There’s an old saying that everything we hear is opinion and perspective. It’s up to us to create the truths we live by. But too often, we blindly take the advice of people we admire, to the point where we won’t make room for outside advice.
In personal development, it is easy to latch onto the books, videos, etc. of one person, and take their every word as gospel. The downside of that is that when we look up to only one person, we tend to block the lessons of those who think differently. When other people, even those who are intelligent, wealthy, healthy, etc. say something that contradicts our primary mentor, we often assume that those people are wrong. Especially when the primary mentor is more successful than them.
In other words, we could be trying to do exactly what our favorite business mentor does, and fail miserably. Meanwhile, someone else is ready to show us an alternative that fits our budget, time, etc., and we’ll ignore it because we’re too busy doing what we’ve always been doing, and getting what we’ve always been getting.
For example, most of us have a goal of being wealthy. Many of us have brought into the belief that wealthy people are supposed to buy the most expensive version of everything. We’re supposed to live in a castle and have a car museum in our garage. In fact, we sometimes judge non-wealthy people who don’t do these things. While there are definitely a lot of millionaires and billionaires who live that way, there are quite a few who live more minimally.
I’m just curious, did you know that Warren Buffett does not own a yacht, mansion, smartphone, or a computer? He does own a single car and a Nokia flip phone, and he lives in a 5-bedroom home he brought for $31,00 in 1958. David Cheriton, worth $4 billion, dislikes the idea of luxurious living and believes there is something wrong with people who live that way. He took one vacation — windsurfing in Maui — from his job as a professor, and felt spoiled and upset. Randy Gage, who is proudly materialistic, made a video comparing that habit to minimalism, using a man who gave away most of his possessions and lives out of a backpack as an example. According to Randy, that man is prosperous because he is happy with his life.
T. Harv Eker, author of The Secrets of a Millionaire Mind, has a clever saying in his book and seminars. He says “don’t believe a word I say.” His reasoning is that he can only speak from his own experience and those of his clients and circle, and certain lessons won’t work for all 7 billion+ people in the world. He even advises people to keep doing what works, and throw out what doesn’t.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all kept those two lessons in mind when listening to others?
A colleague and I were discussing the true definition of research. We agreed that most people don’t actually do any research; they just look at a single source and accept it as truth. In reality, they need to re-search in multiple sources.
Likewise, we need to re-search the advice we get from others. Why take one book’s advice on honing your craft when your library has countless more books with infinite lessons for you to study, which contradict what doesn’t work for you? Why listen to your naysaying best friend when you can listen to the tapes of successful people who have achieved the “impossible”? Why take relationship advice from your bitter, divorced relative when you can read the countless books written by couples who have been happily married for years?
Make a nice day!