I used to work in a tombstone factory.
The factory no longer made tombstones but it still wreaked of death. There was an everlasting cement dust vibe about the air. The asbestos roof had cracks in it and was a health hazard.
One day a colleague got up on the asbestos roof and drilled holes in it to test a solar hot water system to provide water for his coffee.
The place was a death trap.
One of the other workers was a tradie. He could construct anything out of timber. He had a Yogi bear face, flabby arms, and the worst plumber’s crack (butt crack) you could ever see when he bent over to fix something. He said to me this famous line I’ll never forget:
“Opinions are like butt cracks. Everyone’s got one.”
To succeed in life we have to seek out advice at different times
Other people’s experiences can guide our own. Learning from failures can be a powerful drug that can take you to the moon in your career.
But seeking advice is also the #1 way people fail, because bad advice has many hidden paths to find its way into your life.
Here’s how to make sure the advice you get is high-class so you can use it to achieve big goals in life.
Paid advice comes with free accountability
I used to never buy books or online courses because I wanted information for free. As a result I spent a big chunk of my life trying to find good information.
The problem with this strategy is the time it takes to curate information could be spent on execution that’ll make you 10x the money and give better results.
I also noticed another trend…
When you pay for advice it makes you accountable because the pain of wasting your money is too great to ignore. So you do the course, learn, interact with the other students, and try hard.
That’s why paid information is better than you might think.
Use the “advice ranker”
I stole this tool from Alex Hormozi.
Highest: Been there + took someone just like me there
High: Took someone just like me there
Mid: Took someone there
Mid-low: Been there
Low: Knows someone who went
Lowest: Giving their two cents
Most of social media is at the lowest level of people giving their two cents, which is why it can be a terrible place to get advice.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth — Marcus Aurelius
Google searches aren’t what you think
My boomer parents love google search.
Whenever they have a question they go running for their phones. Sadly it led them to get scammed three times in 12 months. How?
Let me explain. Early in my career I worked at an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company. We could get a website to rank at the top of google for any keywords.
We were internet magicians and it made us a lot of money.
We helped one company that sold energy-efficient products look as if they were the government authority on the topic. So people bought their products without thinking twice.
Their cheap products caused several homes to burn down.
This is the problem with google. Anyone can hire a freelancer and have their site artificially show up with certain search terms. This makes google searches easy to manipulate for profits — or evil.
Solution: many people now place the phrase ‘Reddit’ in front of their google search to get better search results, especially if you want a citizen’s opinion on a topic.
Remember this about advice so you don’t accidentally get scammed
Superstar grandpa investor Charlie Munger says “Show me the incentive and I’ll show you the outcome.”
Far too many people don’t discount the incentives a person may have from the advice they offer. The worst is finance.
Crooks in suits that work on Wall Street will give you advice about where to put your pension money. Then they will use the money as their gambling fund with zero accountability (see 2008 financial crisis).
See the incentive to see the truth.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it — Upton Sinclair
The #1 reason people fail in life, according to Napoleon Hill
This one cuts deep and you’re not going to like it.
“The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family and neighbors,” says Napoleon Hill.
Yet many of us turn to our inner circle in times of crisis. Family is great, but they want to keep you safe. Friends are fine, but they want you to stay at their level. Neighbors are nice, but can often be envious.
In 2011 I had this exact problem.
So I went to a Tony Robbins event and heard the most unconventional advice I’d ever heard. I hated it so much I nearly walked out and gave up my $1000 (plus I disliked all the dancing).
Then I stayed because deep down I knew he was right. That became my defining moment. Life would never be the same.
The best advice often comes from new sources. They’re the ideas that transform your reality and lead to change.
People only give advice that works for them
Just because I made money on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you will.
Your task in life is to go out there and test advice, see what helps, and do away with what doesn’t work. When you do, that’s when you experience true personal growth.
Now fallen from grace actor Will Smith said in his book, the problem with advice is it’s from one person’s limited perspective. Yet there are infinite possibilities in the universe.
Their advice is tainted with their fears, prejudices, experiences, hidden racial influences, their childhood (good or bad), and is owned by them, not you. As long as you know this then stranger danger advice can’t hurt you.
Stay away from these advice babies
There’s a special flavor of sh*t sandwich you want to keep clear of, according to Albert Einstein:
“Avoid negative people. They have a problem with every solution.”
I agree. Anyone can use their 4000 year old ape brain to spot the negative. Or to say it’s the end of America and we should burn it to the ground.
The truth is none of this advice will help you.
It only leads to hopelessness. We don’t get to live very long so we may as well expect the future to be bright. If it’s not then we’ll be dead soon anyway so it won’t matter.
But to spread doom and gloom to an already mentally bruised global population, should be a crime that carries a life sentence.
Don’t let dumb-dumb advice ruin your day.
When someone has no context on your life and gives advice, they’re not talking to you, they’re talking to themselves — Alex Hormozi
Seek out bad opinions you disagree with
Yep, it’s why I sometimes read trash tweets about politics.
I want the content to change my mind about politics being nothing more than a bunch of rich grandpas acting out a tv show and telling us what we want to hear.
So to truly learn you have to get out of your comfort zone. It happens when you read books or consume ideas that contradict your beliefs.
Author Mark Manson says the process will either:
- Help you know when you’re wrong
- Upgrade the arguments for your own ideas
That’s everything I’ve learned about seeking out good advice. Use it in your life to become an unconventional human being who reaches the top 1% in whatever field you care most about.