On the journey to becoming successful, you will likely receive a lot of opinions about the best path to take. But how can you tell the difference between good and bad success advice? It’s an important question to ask, because it’s easy to be misled if you’re not guided by reliable sources.
Here are five questions you should ask whenever you receive advice about life and success:
1. Who is giving the advice?
Perhaps the most important question to ask when you receive advice is: “What is the background and track record of the person speaking to me?” Sometimes people have the attitude of “do as I say, not as I do”, i.e., they don’t even follow their own advice.
When picking a mentor, you should look for someone who has actually followed the course of action they recommend to others, and has experienced good results. Too often, people who say one thing while doing another, have ulterior motives and may just be trying to make a quick profit.
It’s also worth asking if the person giving the advice has ever done anything close to what you’re trying to do. People can have good intentions, but sometimes they will provide misleading information or unknowingly discourage you just because they have no experience in that area themselves. The most reliable advice comes from those who have achieved verifiable results and have documented the process to show others how it can be done.
“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde
2. Does it encompass every aspect of life?
Advice that can truly make you successful touches every aspect of life, not just finances. Good advice encourages a holistic approach to personal development, and aims to make you a better person, inside and out. For example, any advice that involves compromising your health in order to work more and make more money, is fundamentally flawed. How can you enjoy the fruits of your labour if you’re sick and exhausted?
You’ll feel more fulfilled in life when your success involves loving and helping others. As you strive to become financially stable and get your dream job, you should also strive to improve your relationships with others, and develop close bonds with your family and friends. If someone tells you that you should abandon everything to focus on yourself 24/7, that’s a glaring indication of bad advice.
3. Does it push me outside of my comfort zone?
There are some popular phrases just as “you are perfect the way you are”, and “if it’s for you, it’ll come to you” that have sadly been misleading millions of people. You’ll hurt your progress if you think that everything will automatically fall into place, without any input on your part.
You have to put the work in. That’s the reality of life. When you talk to successful business people, you’ll hear stories of inspiring dedication and how they often poured blood, sweat, and tears into their business before it took off. Success is not handed to you on a silver platter. You’ll have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to reach or maintain good results.
To reach your goals, you’ll have to break down barriers and build human capital. For example, if you’re a naturally shy person, you might need to learn public speaking in order to connect with potential business partners. If you want to start a website, you might need to learn how to code, or spend countless hours studying online marketing.
Abundant knowledge is there for the taking, but you still have to reach out for it. Good advice is not always what you want to hear, but it will help you reach your full potential.
4. Are other people successfully following this advice?
Now it’s time to find case studies. You will need to do your research and find other people who have followed and benefited from the advice you’ve received. After all, if it works, there will be other successful examples.
When you find others who are also following the advice, it can be very reassuring. It helps you to see that your dream can be a reality, because it has become a reality for many other people. This can also be an encouraging reminder on those days where progress is slow and you might be feeling lost. You may also be able to get support and additional tips when you speak with individuals who have already accomplished what you’re trying to do.
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
5. Does it work in the long-term?
Imagine the future: five, ten, twenty years from now. Will the advice you’re receiving work then, or is it short-sighted? Of course, advice related to specific technology and tactical strategies is designed for immediate application. But there’s also evergreen advice – advice that worked for your grandparents, and will work for your grandchildren.
Take, for example, the concepts of saving instead of spending all your money, and diversifying risk instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. This type of advice never gets outdated because they’re based on timeless principles.
Any advice that’s supposed to be followed indefinitely, should really work indefinitely. So whenever you receive advice, you should consider whether it’s based on impulse and desperation, or whether it will truly stand the test of time.
By examining a range of factors, you can strengthen your perception and make decisions based on solid advice. Even if you don’t have much experience, you can use the above criteria to analyze the advice you receive in life. As you do your research, you’ll be able to stay clear of false information, while taking advantage of wise words that can guide you on the path to success.