Most, if not all, the advice you’re given is useless. Giving advice is easy. People are full of opinions, and we love nothing more than to share them with others. It gives us a chance to talk about ourselves: our opinions are largely based on personal experiences, emotions, and values. Yet, how many of us actually do the work required to hold a certain view?

 

When literally anyone can give you advice, it should be expected that the overall quality of advice given is extremely low.

 

Unfortunately, the people we tend to take the most advice from is our close circle of friends and family, who are often the least qualified to provide it. You wouldn’t take computer advice from a plumber, so why take entrepreneurship advice from your buddy who has spent his life in a cubicle?

 

Your friends and family will attempt to point you in a direction they would like to see you go, rather than where you would like to see yourself go. They are secretly manipulating you, consciously or not. And if you continuously follow their advice, you will eventually wind up living someone else’s life instead of your own.

 

How often have you heard of the engineering student who realizes he hates physics but continues anyway because his friends all do the same? Or the medical student that gives up 12 years of his life to satisfy his parents? The investment banker who hates the job but stays for the prestige?

 

The people that give you advice may say they have your best intentions in mind, but the truth is that it’s often the best in their mind. It’s so they can happily gloat to their friends what their son or daughter does for a living. It is the choice that they themselves would make, given their hopes, dreams, aspirations, anxieties, and risk tolerance. Nevertheless, we tend to trust these people the most.

 

The bottom line is that you are not other people. There are very few one-size-fits-all pieces of advice. Generic advice is just that: generic. The further removed you are from the ideal case, the less it holds true.

 

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