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Beware of advice

Do you like to ask people for advice?

What standards do you use when asking them?

Is there anyone from whom you would not take advice? Why?

I would be an even richer man (I never like to think of myself as anything less than already rich), if I had a nickel for every person who abandoned a dream, failed to follow-up on an interest, or closed the door on an opportunity because of advice they took from someone. I don’t want this to happen to you. As a fan of self-empowerment, I want you to get the best advice possible when it comes to the matters that really count in your life.

So today I’d like to give you a bit of advice on taking advice.

Find someone who’s doing or has done what you want to do.

Let’s say you currently make $35K a year and you want to make $100k within the next 5 years. Why not start by talking to or reading about some people who make over $100k? It seems obvious, right? But do you know what many people actually do? They talk to their friend who works at the same restaurant or retail store as they do. When that friend says “Oh, that’s just a pipe dream. You can’t make that amount of money without selling your soul”, they actually listen to this as if it were an irrefutable scientific fact. In reality, it’s just a friend’s hypothesis untested by direct experience. Good advice an untested hypothesis does not make. You must find someone who’s doing or has done what you want to do if you expect to find high quality advice.

If you want to be a pilot, for instance, then talk to an actual pilot. Your Uncle, who’s never flown a plane in his life before, may still be able to offer you some valuable advice on general things like persistence and punctuality, but you should never end your pursuit of wise counsel with people who lack direct experience with what you want to do.

Look for happy examples

It’s also important to make sure the person you talk to is happy with what they do. If you’re considering a move to Las Vegas, don’t just talk to someone who has lived in Vegas. In your search, be sure to find someone who was happy living there as well. Engaging in prolonged discussion with someone who hated their experience can give you a skewed outlook on the possibilities that await you. If you want to visit someplace, consult with the individual that’s found 101 different ways to enjoy the place you want to go.

If you want to have a good time, consult people who know how to have a good time. If you want your plans to work, go study the people who find a way to make plans work.  

Take dating as an example. There are single people who have all sorts of negative views about relationships. The guys do radio shows where they talk about how manipulative the women are. The women write books about how all men are dogs and the list goes on. Now, if you’re a single person and you want to have a thrilling relationship, is this really the group of people whose thinking you want to emulate? It’s one thing to respect people’s right to an opinion and it’s an entirely different thing to model your  lifestyle choices after those opinions. It’s okay to respectfully listen to what single people have to say, but if you want to be in a healthy, happy relationship, you’ll want to glean from the inspiration and wisdom of a few people who are currently experiencing the kind of situation you wish to manifest.

The other side

There will always be someone out there with a negative outlook who claims to have tried something similar to what you may be pursuing. They usually have very compelling words to say about how failure, unhappiness, and regret is inevitable. If I were you, I wouldn’t limit my understanding of anything to what these people have to say.

But shouldn’t we consult unhappy individuals or study the people who fail in order to learn what NOT to do?

That’s the million dollar question, my friends. In my next post, I’ll offer my two cents on the assumptions that question is based on. Then I’ll leave you with a few questions of my own. Until then, create a great day.


T.K. Coleman

Click here for Beware of advice Pt 2

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