I’m sincerely thankful for everyone who has ever given me advice. Many people use advice-giving as a way to show they care about you. I appreciate the time others have spent investing in me and my ideas. However, I rarely follow their advice. Most often, I do the exact opposite of what they suggest.
It’s not that I’m a really spiteful person (though in the past I have done things for purely rebellious reasons, what kid hasn’t?). The truth is I find most of their advice to be bad. To be sure, they’re not “bad” people. I don’t really believe those people exist anyways. We’re all human. As they give their bad advice, they have the greatest intentions.
Here’s the thing though, their advice is tailored to them, not to you. With their advice, you are getting someone else’s fears, expectations and priorities. Whatever they tell you do to, it might be what they would do, or what they wish they would do. But you’re you. You’re unique. I don’t want my life to be a watered-down version of someone else’s.
My favourite, favourite poem by Rumi (and if we’re being honest, almost everyone’s because it is divine) ends like this:
Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
This is central to my life’s goals. Other people can tell you their experience, and that’s great – I love hearing stories about life lessons and failures and triumphs and dreams. I want to have my own experiences to tell too. My curiosity gets the best of me and I wonder about trying things out for myself.
People might say, ‘I told you so’, but I say who cares? I’m not interested in being ‘right’. I’m interested in living a life I’m proud of, experiencing as much as I can, and through all this, loving myself.
One piece of advice that I do believe is this: Take advice from people who have what you want. The stoics talked about this philosophy. If you’re going to listen to anyone, listen to people who you admire and people living lives that you respect. Leave the rest. No hard feelings, we just want different things.
My final advice? Ignore everything I’ve just said, and do whatever you were going to do anyway.