Advice gets handed out without a care in the world.
It drives me nuts. So much advice, so little wisdom.
I spent a whole day yesterday collecting the most common worst advice. Let’s go through and debunk each one.
“Boys don’t cry”
Yes, they do.
I’ve cried plenty of times — when my heart got broken, when I got fired, when I walked away from a startup I loved, when I watched my friend get stabbed repeatedly until the blood went from tomato red to dark red, when I quit my job, when I lost a lot of money.
Crying is part of nature.
It’s how we let it all out so we can learn the meaning from all the pain.
Showing emotion shows you’re human. The more you hold back, the greater the buildup of emotional pressure — until it pisses out everywhere like a firehose and drenches everyone.
Tears = Human
“Money isn’t everything”
Well, it sure makes life easier.
Money gives you options. Money is stored up time you can spend on a project, raising a kid, time off, or recovery from a health crisis.
Try living with no money or on minimum wage. Then tell me money doesn’t matter and should be ignored.
“Quit your job”
Build a side hustle first. Use it to collect data on the future you want to create. Then quit when the side hustle income matches your salary.
Quitting a job and just hoping to “wing it” is stupidity that’ll make you bankrupt. This terrible advice virus is all over the internet. Don’t do it.
“Get a good job”
Statistically, you’ll never reach financial freedom if you do.
Jobs are where you go to learn and grow. Take advantage of them. Use and abuse your boss and milk him for everything he’s worth.
But don’t expect a good job to free you. Don’t expect a job to bring happiness or give you control of your time.
Even the best job can turn into a nightmare.
How? A change of boss, a merger, an acquisition, or a new leadership that wants to change the world — and has no freaking idea.
Create your own job.
“Go to college”
Not in a million years (unless you seek to be a doctor, engineer, or lawyer).
College is so damn expensive it’s ridiculous.
You don’t get value for money. It’s what people do when they have no clue what to do. College is a great way to procrastinate and think you’re progressing in life. Then it ends and you’re thrown right back into the tornado of the business world.
College doesn’t guarantee you a job. They can’t even get you a job interview. By the end of your time there, you’re left with a giant debt.
Do you know what $100K spent on a college degree can buy you in the real world, not the fake world? A business, a great side hustle, conversations with experts, a bucketload of high-quality online courses.
Online courses are cheaper. The future is the internet.
“Follow your passion”
What does that even mean? What does passion look like?
Most have no clue, that’s why they spend a lifetime chasing their tail in circles looking for this elusive thing known as “passion.”
Forget passion. Conduct life experiments. Try new sh*t. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to dream. Work on a project after hours. Make TikTok videos about what you enjoy doing. Practice drums. Sing your heart out. See what sticks. See what you CBF doing.
Execution is a better guide than abstract passion.
“Treat it like it’s your own business”
If you hear this phrase, run a million miles. This is what manipulators use to lure you into the games that make them rich.
I once got a job at a bank in a new department. On day two the boss said “treat this department like your own business.” I got $1000 extra per year following his advice and working myself into the ground.
The other place you’ll hear this dumb advice is from MLM (Multilevel Marketing) pyramid scheme employees. If you’ve heard the phrase Amway or Herbalife then you know what I mean. These institutions hire employees on zero salary to sell their products with the promise of getting a cut.
Only the ones at the top of the pyramid take home the coveted prize of a Ferrari. The rest are vultures fighting over $2 scraps on the floor.
“Treat it like it’s your own business” equals it’s NOT your business.
Always aim to own what you do, not rent it.
As a newly married man, I can openly say this isn’t the right choice for everyone.
Marriage equals hard work.
An engagement ring and an overpriced wedding doesn’t produce happily-ever-after couples that create amazing romance novels.
Single, complicated, not interested, happy being together, not ready, don’t know, like to fool around — are all perfectly fine relationship statuses.
“Have a kid”
Children aren’t for everyone.
God knows the world doesn’t need more band-aid babies trying to fill the void in complicated relationships that are going nowhere, fast.
“Own a home”
Aka get into a boatload of debt.
Debt doesn’t make you happy. Debt creates more stress than you think. Some people should just rent for ages until they get back on their feet financially and have some savings.
Debt sounds great. Property investing is a miracle greater than baby Jesus.
… Except when a recession strikes and you’re left outside in the freezing cold with your undies around your legs because you took on too much debt and now the value of your property has fallen off a cliff.
Hard work isn’t enough.
You can be busting your ass, but doing the wrong thing.
Working smarter is being self-aware. It’s thinking deeply about what you’re doing with your life and checking in regularly. It’s about iterating and experimenting to find what work makes sense.
And it won’t be one type of work. That’s the lie the industrial age taught us.
We are likely to have multiple careers throughout life. So regular career change is the norm, not the exception.
“Don’t question your boss in a meeting”
Wrong. Those who challenge others create innovation.
The key is to challenge your boss respectfully with the right tone of voice. When I learned how, my entire career changed. I got unlikely promotions and made a lot more money.
It’s so uncommon, and what’s uncommon produces extraordinary results.
“Side hustles are stupid”
Goof off and watch Netflix then. See where that gets you.
Email your regrets to Santa Claus when you’re done and see if he will let you relive the time you wasted. (Joking — not really. Santa is real.)
“Become an influencer”
God damn. No way in the world.
Have you seen the lie these jokers live? It’s a nightmare.
Pretending to be someone you’re not. Influencing people to do god knows what. Living your life by a follower count that Twitter bros can nuke at a downtown San Fran office at any moment.
Half these influencers will be out-of-work actors in the next recession, auditioning for jobs as extras on the set of Ted Lasso.
Use social media, sure. But don’t let social media use you by worrying about vanity metrics. No one cares. (Literally no one.)
“Follow experienced people”
Often all they know is how to do the same skill — that takes one year to learn — and do it over and over every year and call it a career.
Experience is overrated.
“Think about how others respond”
Screw that. Creatives have so much fear. Whatever the worst-case scenario is you can think of, it’s total BS.
None of us have mind control powers. Who knows how people will respond. The current trigger culture of social media forces the nanny police, critics, and fact-checkers to blow up at every little thing.
Nothing you can do.
Best strategy I can give you is try to be positive and act respectful.
The best advice I accidentally found on my search
Comes from Stan Hayward on Quora:
‘Observe the mistakes that others make, and avoid them’, and ‘Observe how systems work, and exploit them.’