This week I’ll attempt to articulate something I’ve been thinking about lately. It will probably be a poor attempt. Let’s see how it goes.
I believe people give too much weight to advice from people that they consider successful.
Just because someone’s business makes a bunch of money (assuming that’s what you see as success), it does not mean everything they say is amazing. Or even good.
Sure, listening to their business advice is probably better than listening to business advice drunkenly shouted by your great uncle in law at the family gathering. Some bad advice is obvious.
But when you hold successful people’s advice in such high regard, two things can happen:
- You follow crap advice
- You can discount advice from others that is actually solid
Learning from ‘successful’ people suffers from survivorship bias - meaning that just because they made it though all the setbacks, roadblocks and disasters, it doesn’t mean they were any better than the 100 others who didn’t make it.
A friend who runs a very successful company by most standards has been a week from missing payroll and having to shut down… several times. With a stroke of luck and some hard work, they got enough cash to get through.
How many others didn’t get that stroke of luck and had to start again?
I’m sure some of them are geniuses and can still offer amazing advice.
On the flip side of this I’ve noticed some people get more confident as they get more successful, and begin throwing out absolute drivel as if it is gospel.
And some people eat it up. The idea of people following bad advice & wasting so much time kinda makes me sad.
There isn’t an easy one. You just need to apply some kind of filter to everything you read.
That filter shouldn’t be how successful the person is - it should be based on intuition and critical thinking. Explore the idea yourself. Do some research. See if others are writing about the same thing.
On the extreme end of non-filtering, you end up believing 5G causes COVID. On the extreme end of filtering, you end up a cranky old man skeptical of everything, like me.
The sweet spot must be in the middle somewhere.