Be Careful Who You Listen To

From my daily blog

Let’s say you want to start a business, a blog, a side project. Something out of the ordinary. How do you start? Well, you gotta get some advice from the people around you, right? They are smarter, more experienced, and more skilled than you. After all, if you can avoid a few mistakes along the way from their experience this will help you move faster and avoid obstacles. So you start talking to people. To friends, family, and people in your social circle. When you ask two people, you end up getting three opinions. Mostly conflicting advice. What should you believe? Who’s right?

What’s wrong with the (common) approach to new things is that most advice you get is simply wrong. Getting something off the ground, like a business, is so ambiguous and every journey looks so different that it is hard to draw effective patterns out of experience. Even if you would get the chance to talk to the world’s greatest entrepreneurs about your new venture, they will tell you that they cannot fix your business. It’s up to you. There are so many variables you need to solve for in a business that it’s impossible to give sound advice that significantly impacts your journey.

Another pitfall to consider is this: You wouldn’t ask a painter for advice on how to cook a delicious meal. And vice versa. What Rumi put eloquently is a simple truth that’s easy to oversee. Never seek advice from those who have never been on the journey you are on. In entrepreneurship, it’s quite obvious. Launching a business is a risky endeavor. The odds are stacked against you. To launch a business, you need to be risk-seeking and keep your cool. Now when you talk to people around you that have a different risk conceptualization in their lives, they will not understand why you are doing the things you are doing. Why? Because they are on a different journey and don’t know what it’s like to be on that journey. That’s why you need to be very selective about who you choose to listen to for advice.

Of course, there is always something to be gained in a genuine conversation with family or friends about the things you set out to do. But always take the advice you get with a pinch of salt because they have (most likely) not been on the same journey you are on. And that’s okay. So balance what you hear from them with what you deem to be true from the bottom of your heart. Follow your gut. Take the risk. Take action. And enjoy the ride. Fail quickly. Stand up again. And move forward. Action is what is required for progress. So the wisest thing you can do is act.

If you like, you can have a look at my daily blog and subscribe to receive a new thought every morning at 5:30AM CET.

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