I am sure it will come as to no surprise to you. Especially, since you are reading this blog. Is it just me or do you see this to? The older I get, and yes, the wiser I am getting. I am learning that most of the things I was taught. Outside, the basic, basic shit. Like manners, respect, appreciation, love your mother, love your father, etc. Outside that stuff. The rest of shit we have learned was probably not very good advice.
I am finding that some of the smartest people I know, really gave a lot of bad advice to me along the way. They didn’t do it intentionally. It wasn’t their fault. That is all they knew as well. They thought they were doing me a favor when they passed their horse shit advice on to me. Many times the advice someone gives us, is the advice that they have been comfortable in receiving as well. Meaning, they aren’t going to tell you something they aren’t comfortable themselves doing.
My third grade teacher. I remember her name, but I am not going to blast them in this blog. I was a talker when I was a kid. I guess I still am, but I think I cared less when I was a kid than I do now. Which is sad, because that is where it started. When that teacher told me that being loud and talking to everyone is not a good quality to have. They actually punished me for it. Being friendly, and probably saying some crazy stuff at that time, I was punished for it.
And when you punish a kid for something too many times, then other people get involved and punish them as well. The principal, other teachers, counselors, and then lastly your parents, because they don’t want to listen to these teachers bitch about you.
The bad advice that my third teacher gave me, stunted me. It started me down a path, that I may have not gone down otherwise. It prevented me from being who I wanted to be. And ultimately changed who I was or who I was going to be. It made me insecure. Which is a horrible disease for a kid to have and it doesn’t get better as an adult.
Some other bad advice.
Play fair and be a good team member. Growing up, I played basketball. And a lot of it. I was a decent player and worked really hard with the athleticism and skills I was given and ultimately developed. When I was younger playing basketball, I was the best on the team, or one of the best. As I got older and moved into middle school and high school, the athletes got better and the game became more competitive.
Many of the coaches at that time was focused on me passing the ball, or finding the open man. Well, we all know that the person who does that is never celebrated as much as the person who can dunk the ball or shoot the hell out of the ball. But I conformed, and became more of a “setting other players up” to score kind of guy, and ultimately became a non-factor. In high school, they want athletes that can score, dunk, or make a difference, by this time, my skill set had evolved in to something that wasn’t flashy or amazing.
Again, the advice I was getting was from people who I thought knew better.
The next bad advice I got, is everyone needs a college education. Hey I get it, I agree with this premise for the most part. Where I disagree with this notion is that everyone needs a college degree. Is if you don’t know what the heck you want to be, don’t go to college and figure it out. Go to work and figure it out. College then, and especially now, is way too expensive to just go and figure it out.
What you really learn in college, is how to learn. Now you can learn how to learn on a job, or in college. One pays you to learn, the other one charges you. You tell me which one is better.
Get married and buy a house. My advice. Don’t do either one of these until you are at least thirty years of age. Lets start with the first one.
All I know is my experiences, so that is all I can talk about. Everyone I know, well, take that back. A large percentage of everyone I know that got married before age 25, were divorced before they were thirty. I don’t have a clue why this is, but from my observations and According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of divorce in America is thirty years of age. Which means you had to get married before age thirty. The statistics prove my theory on some level.
Buying a house. Again, don’t do it before you are at least thirty years of age, if ever. If ever, is another conversation for another day. Buying a house before age thirty is too risky. What I have watched is people that buy the houses are already in debt before they purchase the house. That is problem number one.
Then they buy the house, which consumes well over forty to fifty percent of their cash flow each month, so they became strapped and stressed out over money and in life. And no relief for many years. My guess is, that there is a correlation between the high divorce rate and purchasing a home before age thirty. I am by no means a finance expert. I am just speaking from my own personal experience and my experience watching others.
We have accumulated a lot of bad advice already, and I am just now getting to age thirty. Lets keep in mind, I am not quite forty yet either.
Quickly here are a few other doozies of bad advice given along the way.
- If you want to have a nice car, you will always have a car payment. Nope. That is bullshit. You can have a nice car and have it paid for, you just have to control your impulses.
- You have to find work that you love and you will never work a day in your life. This is a huge crock of shit. I love what I do, but I hate most of the stuff I have to do, to be able to do the part of my job I love to do. My guess is, you are in the same boat.
This is life. You don’t love to take out the trash, but you sure are happy that your house doesn’t smell like a landfill. You don’t love doing dishes, or putting dishes in the dishwasher, but you love reaching up into the cabinet and getting a nice clean glass or plate down. I don’t love working out, but I hope that it will continue to allow me to live and be active and healthy. Should I keep going?Again the chances of you loving most of what you have to do, is slim at best. You have to love the result. That is what should be taught.
- Dont set your goals too high. Ask any five to ten year old what they want to be when they grow up and most of them will say doctor, engineer, lawyer, astronaut, teacher, and now they may say an app creator, a founder of a startup, etc. And what happens, is most parents and most teachers, tell you to make sure you make good grades and do well in school, and this will prepare you for life and success. And we all know that this just isn’t case. Success in life comes from fulfilling ones purpose and bringing value to the marketplace.
Bill Gates brought a lot go value to the marketplace and was rewarded heavily for it. Anybody can do this. Sure school can help, but it isn’t the end all be all. And so instead parents and teachers and everyone else, tell you to have more realistic dreams. In school they should teach you how to become a great goal setter. Instead of doing the opposite and telling you that the only way to achieve your goals is through an education. Tell kids to set their goals high, and then equip them with a formula to achieve them. The goal itself is important, but what is more important is a formula for setting and then achieving goals. This can be taught as well.
- “Get a degree”. Instead of saying this everyone should be saying “Develop your skills” in something.
- Save for retirement. I mean this is not all bad advice. However, most people tend to say “save for retirement”, instead of saying “invest your money”. Remember, retirement isn’t an age. It is a financial number. Once you hit this dollar figure. You can retire. You have to figure out what that dollar figure is.
- Don’t work too hard and make work your life. This is information that is usually coming from someone who has different priorities, or hates their job. Bottom line, is it is bad advice. Don’t listen to them. You have to do what makes you happy and allows you to build the life you want to build.
I guess somewhere between age thirty and today, I have learned that most of the advice I have received was from a person who was giving me advice that they were most comfortable with. It isn’t that it was bad advice or wrong advice. Is was just all they knew. We just have to remember that when we seek advice and get advice, we are getting that person biases, baggage, experience, and lastly what they are most comfortable with.
Here is what we have to do. As we grow up, there is certain advice that we have to take and most of it is not going to kill us. However, we have to look at the results of the people who are giving us the advice and ask ourselves, “Would we be satisfied” with the results that person has gotten? If your answer is yes. Then go with it.
However, most of what happens in this world, everyone is, or most likely will do. Like many of the examples I mentioned above. If you are looking to be different and set yourself apart, without a doubt you will have to do something different than what everyone else is doing. When the crowd goes one way, what is in your best interest may be the other way.
So when it comes to taking advice, proceed with caution.
What is some of the bad advice you have received along the way? Please share in comments.
To your success and your future.
Source: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm