Life is nothing without big plans. We all harbor some hope or dream of what we’d like to do with our lives.
Some us are certain and some of us are still searching, but wherever you’re at, there’s a common problem we all face. We have a tendency to seek out and listen to good advice. Don’t worry, you didn’t read that wrong. I said good advice is a problem. It seems harmless, beneficial even, but there’s a very dark side to the good advice you receive and you might not even realize it.
When you’re trying to orchestrate a major change in your life, it can get a little scary. It’s a very natural reaction to look for advice from people you trust, but you need to be very careful about what you ask for, and even more careful of who you ask for it.
Even the best intentioned advice can totally derail your plans without you even realizing it.
My best advice about advice? Don’t ask for it.
The better your idea is, the more unique, interesting, and meaningful it is to you, the less anyone else can help you with it. The world is never ready for the best ideas. It never has been. The best ideas always take us by surprise. They’re created by artists that show us what we want and what we need before we ever knew we wanted or needed it.
This is what makes the best ideas difficult to understand before we can actually touch, taste, see, or hear them. What advice can someone give you if they can’t even conceive of your plan?
When it comes to your best ideas, good advice is really bad. So don’t ask for it.
Good advice is based on conventional wisdom. It takes into account what’s worked before and it considers your perceived ability to accomplish something. But the best ideas always break these rules. They’re implemented against the odds by completely unqualified people.
In fact, if you want to test your idea to find out if it’s really great or not, you can get a pretty good idea just by asking yourself these two questions:
Has it ever worked before?
Am I qualified to pull it off?
My rule of thumb is that answering no to both of those doesn’t guarantee anything, but answering yes is probably a good indicator it needs more work. That’s just my advice, though. Remember what I said about rules of thumb, conventional wisdom, and the like.
Time to Execute
When you have a great idea, the most important thing you can do is execute it. Testing is the only way you’ll ever know if it can work or not. The problem is that the good advice you get from your friends and family will counter this.
They care about you and don’t want to see you fail, so their good advice is to be cautious. Think it through. Make sure you really want to try this. Give it a little test, but don’t commit to anything.
This kind of good advice will sabotage the best of plans.
Ignore good advice at all costs.
When you’re looking for the best advice about your new, risky idea, it’s really important that you don’t put too much stock in the advice you get from others and start listening to yourself, instead.
You know yourself better than anyone else does. Why don’t you start asking yourself for advice?
Take out a pen and write down the questions and ideas you would bring up if you were to talk about your idea with a friend. Then answer them. Do it from your own perspective and give yourself the best advice you know about how to commit and execute successfully.
Keep in mind that you’re trying to work out the best way to do it, not whether you should do it at all. Dig deep into your intuition and listen to what your gut tells you.
Remember, your lizard brain will be hard at work trying to get you to slow down or even give up. That’s the foreground voice. Your intuition is behind that. You have to peel away the onion-like layers of doubt and uncertainty before you find it and can really hear what it’s saying.
Picture the best case scenario that could happen and give yourself advice on how to achieve that. Work backwards, step by step, from the ultimate goal until you have something you can do right now without having to wait for anything else to happen.
The worst case scenario almost never occurs and planning for it is like begging yourself to fail, so don’t spend much time dwelling on it.
This is the kind of advice you need and when it comes to your best ideas, you’re the only one that can give it to you.
Share Your Plan
It might sound like what I’m saying is to keep your plan a secret, but that’s not what I’m trying to get at at all. You’re the only one worth listening to when it comes to getting advice for your big plans, but the plans themselves should be shared freely.
It’s important to tell people, especially people you’re close to, what you’re doing. Just don’t ask them if you should do it or not.
Your friends and family can give you support along the way that you can’t get anywhere else and if your grand idea significantly affects their lives, then they have the right to know. They just don’t have the right to tell you not to do it. Maintaining that balance can be difficult, but it’s essential.
Don’t give others “Good Advice”
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of this article sounds like advice about not asking for advice. Well, it is – and you didn’t even ask me for it.
That’s exactly why you shouldn’t listen to it. At least not without a critical ear. I say this because, even though you may grasp this concept very well, not everyone that comes to you for advice will.
It’s dangerous to ask others for advice about your best ideas, but it’s irresponsible to give it about theirs. Don’t let yourself be the one that’s giving out that ruinous “good advice.” When someone asks me if I think their idea will work, I try to be honest, but also make sure they know that I’m not the authority on their ability to be amazing.
As important as it is to put confidence in your own abilities, it’s just as vital that you help others put confidence in theirs – to teach them how to give and apply their own advice.
So please, if this advice isn’t right for you, forget I ever said anything. You know what’s best for you far better than I do, so don’t let me stand in your way!
Over to you: How do you deal with “good advice”?
Image by: hellojenuine