The Dangers You Face When You Follow The Wrong Advice

When you need advice, who do you go to?

When you have completed your project, whose feedback do you seek?

My parents always told me one thing, when you are in doubt, ask people so you don’t get stuck. I didn’t know whether they just told me this because I was bad at directions so I wouldn’t get lost, or if they actually meant I should always be asking for people’s opinion. Well, I took it a bit further and did the latter. I kept asking people what they think about almost everything I was doubting myself with. Soon, I built my life and work based on what they thought was right — not what I initially wanted.

Funny thing was, I didn’t realize it for almost fourteen years. There were two things I had done in my life which were purely my decision, when I took a computer science major and when I started my digital magazine — and that was my wake up call.

When I wanted to start a digital magazine, I was in doubt. I didn’t know much about digital media. I didn’t have any experience either. So I started to ask people and each one of them came up with pieces of advice. One came with a whole new theme, another told me how the logo should look like and so on. I was able to put up all of it together and the first mock-up was ready. What was it like? I was disappointed. It was nothing like what I initially planned it to be and when I gave the mock-up to the same people who gave the advice, they began criticizing it. They pointed out each and every flaw on the magazine.

I was disappointed and discouraged. But who could I blame? them? Wasn’t it I who asked for their opinions and acted on it? I sacrificed my dream magazine to match their opinions and expectations thinking my vision was trash and theirs would be the perfect one. Yet, whose dream was it? mine or theirs?

Does my story sound familiar? You are not alone. Like you, I have sacrificed many of my dreams just to appear perfect in front of them. Just so they know how much we respected them and valued them in our life. But who are we hurting? Ourselves. You may not yet witness the damage it has caused to you. Have you ever thought, what if you are right and they are wrong? Are you ready to live the rest of your lives regretting the chances you didn’t take?

There’s nothing wrong with seeking advice, but remember these few points:
  1. Seek advice from those who have walked your path. They know the journey, they have fallen over the same stones, they have taken the same wrong turns. They know.
  2. Seek advice from those who you want to be like. If you want to know more about the stock market, you should be looking for Warren Buffett, not your neighbor.
  3. Seek advice from yourself. Before you ask anyone else, give yourself some time and space to think over the situation or the project you have finished. What do you think about it? Allow yourself to step out from your shoes and emotions and ask yourself advice from the third person perspective.

At times we will find ourselves stuck on something that we do, be it in our work, college or daily life. From the simplest things or the most complicated ones. At those times, asking people we trusted for some advice may seem like a little light in the darkness. But, remember, they do not walk in your shoes. Whatever advice you get, always, listen to your heart first.

Featured Image via weheartit.

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