Don’t listen to anyone. Ever. Because no matter what they say, they are always going to be right because you believe them.
How so? Let’s think about this for a minute. There are people, right now, in the world, that are making money by telling other people, no, strangers, that they are or, more often, are not good at something. We actually pay and want people to pass judgment on us. I mean, Simon Cowell has millions of dollars right now because he was rude to a couple people. Well, accurately rude, rightly rude. But yes, rude.
And you have to wonder, as he is looking up at his gold ceiling, lying on his revolving heart-shaped bed at night, does he ever feel bad about it?
The answer is undoubtedly no. He’s mean, and he gets rich because of it. Simple equation even for a non-math major here.
But let’s imagine a quick little scenario. You’ve been singing your entire life. I mean, since the time that you could hold a microphone. You grow up, learn to play guitar, and moonlight as a solo act in a few bars in your hometown. You’ve got stars in your eyes when you finally get an opportunity to sing in front of the American Idol panel. And then some British guy with a bad haircut says that you’re rubbish and that you shouldn’t quit your day job. And that’s it. POOF. There goes any chance that you’d actually continue singing because there it is. One of the most popular talent coaches in Hollywood just told you that you can’t sing. And of course, if you do sing again, all of the pigeons in NYC will burst in a puff of feathers a la Shrek.
Except that isn’t the conclusion you should come to at all. Simon Cowell can afford to be mean. But you? You can’t afford to give up your dream, the one you’ve had since you were a child.
So, what are you supposed to do? Well, you shouldn’t listen to Simon Cowell, for one thing, but, then again, you should never listen to anyone. Once you hear their side of things, suddenly they’re right and you’re wrong. You can make people right just by following their advice, by assuming that they know something that you don’t. But sometimes they aren’t right. Actually, people are wrong a lot. And mostly, they aren’t right about you because, well, you’re the only person who is you. And you know you best. I know, mind blowing.
Yet, people are still told everyday that they can’t do something by someone else, and they believe them. It makes me want to add a footnote to every millionaire’s net worth explaining how many times they doubted themselves or were rejected by the “right” people (who turned out to be the wrong people because look where they are now). The amount of times they failed would outpace their fortune ten times over. I think it is so interesting that people forget and forget and forget how many times J.K. Rowling sent the HP manuscript out or how Stephen King would spear rejection letter after rejection letter on one of those short-order cook nails. Do you honestly realize how many people were told they couldn’t do something time and time again and did it anyway? If anyone was stopped from doing something simply due to the fact that it “could not be done,” we would have nothing to show for modern civilization. I sincerely want to shake really angry, loud maracas at anyone who has ever believed that you can get something right on the first try. So loud would my maracas shake that I could drown everyone’s fear of failure and that little critic’s voice in our heads.
So, in the end, don’t listen to anyone. Not even me. In the end, I should be like a car passing you with my speakers blaring bad 90’s rap. You hear my mix tape (full of Notorious B.I.G.) really clearly when I am directly in front of you, but when I start to speed on down the road, I start to fade. That is how you should perceive all advice. It’s clear and direct in the moment, but what does it sound like down the road? Maybe it doesn’t apply so far ahead in the future.
That’s where you come in. You start to make decisions for yourself. And you don’t have your ear pressed to the highway, waiting for someone to ride along and tell you what you should do and think. All advice eventually runs out of gas. And when it does, you’ll have to pick up the slack with good, old fashioned intuition when you turn your ignition.