Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

July 13, 2012

6 Reasons Why Most Advice You Hear Is Useless.

If you think you don’t know what you’re doing it is easy to fall into the trap of listening to what other people have to say. Smart people. Experienced people. People with strong opinions.

Getting advice can seem like a confusing topic.  On the one hand, it is wise to reach out to experienced people who’ve been in your situation before.  It’s smart to get advice and ask for help.  On the other hand, when you think you don’t know what you’re doing advice from others can be the worst thing you need.

Here is why:

  1. Their advice is misleading or flat out wrong. — Just because someone has an advanced college degree doesn’t mean that everything they say is accurate. It doesn’t even mean that well-intentioned advice is right. Sometimes common sense is dead wrong. By the way, statistics can tell a few different stories. A lot of the times, what looks to be a pattern is just a mirage.
  2. Their advice is outdated and doesn’t work for you right now. — Times change. Strategies change. Tactics change. You’ll often hear wise old man tell you how you should do it the way they did it. And while some strategies are never outdated, like hard work and honesty, most everything else evolves so much over the years that it hardly looks like what it used to be.
  3. Their advice is incomplete. — Half of the picture isn’t all that helpful. Getting part of the solution might seem like a good idea at first until you are unable to finish what you started. All too often, good ideas die because no one thought through the entire process. Sadly, you usually only learn this after you’ve failed a few times.
  4. Their advice is emotional and can’t be practically implemented. — Just because you have a rallying cry doesn’t mean that you have the weapons to go to war and win. Being loud and obnoxious isn’t all that useful unless you are in broadcast journalism. Things that sound like good ideas are often just anecdotes meant for effect. Not for getting things done.
  5. Their advice is based on your flawed explanation. — A remedy is only as good as the symptoms that you describe. Sometimes the advice you are given is helpful if you are describing the right problem.  But you’re not. And so you begin executing based on a flawed premise. Regardless of how you got there, you’re in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing.
  6. Their advice is “forgettable and naïve”. — Sometimes successful people forget how hard it was to get there the first place. They can tell you five or six things that seemed to work, but often forget to mention how much effort it required to make those things work. What you hear is “this works” when you should be hearing  “this works if you do it long enough and hard enough”.

Forget about what you’ve been told. Forget about dialing up that mentor. Stop paying for coaches, advisers, therapists, and witch doctors.

Take ownership of your life.

Be bold enough to do what is hard and uncomfortable. Don’t be stupid enough to think that just because someone is older than you or has more money that their advice is worth your time and attention.

Think for yourself. Learn from your experiences. Dream big dreams.

Dare to try something new. And when you do hit a wall or make a mistake, don’t blame anyone else.

It’s your destiny. Stop asking everyone else what you should do.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.