5 Things To Watch Out for When Taking Advice from Others.
1) Don’t get tricked into thinking you can ever have a, ‘challenge-free’ life. The perfect examples of this are the, “Get Rich Quick!” schemes—make a bunch of money without having to do too much work and then you’ll be set for life! …Right. Aside from getting rarely lucky (and I mean super rarely lucky)—most successful people will tell you that there is no quick path to success. The challenges we face in life keep our minds, bodies, and spirits growing.
You can minimize the challenges you face in life by doing mundane tasks, spending time with passive entertainment, and avoiding problems that cross your path. But that path of minimized obstacles won’t lead to ultimate happiness or success—in fact, it will lead to ultimate regrets and sadness more than anything else. Life is not a spectator sport—it needs to be interacted with, experimented with, and challenged right back! …Remember, our ultimate success doesn’t come from getting rich, quick—but rather from solving and overcoming problems and challenges we choose to face throughout our lifetimes. That’s where the REAL gold is buried.
2) Don’t let anyone make you feel that struggle and pain is a bad thing. Are you tired of the pain of having to work out? INTRODUCING the new, magic, lose-weight-quick-pill-formula that makes losing weight and gaining muscle EASY and PAIN-FREE! …Maybe not phrased quite like that but we’ve all seen the infomercials. Advice like that tries to make everything hunky-dory and free of any struggle or pain and it takes away huge opportunities for growth. Growth of determination, of self-discipline, of grit, etc.
Some of the strongest people in life—mentally, physically, and spiritually—are the ones who have overcome the greatest struggles and have persevered through the most pain. Struggle allows us to deepen our roots with who we are as a person and pain helps us build our tenacity. Tough times provide opportunity for people to toughen up, and when the tough times keep on coming, the tough keep on going.
3) Don’t let people give you the wrong definition of ‘winning.’ Winning is not the absence of failing. Winning is coming out victorious in spite of the failing. The key is to remember that when you fail, fail forward. Take away all of the learning opportunities that you can from every failure and move onto your next action step. Don’t ever let failure dull your spirit. And don’t listen to any advice from others that tells you to give up, try something that’s less risky, or stick more to the norm if it’s something that you’re passionate about and have a mind/ body/ spirit connection with.
Keep yourself surrounded with people and ideas that are above your level and keep your mind thinking about how you can always keep moving forward (the ONLY direction)! Continual growth towards your best version of yourself, over a long period of time is the ultimate win.
4) Don’t suppress or avoid—face problems, challenges, emotions, etc. head on. Be wary of any advice that distracts or numbs your mind from the obstacles on your path. Weak people try to cover up the pain and delude themselves rather than intelligently looking for ways to produce real change, which, in turn, continues to make the challenges they’re facing worse.
This is a dangerous one too, because this is where you start to see people try to numb their mind with drugs, alcohol, food, media, and other substances. And that can quickly become addictive. Going out for a night with your friends and having a few drinks is one thing, doing it every other night is another. Treating yourself, binge eating, and immersing yourself in passive entertainment occasionally is one thing; doing it every other night is another. And so forth. So when someone gives you advice to, “Have a few drinks with them,” to “Treat yourself to an ice cream and Netflix night,” or to do anything else involved with numbing, avoiding, and suppressing—be very cautious that it doesn’t become a habit.
Also, read this article about how, even small life challenges, when left unaddressed, can take a huge toll on the human spirit. Get in the habit of taking action towards solutions, not suppressing or avoiding. Even just looking for solutions on a never ending loop of affirmations, quotes, videos, etc., can be a form of avoidance! Remember, your success and your sanity are dependent on what you actually do.
5) Don’t let advice make you think that looking at the negative is always a bad thing. There is definitely power in positive thinking. But don’t be naive and ignore the other end of the spectrum. Keep it real. Mark Manson, in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, makes this point clear: “Denying negative emotions leads to experiencing deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and to emotional dysfunction. Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems—problems which, by the way, if you’re choosing the right values and metrics, should be invigorating you and motivating you.” You can read a complete list of our quotes from his book here.
So keep in mind that positive thinking needs to be kept in check with a sense of realism and responsibility. If you’re going through a tough time and somebody tells you to, “Stop worrying and just look on the bright side of things!”—make sure you reflect on whether or not that is a form of suppression (which we covered in #4) or if it’s a good step because there are no other actions you can take to make whatever was/is challenging you better