We can all use advice. People from the smallest to the greatest need pointers here and there. To get anywhere in life, this is a necessity. And only a narcissistic maniac would say otherwise.
In this vast arena of well-meaning individuals who claim they want the best for you, there is still a problem. Not all advice is good advice.
It turns out that sometimes what people have to say doesn’t help you. Instead, it hurts you in the long run, something none of us want.
So how do you combat this paradoxical dilemma of figuring out which advice you should obey and which ones you should throw away?
Here’s what I mean by that.
Only Take Advice from Those Who Learn From Their Mistakes
If Jonny has some helpful insight as what you should do next, let him speak. By all means, hear him out. Maintain your level of respect for his willingness to provide the given pointers. After all, most people aren’t willing to help at all.
But under no circumstances should you adhere to what Jonny has to say if he has doesn’t learn from his own mistakes. This is important. People who constantly find themselves in error without acknowledging and learning from their missteps aren’t fit to give advice.
A friend of mine once told me the greatest way to successfully grow your small business is by following the concept of “under-promising and over-delivering,” somehow attempting to blow the clients’ minds.
By being as shallow and vague as possible in discussing your work, you would then shock them senseless when they saw your finished product. This made no sense to me. I couldn’t fall for the logic, no matter how popular it was.
Most importantly, as I thought about his advice, something else stuck out to me like a sore thumb. This friend doesn’t have the best track record of maintaining solid relationships with clients. His most recent dealbreaker ended after he made the exact same mistake of taking on too much work.
After failing to focus on one at a time, he virtually ignored what turned out to be his most important client. I’m sorry, but if someone you know is like this, I wouldn’t take their nuggets of wisdom seriously.
It doesn’t mean you hate them. But it does mean you value the quality of your own work.
Never Listen to People Who Never Listen
This one has to be the most obvious. If someone doesn’t take advice from anyone else (as if to say they’re always right and never wrong), don’t waste your time.
Smart people never stop learning. They never stop taking advice.
They know there is always something out there to help them improve, get better, create higher quality work. Being a lone wolf seems bold on the front side. But on the backend, there are more cons than pros for sure.
Those who always close their ears to outside advice are prone to wander into a steep pit of failure, never learning and never growing. These are the ones you want to stay away from.
Their words aren’t reliable. They aren’t tested by fire. They are emotional opinions.
If you want your work to mean something, to make a difference in the world, you want to balance the scale of taking risks and taking advice. But branching out without any guidance is simply foolish, especially without the proper filter.
You have the ability to do some amazing things. Just don’t let bad advice ruin your opportunities.
Kevin Horton is a photographer, college student, modest book-worm, and wanna-be web developer with a new-found love for writing. He writes helpful words about creativity, productivity, and the enjoyably simple life.
’Til next time. Thanks for reading!