keep in perspective. It tends to get out of hand. When you're older, you realize, ‘Well, this argument will pass. We don't agree, but this is not the end of the world.’ Experience comes into play.”

“It's just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don't have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we're just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it's Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There'll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.”

Read the rest over at Esquire.

Also, you can check out Woody Allen’s favorite books here.