“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.” –Frank Crane
Everyone does it at some point in their lives. They seek out advice from a higher authority, someone who knows what the heck they’re doing, hoping to achieve their same level of success. Whether you’re simply trying to learn how to tie a tie(which I still can’t do) or trying to start a successful business, you’re going to be seeking help sooner or later.
And don’t think you’re a one of those amazing people who can learn to do everything themselves. Trust me, you’re not, unless of course your name is Clark Kent.
How I took advice
5 years ago when I was 15, I developed a big interest in fitness. Like many teenagers my age, I wanted to know how to gain muscle and get big and strong. I surfed the web for hours trying to look for the best way to reach this goal.
The problem at the time was that there was so much conflicting advice online. It was literally a verbal war between websites.
Since I was so young at the time, I really had no idea who to trust. Some sites told me that lifting weights would make me shrink (is that even possible?), while other sites told me that lifting weights will enhance my bone density and help me grow.
I truly didn’t know what to do, so I just chose a random decently reviewed workout and diet program.
I stuck with the program for 3 weeks before quitting. Why did I quit? Because I felt like I was missing something. I felt like I was messing up my body by neglecting all the other advice online.
This continued for the next 6 months or so, I alternated between different workout and diet programs every 3 weeks. Even though most programs were meant to last for multiple months, I had trouble putting my trust in 1 program. And due to this mistrust, I got little to no results.
I got incredibly frustrated, so in the end on the 6 months, I just decided to set a goal and stick with a program for 3 months. No matter what happened, I told myself that I would NEVER deter from the program and would just see what happens in 3 months.
And guess what, it worked. It really really worked. I gained a nice amount of muscle and was actually happy with my results.
I then learned that my success wasn’t because I chose that 1 specific program.
I succeeded because I decided to listen to someone and no one else.
How should you take advice?
So who should you listen to?
I only have 2 rules when it comes to taking advice from someone:
1) LISTEN TO ANYONE YOU WANT BUT MAKE SURE YOU ONLY LISTEN TO THEM AND NO ONE ELSE.
2) MAKE SURE THE PERSON HAS MORE EXPERIENCE THAN YOU.
That’s all. Seriously, I don’t care who you listen to as long as that person has more experience than you.
For example, if you’re trying to start a new business, you could either listen to your college business professor, your local deli shop owner, or you could hire a coach who charges $ 500 per hour. It really won’t make much of a difference unless the latter is a con artist.
However, what does make a difference is whether you put that advice into action.
You could literally spend 10 hours a day reading different websites on “how to build a business,” but none of that really matters if you don’t apply a single thing you learn.
Finding that “best” person
I can’t stress this enough. There really is no “best” person. Taking advice from someone who says that they know everything and have the “secrets” to success is typically just really really good salesman.
Sure there are people who give better advice than others, but you’re never going to make progress if you spend all your time searching for that “best” person.
The truth is, most of the advice being given to people isn’t half bad, in fact, most of it’s pretty decent. The problem is that people don’t put their trust in the advice.
Please don’t be that person who constantly jumps from 1 product to the next just because that new product supposedly better.
So if you want to lose weight, I don’t want you to jump from a yoga program to another program that combines salsa dancing with mixed martial arts moves.
I’m not saying that yoga sucks, I’m just trying to make a point that it’s not going to make or break your success.
Just give yoga a chance. Try it out for 3 months or so before you conclude that it sucks and doesn’t work. That’s all I’m asking.
So the next time you need help with something, only take advice from 1 person. Don’t complicate this stuff.
Getting a second opinion is fine, just don’t let it conflict with your goals.
Keith Lai is the author of the fitness blog FitMole.com where he talks about his simple and flexible approach to all things fitness. He also has a big mole on his face. You can keep up with him on Twitter and Facebook here and here.
Art Credit: Roy Lichtenstein
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