“Say yes to everything and embrace multimedia.”
That’s the exact advice I got in person, face-to-face from a successful influencer and speaker with over 130k Twitter followers.
Even though I look up to her, I didn’t take her advice.
Why? I have advice blinders.
Learning WHEN to listen to advice (and when not to) is one of the most important time and energy-saving skills I’ve developed. Even more important than meal prep – and cooking meals ahead saves me at least 8 hours a week.
This influencer’s advice of saying yes to everything and embracing multimedia isn’t bad advice at all. It’s probably what brought her success.
But it won’t work for me. I’m already following advice from someone I respect and trust that contradicts her advice.
There’s too much advice on the internet.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there are more people out there giving advice than there are people actually taking it.
People love giving advice. I mean, my whole blog is straight up packed with advice.
(By the way, I hope you only take my advice if it genuinely strikes a chord with you)
We ask for advice when we run into an obstacle or a situation we don’t know how to handle on the road to success — what ever that means to you.
Asking for advice is a good and healthy tendency to have (compared to people who refuse to listen and learn from anyone). But getting advice can be overwhelming. Sometimes we know exactly what we have to do, but we seek another way that seems easier and faster.
All worthy and actually helpful advice has one thing in common: Implementing it requires time, energy, discipline and hard work.
Time? Energy? Hard work?! Most people would rather stick to a strategy that doesn’t work than change it up to get their desired result… which I find kinda sad.
When I say desired result I mean anything and everything from finding better people to date to landing your dream job to getting ripped to learning how to budget.
Think for a sec.
When was the last time you ACTUALLY took advice from someone?
What it means to take advice:
1. Sharing the facts of your issue instead of complaining.
Sometimes you just want to complain about being stuck in your shitty job or boring relationship — and that’s fine. There’s certainly a time and place for that.
A natural reaction from the person on the other side is to start dishing out what they would do if they were in your shoes: AKA advice.
If someone’s complaining or whining to you about something, chances are they aren’t looking for advice. They are looking for sympathy, a shoulder to cry on or maybe just to bore you to near death.
But if someone’s telling you about an issue and they express a genuine desire to do something about it, they’ll probably ask a specific question that prompts you for specific advice.
2. Listening (and reflecting)
Most of the time, when people talk to each other, instead of listening they’re really just waiting to respond.
I learned the hard way that if you want be taken seriously by the people you respect, you should shut up and listen to what they have to say.
If you’re someone that asks for advice a lot and you listen closely, you’ll eventually find that a lot of it starts to sound the same.
For example, I recently read this amazing article where the author collected relationship advice from over 1,500 people. He was able to narrow the responses down to a few core pieces of advice because it got so repetitive.
If you ask enough people for advice you’re going to start seeing patterns.
My hope for you is that you spend more time implementing advice than you do asking for it.
Which brings us to #3:
Imagine what would happen if you followed all of the advice you were ever given.
Where would you be?
The truth: Implementing advice is tough. And getting a lot of different advice from many sources is overwhelming to the point where you don’t do anything.
With any one piece of advice, there’s risk involved.
What if you take the advice and it doesn’t work? What if it makes your issue worse?
How can you even be sure that this person knows what they’re talking about?
Your reliable buddy, fear, is back again to thwart your visions for success and financial freedom.
The fear is going one direction that leads to a dead end, forcing you to turn around and start over.
But that’s why failure is so damn effective.
If you hit a dead end, it at least means you tried. You moved forward. You can rule out an option. That’s progress.
Otherwise, you’re stalling at an intersection, contemplating which way to go.
And this brings me to my main point:
Advice blinders are necessary if you want to find a solution AND avoid advice overwhelm.
Having advice blinders means selectively listening to some of the advice you get. It has to make sense in terms of your goals.
Here’s how having advice blinders has worked for me:
I bought a course on how to build an online business to generate passive income last April for $2,000.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve gotten a sense of just how many online courses (free and paid) are out there that teach the same exact thing.
I did a ton of research before buying this course. I read the course creator’s book. I attended his online webinars. I even reached out to his current students to ask them about their experiences.
When it came time to click “buy,” I was more than confident.
I’m still in the middle of the course (online businesses don’t come to life over night), but if I started losing interest in the system and instead sought out other more convenient advice, I’d be wayyyy off track.
People who are not familiar with the system I’m using have told me I have to get on Pinterest. I’ve heard I should make a logo. Apparently, I should make my blog posts shorter.
If the advice I get doesn’t match up with what I’m already implementing, I don’t take it.
Instead, I thank the person giving it to me. I put it on the back burner (maybe it will be useful in the future) and that’s how I never get off track.
There are two common advice traps to avoid.
Do you know anyone caught in this unproductive advice cycle (also known as “shiny object syndrome”)?
- Consumes material on a subject matter they want to learn more about.
- Half-asses the implementation OR don’t give it enough time. Determine the material sucks. (Maybe they don’t even look at the material at all!!)
- Searches for “better” material to get them the desired results faster with less work involved.
This is trap number one and it’s the opposite of having advice blinders.
It’s better to master one thing than half-ass a bunch of things.
If you’ve recently taken advice from someone you respect, but are frustrated that it hasn’t worked for you yet, give it more time. Ask yourself if you’re really putting the right amount of time and energy into it.
Trap number two is avoiding action because of what’s at risk.
Well, we do have a few things working against us.
We live in a time where we can basically order anything on Amazon and have it arrive in less than 48 hours.
I’ts safe to say our generation is not proficient in delayed gratification.
That means we’re less likely to take advice because we just don’t know if it’s worth the time and energy.
Many of us are skeptics. We risk NOT getting the desired outcome we’re looking for by following one specific piece of advice.
If you’re not sure it’s going to work… why do it, right?
Truth: No one gets closer to accomplishing their goals with that mindset.
How to avoid these advice traps:
- Accepting the fact that risk is part of it. Maybe you asked for someone’s advice after realizing you want to switch careers, but you’re scared of failing… but what if you succeeded? Focus more on that. And know that failure is just a part of finding success.
- Learning to be patient. Remember that whenever you see people who are more successful than you (especially on social media) know that you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Assume they had a long journey with lots of failure along the way too.
- Being focused. Focusing on one thing instead of a million different things is very satisfying. When you start focusing on one strategy or tactic, not only will you see more progress, but you’ll find that your brain feels a lot healthier too. Focusing on one thing helps your mind feel less scattered.
Less is more.
If you constantly ask for advice to solve one problem from several different people, it’s time to implement what works best for you and go after it.
Even though asking for advice means you have a real desire to change something, just asking doesn’t mean you’re making moves forward.
Asking for advice too often is procrastination in disguise.
Buying lots of courses and material and books feels like progress, but it means nothing if you don’t take the material, strategies and tactics for a spin.
Choosing what advice to ditch will seriously help you clear your mind, too. Taking stuff OFF your to-do list (or creating a not-to-do list) will work wonders for your confidence, time management, energy and overall output.
Take action on the advice that feels the best to you. See what happens.
Even if you hit a dead end, it’s better than standing still.
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