Good Advice

Think of a friend or a family member you’d love to give advice to (if they would only listen).

What would you say? What would you recommend them to do with the problems and dreams they have? What would you do in their shoes?

On the face of things, solutions to problems become obvious with a detached and/or outside perspective.

It’s easy to desire to lose weight or gain muscle, but it’s a different experience to feel every that comes with being overweight or scrawny.

When we are dealing with our own things, we’re so caught up in the mud we don’t give ourselves the space to discover solutions. Instead of taking time to step out of our normal environment, we loop into a cycle of reacting.

Reacting to the next thing instead of addressing the underlying problem.

A funny thing happens when I start going down the list of habits and todos if I were putting myself in so-and-so shoes—

A lot of them are things I need (and wish I was doing) myself. But where I deem someone else as lazy, I give myself a hundred reasons and excuses why I’m not doing what I want/know/wish I was doing.

Convince and influence others with your actions, not your words.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1165

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Advice vs. Criticism vs. Critiques

“The best advice comes from people who don’t give advice.” — Matthew McConaughey

Advice is what you get from people who you know andor admire. It’s something you ask for or it’s built into the DNA of y’all’s relationship. Candor and honesty are words that come to mind. Advice comes from an inner place of wanting to see the other person succeed and be happy.

+Criticism can sometimes be from people who you know, but it usually comes without you asking. It lives in the same apartment as negativity and complaining. It could be incredible advice—perhaps the best advice you’ve ever heard—but it usually comes from an inner place of fear and worry. Combine that with the fact you didn’t ask for it, you likely want to listen to it because of how it’s being given. And if you do listen to criticism and it turns out to be not true, it can be easy to jump to anger and resentment.

Criticism can also come from people we don’t know and don’t admire—this type of advice should be quickly ignored and discarded.

+Critique is advice you receive from your colleagues and peers. If you’ve taken an art class of some kind, then you’re likely all too familiar with critiques of your work. Another word we use is feedback. Having good clean feedback from people who are playing the game (or who have hands-on experience with the game) can help you improve and create better work. Critiques come from a place of mutually desired growth.

There can also be critics who judge your work by their own personal perspectives and standards. Sometimes critic feedback can be good, sometimes it can burn. There’s a lot of variables, so use your best judgment on what advice/feedback you deem worth listening to.

Which goes with advice, criticism, and critiques. Good advice should make you pause and consider yourself and your options. At the end of the day, you are the one that gets to decide what actions to take.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1071

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Advice Mired in Fear Vs. Advice Rising From Love

There’s advice and then there’s “advice.” (Note the quotation and the italics.)

The two separate pieces of advice might be equal sound. But the problem is advice is coming from different places— one from a place of love and “advice” is coming from a place of fear.

“You shouldn’t take that job because it doesn’t pay enough.” Is different from “You shouldn’t take that job because you are worth 5x more than what they are offering.” Can you tell which one is coming from love and which from fear?

It’s really all about the packaging. Packaging and presentation make all the difference. I could give you the same birthday gift but wrap it in a garbage bag or wrap it in thick clean paper and tie it with twine in a nice bow and you’ll feel the difference.

There’s a book called Words that Work, that has a great subtitle: “It’s not what you say, It’s What People Hear.” I haven’t read the book, only that title. But I completely agree with the subtitle.

I could give you the best damn advice in the world—advice so good that it would light your ears on fire—but it wouldn’t mean a hill of beans if I said it with criticism and fear. You would likely listen, say “okay Josh” and then throw it in your new garbage bag gift wrapping and leave it on the side of the road for the next trash pickup.

I can think of many mistakes that I’ve made (you know, 20/20 and all that jazz) and advice I was given but didn’t take because of the way it was given.

It’s hard to override this. I’m not even sure we should override it most of the time. But perhaps if advice is coming from someone we know or even someone we admire then despite the packaging, maybe we should try to take a moment and listen objectively.

I have found it helpful to identify where a piece of advice is coming from. “Is this advice that I’m getting coming from a place of fear or love? Is this person saying this because he or she has personally experienced this too or are they saying this—subconsciously or not—out of envy or embarrassment or failure or conformity?”

The worst kind of advice is advice we didn’t ask for from people we don’t know. This type of advice should be thrown in a dumpster fire. This is different from the advice we receive from people we know or admire or advice we seek out. For example, consider all the content you consume—podcasts, articles, books, videos—whether you are looking for it or not, sometimes little tofu nuggets of insights will pop out at you. The other day I was listening to a podcast with Jason Fried and he said something that I wish I had learned five years ago, it was something along the lines of “You can’t make a sandwich out of equity.” Meaning, its good to work somewhere and have a stake (equity) in the company but it’s also important that they are paying you enough for what you need to live. You can’t eat a sandwich made out of equity. Brilliant! I wish I had learned that sooner!

So advice is good. Seek out insights like they are your full-time job. But be wary of advice that comes from fear. Even if it’s good advice, going with your intuition instead is usually a better choice.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1063

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Be a Class Act

“An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person’s main task in life – becoming a better person.”

Leo Tolstoy

Some hard lessons must be learned on your own. Telling me to avoid bad clients, for example, is great advice but difficult to follow until I’ve felt the personal sting of working for a bad egg.

A bad client is a bad client. No amount of money is worth the time and frustration spent dealing with someone who will never be satisfied with your work—not even if it was blessed by the pope and lightly kissed by Ryan Gosling.

Eventually they will turn against you. Again, it’s hard to know that until you felt it.

The same is true for a lot of things that can happen to us— broken bones, lost love, failed classes, empty pockets, nights on the bathroom floor, fights with strangers and flights with people we love, etc. Everything we experience—good or bad—is a chance to learn and improve ourselves.

There are lessons in every problem and misfortune— we just have to be willing to hear them.

Painful lessons are not meant to close us off and harden us from ourselves and others—they aren’t meant to open us up to better ways of living.

It takes a lot of courage to do that.

And it’s still worth giving advice when asked because even if it’s not listened to now, it will inevitably be remembered and (ideally) reinforced later.

Not all advice is created equal, of course. It does matter who is giving it. Not everyone you meet will have your back. When the challenges come, you’ll find out quickly who your true friends are. (\Another hard lesson worth learning.)

Sometimes we are too close to someone for them to give us advice that we’d actually listen too.

Sometimes we might have to detach the advice from the person saying it because they don’t live it themselves, but it still could be a good insight (a lesson they learned the hard way but never found the strength to recover from). This type of advice is worth considering (with a little salt 🧂).

Some pieces of “advice” are just broken rules waited to be tested and improved.

No matter what advice we may receive, it’s still up to us to act on it. Good advice is useless if it’s not taken. Pause and think things through. What kind of life do you want? What kind of person do you want to be?

Remember— “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”Epictetus

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #932

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Shakespearean-Yoda Advice

“If the CEO does not follow the cultural norms of the company then the cultural norms won’t happen.”

Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, from the Distributed Podcast

Why do we take the advice of some, but dismiss the advice of others?

The tone matters, of course. If someone is giving me advice and their tone says “you’re dumb, why are you (not) doing XYZ…”, I’m likely not going to take them up on it. The same is true if the advice is unsolicited or un-actionable. Even if the advice is sound, if all I’m getting is negative criticism I’m not going to listen.

I think the biggest contributing factor in whether or not advice is taken is if the advice giver has or is living out what they are saying. In essence —

Is this person following their own advice or not?

If not, then proceed to throw it in the trash.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen someone close gives great advice (to me or people around me), but because they don’t eat their own dog food, so it’s not taken. And then, you hear the exact same advice from someone who lives it out— typically someone in the public sphere, an Author, YouTuber, Entrepreneur… — and suddenly the advice is the best idea you’ve ever heard.

The same holds true to giving advice. If you want to be able to help others and give advice that’s taken, you’ve got to listen and act on your own advice. “You should put 20% of your monthly income into an investment fund, like a ROTH IRA or Index fund” “You should spend your time more wisely” “You should focus on email marketing to gain more sales” Okay. Cool. Are you doing it yourself? If not, then you better start.

Follow your own recommendations

The same holds true in art and work.
Talking about doing something is not the same as doing it.

As much as I love coming up with ideas, if they are never executed, then they don’t matter.
Impressing people and inspiring people are two completely different things.

If you want to be creative, find your true fans and make a living doing it, you’ve got to create.

To take it back to middle school english class (I still suck at grammar):

’Creative’ is a noun.
‘Create’ is a verb.

To be a creative, you must create.

And share it with the world.

As Author Jeff Goins discovered on his journey of becoming a writer, “You are a writer. You just need to write”.

To be, you must do. (Wow, so Shakespearean-Yoda of you Josh)

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #612

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Related:

The phrase, “Eating Your Own Dog Food”