A lot of people try to help us. They give us their opinion (or criticism) and call it advice. No matter we never asked for it. Even if we did, their advice is often wrong. It’s not that they hate us and want to screw up our lives on purpose.
They just aren’t us and so can’t know what’s truly right for us. That’s why following their advice can sometimes lead us down the wrong path.
Had I taken these pieces of well-meant advice, my life would have turned out very differently (and not for the better):
1. Don’t Make Life-Altering Choices On Your Own
I get it, life-altering choices, like moving to another country or completely changing your career, have a huge impact on, well, everything. So, it is a good idea to ask for advice, especially to people who have gone through the same thing.
But, often, we’re told that we should listen to our parents/teachers/experts because they know better and take their advice even when we know, deep down, that it’s the wrong thing for us and it will make us miserable.
Pretty much everyone, but my mom, was against me moving to London, for example. For most Italians, living far away from their families is simply unthinkable. But, I knew I had to come here. So, I talked it through with everyone, but, in the end, I made the choice.
Because, people mean well, but no one knows better than you what you need. Trust your gut. It’s never wrong.
2. Don’t turn your hobby into a job
“You can’t make money writing. And your writing isn’t that good, anyway.” If I had a penny every time someone said this to me, I’d be stinking rich.
Common sense wants you to take a crappy job you don’t like so you can dedicate those few hours of free time it leaves you to a hobby you love (if you’re not too tired for it). This never made any sense to me.
We spend one third of our lives working. Why would I want to be miserable for all that time? Especially, when I can get paid to do what I love and would do for free whenever I have the chance?
I’m not saying that turning your hobby into a job is easy. It SO isn’t. But, life’s way too short not to give it your best shot.
3. Get a 9 to 5 job
Turning your passion into a job takes a lot of time and work, so getting a regular, sensible job that pays the bills in the meantime can be helpful. But, I’d rather not take a 9 to 5 unless I absolutely have to. I’m just not made for it.
I hate being told what to do. I hate working on stuff I don’t fully believe in and am not passionate about. I hate having to go to an office and have a fixed schedule. I hate spending time with people I don’t like and would never associate with if we weren’t forced to work together.
As a freelancer, I don’t have to do any of those things. And, I’m much more happy as a result.
4. Adapt to society
The majority of people seem to believe that society is always right, and so suppress their individuality to conform to its rules. I could never do it. I was always the odd one out questioning the way things are done and insisting on doing them my way.
It made my life a lot harder. I was bullied as a child, and even family (apart from my awesome mom) often thought there was something wrong with me. I was told so many times to “stop being so bloody weird, or what would people think?”
Who cares? Society and its silly dictates have fucked up so many lives, mine included. Everyone becomes so afraid of standing out, they all end up doing the same things, like getting a sensible soul-sucking job or staying in the wrong relationship too long, rather than what makes truly happy.
The worst part? Those people you are trying to impress don’t give a crap about you. Just be yourself and follow your own path. Those who matter will follow you.
5. Be Everywhere
As a blogger, I’m often told I need to be everywhere. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Youtube. Snapchat. Periscope. Google+… There seems to be something new every week I must absolutely check out.
While there is something to be said for starting to use a new platform early, it’s just too much work for just one person to be everywhere. I think that it’s much better to choose one or two platforms – those where your readers hang out the most – and be very active on them.
For me, that means Pinterest and Twitter, which is lucky, because they’re the two I enjoy the most abd would use even if I weren’t a blogger. By focusing on them, I can provide people with better content and build a strong and loyal community, which is the whole point, really.
What advice are you glad you didn’t take?