Do you want to live your life to the best of your abilities? Have no regrets?
Then you want to read this article.
At first I wanted to call this article “Don’t listen to other people if you want to be successful in life.”
But this isn’t the whole truth.
Only a fool takes absolutely no advice from anybody.
Wise men all throughout the ages have stated that
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and you’ll be wise for the rest of your life.” (Proverbs 19:20)
But here is where the danger lies: 99% of other people’s advice is absolute rubbish.
If you fail to recognize this, you will lead your entire life according to other people’s beliefs instead of your own. Don’t listen to other people’s advice, or you’ll be extremely disappointed in yourself at some point in the future.
Have a plan, make up your own mind, and live according to what you think is right.
If you don’t have a plan for your life, somebody else does.
1) 99% of People Don’t Give Advice: They Justify Their Own Actions
The problem when asking other people for advice is that they don’t actually tell you what’s best for you in your situation.
99% of people don’t give you good advice that will benefit you. Instead, they’ll give you advice that merely justifies their own actions of the past.
Modern psychology has shown that we that are more likely to martyr ourselves for our beliefs than admit to ourselves, and to others, that we may be wrong.
As humans, one of our brain’s top priority is making sure that we’re congruent in our actions and beliefs.
This simply means that our beliefs and our actions aren’t contradictory or inconsistent with each other.
To illustrate this, think back of a time when you didn’t do something, even though you knew you really should do it.
For example, you know you should have gone to the gym to work out. But you decided not to you. After you have reached the decision not to go, your brain will come up with a reason to justify your behavior. Thoughts like, “I’m still sore from my last workout anyways” or “the gym’s probably really busy at this time now” will pop into your head.
Your brain tries extremely hard to come up with reasons to justify past behavior.
As a result, people are unable to really give you advice that is suited to your specific situation. All they will come up with is advice that justifies their own behavior. Otherwise, they might realize that they had been wrong their entire life. And this is too much for most people’s ego to handle.
If you ask your uncle whether you should start your own business, he won’t tell you to go ahead even though starting your own business is pretty much the only way to really get wealthy in a relatively short amount of time.
Instead, he’ll tell you that starting your own business is too risky and that you’ll never succeed.
Because if he’d told you differently, this would mean that he lead his whole life according to false assumptions.
If you uncle has worked a 9 to 5 job all his life, telling you to go ahead and start your own business would mean that he had been incorrect all his life. And most people’s egos can’t handle realizations like that. It would destroy them. Therefore, their brains will come up with reasons that are in line with their own past behavior, whether it’s the smart thing to do or not.
2) Your Parents Want You to Have a Better Life Than They Had – But Just a Little Bit Better
If your parents advised you to live totally different than they had, it would mean that they had been wrong their entire lives. Again, this realization would absolutely crush most people. This process happens subconsciously, so you can’t blame the people. You just have to be smart enough not to listen to them.
Hence, parents want their kids to have a better life than they had. But not that much better. Because that would mean that they been wrong all their life.
Consequently, parents will tell their children to do what they themselves have done in some shape or form. Hence, no matter how much the parents love their child, their advice will probably not lead to their kid being extremely successful if they, themselves, aren’t very successful.
It’s quite unusual for parents to give their kids advice that is contrary to their own beliefs. And their own beliefs are mostly a result of their past actions.
And since they got advice from their parents, if you take your parents’ advice, you are most likely living out your grandparents’ advice.
This is why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Imagine that you have led your entire life according to a completely false assumption:
For example, you have the belief that you need to do well in school, graduate from college, and work a 9-5 job all your life in order to be successful.
What if later you found out, that you had been completely wrong the entire time. That you worked your butt of, only to make other people rich? What would happen is you would lose your sense of identity. You wouldn’t know what to believe anymore. Your ego would become quite fragile. However, your ego seeks to strengthen your identity. That’s why your brain will come up will thousands of reasons why your past behavior was correct. And why other people should do the same.
In most cases, people don’t actively try to sabotage you. They merely give advice that justifies their own behavior. Nevertheless, their advice can still be extremely destructive to your future success.
3) Whose Advice Should You Seek Then?
So we have established that people give advise that justifies their own past behavior.
As a result, we need to seek advice only from people who have already succeeded.
If you think that all this talk about ego and strengthening one’s identity is a bit strange, it’s ok, I understand.
If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this:
“Only take advice from people that already are where you want to be.”
That means, should you listen to your uncle who leads a mediocre life working a job he hates? Of course not!
Sure, he’ll tell you to do the same, because everything else is “too risky or will never, ever work out.”
But really all he is really expressing is: “If you do things that are totally different from my beliefs and are extremely successful doing so, it would mean I had been wrong my entire life and I’m not sure I could handle this much pain.”
That’s why you should only ask people for advice who are are where you want to be and have the kind of life you would like to have. And even then, you’ll probably be much better off not to ask anybody for advice and instead do what you think is right. Discard all other people’s advice.
So if you believe that only very few people can get rich and make a lot of money, your brain will completely block out evidence that points to the contrary.
Likewise, if you believe that it’s completely possible to get wealthy and rich, possibly because you have done so yourself, your brain will focus more evidence to show you that you are right.
4) Remember This:
Don’t ever ask other people for advice, unless they are where you want to be. And even then, advice can often be destructive because what has worked for them might not work for you.
People would rather die, than you realize they had been wrong.
Therefore, don’t expect good advise from people. Expect justifications of their own past behavior and excuses disguised as advice.
Discard all advice and make up your own mind. Deep down inside, you probably already know what you should do.
“But test all things. Hold on to what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
I realize. of course, that me giving you advice about how you shouldn’t take advise from anybody is paradoxical. But in 1% of cases, advice can be fruitful and constructive. I would count my advice to the 1%.
Do your research, pray to God, your creator, for wisdom, work hard, and do what you think is right. Don’t listen to other people.
Otherwise you might be lying on your death bed one day only to realize that you’ve been living your entire life according to other people’s plans and beliefs, instead of your own.
Don’t let that happen to you. Make up your own mind and do what you think is right.
Till next time,