3 Things to Remember Before Taking Advice
There is an abundance of advice out there and even more people willing to dispense it. If you’re just starting out in a certain field, you’re probably actively seeking advice and eagerly drinking it all in. However, you might want to keep a few things in mind before following in the footsteps of those who came before you.
1. Never take advice from those who have no experience or are less successful than you are or want to be.
There is a significant difference between advice and opinion. People who love you and support you don’t want to see you hurt but if they have no experience in the journey you are about to embark on, what they are giving you is merely opinion, and not advice. Make sure you seek advice from those who are already in the field you want to be in. More importantly though, make sure these people have careers you’d like to emulate and don’t mere have experience in the field.
For example, say you’re an aspiring actor. You’re deciding between moving out to LA now, or staying put wherever you’re at and getting some experience and material for a showreel before moving out there. Don’t take advice from just any fellow actor. Seek out someone who has the career or is at least on the career path that you want to be on. If you want to be a Hollywood movie star, starring in box office blockbusters, don’t take advice from someone who only has local community theater experience and has never even attempted Hollywood. Find someone who is already working in Hollywood, and find out what they did to get there. That’s the person you should be listening to.
2. There is a difference between experience and success.
These two often get confused. You can have enormous experience without any real success and you can be very successful without very much experience. Going back to the actor example. Someone who has been a struggling actor for 20 years with nothing notable under their belt despite their efforts has a lot of experience but is perhaps, not very successful. If starring in a Hollywood blockbuster is your aim, this is someone who wouldn’t be able to give you the advice you need. The person you should be listening to, is the actor that has reached the goal you’re aspiring to, regardless of how long they’ve been in the industry.
Another thing to take note of, technology has changed much of how the world works now. The way we communicate has changed more in the past 10-15 years than ever before in history. Regardless of what industry you’re in, digital technology has touched and changed it in one way or another.
3. Never fear reaching out – what’s the worst that can happen?
Whatever your industry, the Internet is your best friend. Digital and social media technology has brought everyone closer and made us more accessible to each other. Use it to your advantage!
Back to you being an aspiring actor. Identify a fellow actor whose career path you aspire towards. Find them on the world wide web. Be it through social media or through their website, there will be a way to contact them. Then reach out! Send them an email or a tweet or whatever it be and ask them for that advice you’re seeking. What is the worst that can happen? They ignore you. Then you’re right back at where you started. You don’t lose anything. But imagine if they reply! You have everything to gain!
A lot of people like to believe that they are experts in everything and are willing to give you advice on things they don’t understand anything about. It’s human nature. So just be weary. Don’t ask someone who doesn’t own a home about becoming a property millionaire, don’t ask a high school drop out about which graduate degree to take, don’t ask someone who has never owned a pet about adopting a dog and so on. If you are looking for advice, you are vulnerable. So be careful what advice you expose yourself to because it has the potential to change your outlook which ultimately, could make or break you.
(PS: No disrespect to all the actors out there! I have plenty of actor friends and I know that there is a difference between being a working actor, acting as a hobby and being a Hollywood star. Everyone has different motivations. The example was just that – an example.)