Stop Asking for Advice

PUBLISHED ON APR 13, 2022 : 401 words, 2 minute read — CAREER

Stop asking for advice.

Stop asking for advice - especially if you won’t use it.

90% of advice asked for ends up being productive procrastination - it feels like progress but doesn’t actually change anything. You’re not really asking for advice, you’re asking for:

  • validation that your idea isn’t stupid
  • Permission from someone with experience that you’re on the right path
  • The perfect next step to reach your goal

The list goes on. In very few situations will a person give you what you seek, so you keep searching. Asking around feels useful, but if you don’t act on it, you’re just wasting the time of someone you respect.

⚠️ If what you are really asking is ‘is my idea stupid’, “good” advice might dissuade you from ever trying. Lots of ideas sound stupid before the world steps in with a surprise:

  • “I’ll chug wine and cook poorly, then post a video of it on the internet” → My Drunk Kitchen had millions of subscribers & hundreds of millions of views.
  • “I will put water in a can, then pretend it’s beer and make it expensive” → Liquid Death, valued at >$500 MILLION in Jan 2022 .*

You got advice. Can you trust it?

Even if you get advice that seems relevant and you can act on, can you really trust it? If you ask someone for advice, they’ll almost always give you something. Rarely will people decline the opportunity to share their opinion. With that in mind, attempt to audit it.

  • Did my question really capture what I need to learn?
  • Advice comes from personal experiences, how relevant is their journey to yours?
  • Did they take the time to understand the nuances of your situation, or just regurgitate the first thing from their mind?

The most dangerous advice will seem good, but send you in the wrong direction. Be careful out there.

The advice we don’t want to hear

Instead of asking for advice, just “grab a shitty rod and start fishing” . Taking action is often the easiest way to invalidate whatever questions you had and bring out a whole host of new ones. Easy to say, much harder to do. “Change” is a scary word and makes taking the first step difficult, so reframe it as an experiment . Give it a shot, and if it goes poorly, it doesn’t matter - it was just an experiment 🧪😉.


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