Why Following Advice is a Terrible, Terrible Idea

Every so often, people will tell me about the joys of fatherhood.

Which I can totally understand: if you’re a parent, you live a formidable and hopefully highly rewarding task.

And, I like kids, a lot.

I find it fascinating to observe them, and try to imagine how they perceive the world.

What goes on behind those shiny eyes, filled with wonderment?

And yet, being a parent is not for me.

Bunch of reasons combined, too much to go into here, but suffice it to say that it’s not what I’m for.

And yet, some people will try to convince me, persuade me.

That I’d be such a great dad, that I can’t imagine how fulfilling and beautiful it is.

And I know, that’s true.

But nope, not for me, and I’m happy with that.

Same thing with relationships.

I haven’t got one, and I’m really rather happy that way.

Of course there are times when I am with a woman, sometimes for months or even years, but right now?

Solitary Martin, very happy Martin.

But some people, they can’t understand that.

They’ll try to persuade me, influence me, tell me that unless you have a partner, your life isn’t complete.

For me, it doesn’t work that way.

Being celibate for 12 years (well, *cough*, 6 years and 6 years, he said blushingly) has changed me, and has shown me I can be perfectly content on my own.

Sure, that’s not something everyone can understand or relate to.

But why does that mean I should be fed advice, and made to act on it, go looking for a girlfriend?

It doesn’t, and what’s more:

I believe that following advice is a really bad idea.

Here’s why:

When you follow advice, you put someone else on a pedestal – you give them the ‘know more’ position.

And sure, some people do know more than you or I do.

But when we change the dynamics and allow another person to influence what we do, we make ourselves inferior.

And that means we’re not making our own choices – instead, we’re letting someone else make a choice for us.

“Trust me, this advice is what you need”.

Right, yes.

I don’t believe things should work that way.

The only advice we should follow is the advice *we choose to follow*.

After deliberation, consideration, and after waiting long enough for us to say:

“You know what? I’ve thought about it, and this makes perfect sense. I’m going to do that, because I want to”.

That way, you empower yourself, but without closing yourself off to other people.

Advice should be chosen, not followed.

It’s the only way to take full responsibility for your choices and your actions.

And that responsibility, the ownership of what you do in life, that’s crucial if you want to succeed in building something big and beautiful.

This is why, when coaching people, I always avoid giving advice.

At most, I’ll say something like: “Well what if you would ABC?” or “You could consider XYX, if you want”.

So this advice, to choose advice instead of follow it… should you follow that?

Absolutely not.

But you might want to think about it.

If it makes sense, then choose it.

If it doesn’t just discard it.

It’s your life, you get to choose.

And I sincerely hope you make you choices deliberately and from your own volition.

Cheers,

Martin


Also published on Medium.

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