Who (and Who Not) to Get Advice From?

I don’t take advice from family, teachers, nor counselors. Why would I? They only want what is best for me.

That is why you shouldn’t take advice from those who love you. They are not really incentivized because they share the risks but not always the rewards. Therefore, a lot of advice given to young people get is “eaten by the world” advice. Instead of helping you “eat the world.”

Before you take any advice, understand good advice is context-specific to you. The “advisor” should know your goals, your background, your fears, and your likely potential. Most people who give you advice won’t have the time to understand these things. Take advice enthusiastically but apply it skeptically. 

When you seek advice, we need to know what we want and what we want to achieve. How? Sit down and answer the question. 

I’ll give you a hint. No matter what you choose, you should aspire to be the best at whatever you do. But there’s a trick, as Columbia Professor Jerry Neumann explains, “Defining what you are doing in such a way that nobody else is doing it.“

If you want to be the best, choose something specific where you can keep growing. You can achieve this by working on “important” problems you have a reasonable attack on. If you have an attack, the problem is important. 

So who do you take advice from?

People who care about you who won’t be affected by your failures. I call them, “Future Selves,” and they are people who were once where you are who want you to be successful and avoid their mistakes.  

If you want to do something amazing, you can’t take the safe route because everyone else is already taking the safe route and you’ll be competing with them. 

Take advice from family, friends, teachers, and counselors enthusiastically but apply it skeptically.

Those who love you want the best for you but often don’t know what you want. Define your goals and aspirations. Then, you can start getting good context-specific advice that you can often get from Future Selves



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Tags: advicelifephilosophy