Ever went to an “expert” or a person in a position of authority for advice on something and walked away shaking your head wondering why you bothered in the first place?
Conflicting Advice With Your Personal Framework
A friend of mine (pursuing a master’s in education & deeply invested on providing culturally-rich education to Latino youth) recently posted on his Facebook the advice professors had given him –
My friend’s summary of professors advice: “Knowing who your students are and where they come from doesn’t matter – and that their history / language / culture is irrelevant.”
All advice ain’t good advice.
This advice just does not fit with my friend’s educational framework.
How should he proceed though given that this information came from multiple professors? Does this mean my friend’s framework is incorrect or…?
In this situation, I would respect the professors’ advice and take a mental note of it. I would think critically about the advice and use it to strengthen my educational framework. The professors’ advice openly highlights gaps in the educator mindset that my friend seeks to address and close.
In your personal investment, understand that a lot of advice is going to go your way. You will find it in things you read, folks you interact with, experts, advisors, professors, bosses, etc.
All advice ain’t good advice.
Use your critical mind to think about where this advice is coming from. All of the advice going your way comes from a different root source.
I know. You are just looking for some good advice on a topic and these people with ‘expert’, ‘professor’ ‘boss’ titles are great choices! The reality is titles are not what you should be focusing on.
Yes, sometimes a title gives credibility to an individual, but having a title does not mean you should openly rush to listen to advice. Titles are also not mandatory pre-requisites for great advice.
Example: The title of ‘college graduate’ – heard of: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs…
Would you listen to advice that they give on successful business, innovation, creativity, etc.? I sure would. They do not have a “title” that society would say is necessary to be successful but, their successes hold their own weight.
True that they are not the common norm – that’s fine. What is really important to take away from this is that you should filter advice given to you and help that drive what you do with it.
Let me keep this simple. When you get advice ask yourself one question and let it be a prime consideration for how you proceed.
Is this advice from an individual who is where I want to be/does this person have what I want
Is this advice from an individual who is not where I want to be/does not have what I want
Often times we make the mistake to take advice openly and blindly because we are in search for the right advice.
Note: by right advice, I mean right advice for you – we all have different aspirations and we need to tune ourselves accordingly.
Getting To the GOOD ADVICE
Find the individuals who are where you want to be or have what you want to have. Connect with them, build a relationship and you will naturally get advice and/or guidance to help you get in the right direction.
With so many mediums, it’s easy to hand out advice. Applying the question filter is the most important piece – otherwise, it is easy to get overwhelmed or feel conflicted by advice.
What To Do With the BAD ADVICE
If you come across advice, apply the filter and find it to be bad advice, just take a mental note. It is valuable to collect the bad advice. It gives you visibility into what others are thinking on the topic at hand. It allows you to collect data and helps you understand the topic at hand.
Think about it objectively:
My friend wants to be an education change agent. He has his opinions and perspective on what kind of improvements he believes will help enhance a youth’s education.
Professors are showing him, in real time, ways in which his identified opportunities are created! He can see in real-time that up-and-coming educators are being taught and given advice directly (by professors) that leads to the gaps he believes in.
This is great data for him if he uses it properly.
Pause when you are given advice and think about the merit of it. Is the person who is giving you advice where you want to be? Do they have something you want?
If yes, stay tuned, listen and continue that curiosity.
If no, what can you learn from the advice? There is always something to be learned.