You Can't Listen to Everyone

06.03.11

"You have to choose the voice you are going to trust. You can't listen to everyone." ~ Alice Hoffman

My Mom showed me this quote recently and it really stuck with me. Sometimes I get caught up in following a piece of advice I've been given without even realizing that for me, it wasn't good advice at all. I'm not saying I have a tendency to follow bad advice, but the only person who can determine what path is best for me, is myself. So sometimes good advice, is also the wrong advice.

Every day we're given direction and advice from friends, teachers, church leaders, family, even random people we pass in Walmart. Some of the advice we're given is golden, and really hits home with us personally, other comments and instructions are really not meant for someone in our position, or just don't apply to us. When you're the type of person who is very open to advice and instruction from others it's important to analyze what you've been told before acting on it.

For example, I take regular Irish dance classes, and often the instructor will shout out "point your toes", or "straighten your arms". When she shouts these things to the whole class, it's hard to know if she means everyone, or just a few dancers in particular. At those times, I look in the mirror and often can see that my arms are as straight as they go, and my toes are already pointed. That's when I can either blindly listen to her advice and try to point my toes even harder, or think about it before acting on it. I didn't need the advice she gave to the whole class, so there was obviously no need for me to act to it.

Recognizing the wrong advice seems like a simple enough concept, but it becomes more complicated when it involves important life decisions. I can't tell you how many people have advised me to go to college and get a degree. Whenever I hear it, part of me wants to follow it, but in reality, it's very bad advice for me. My career goals would not be assisted in any way by a college education. I'm a self taught graphic designer with over 13 years of experience. I plan to put all my efforts towards creating a successful small business to sell my graphic design and photography. The amount of money required to get a degree would only hinder my efforts, as well as take away from valuable work time I need to grow my business. So even though getting a degree is very good advice, I should NOT listen to it.

Only you know your life goals, and only you know what sort of advice is right for you. I never want to be the type of person who blindly follows someone else down a path that I did not choose. Following advice is smart, just make sure it's the right advice for you.

Article written by Shelly Allen.
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TAGS: advice, Alice, bad, blindly, business, career, class, college, dance, degree, education, follow, goal, good, Hoffman, influence, instruction, Irish, life, listen, money, small, successful, take, teacher, Walmart

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