How to know when you can disregard advice

Don’t take advice from someone if you wouldn’t want to switch places with them

This is intuitive, BUT the more you pay attention to it, the more you realize that most people who give you advice are not the people you want to become.

This causes you to think hard about who you want to become. Theres probably no one who completely fits the mold. There may only be a few people who even kind of fit that mold. Listen to all three of them and take which advice fits where it needs to.

Don’t listen to your business mentor’s advice about parenting. Listen to her advice about running a company, because that’s what you admire most about her.

Don’t listen to your personal trainer’s advice on dating. Listen to his advice on weightlifting and fitness.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t listen to most advice you hear. Think deeply about why someone is advising you in a certain direction. Quite often the answer is that it worked for them.

All advice is autobiographical. -Austin Kleon

The guy who got a corporate job, then became an entrepreneur in his 30s will tell you to get a stable job after college. The girl who started a company when she was 20 will tell you to never take that corporate job and follow your own path.

Neither one is objectively right or wrong, but we know why they give that advice. It worked for them.

If you don’t want to be them, don’t take that advice.

So next time someone tells you to do something, take a step back ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to be like this person?
  • Why are they giving me this advice?

You’ll realize that most of the time, your answers to these questions will allow you to forget their words. That’s good. Their advice probably wasn’t for you anyways. It was for their past self.

Pave your own path.