As children we are given lots of advice from our parents, teachers, and other adult figures. “Put a coat on”, “don’t watch too much TV”, “drive carefully”.
As we become adults the conversation changes “Go to University”, “Settle down” and “get a good job, theres no money in performing arts”.
I have read countless stories over the last few years which detail how most teenagers did what their parents said in the hopes that they would make them proud and in the fear that they might be right.
A great read is “The Third Door” a book by Alex Banayan. Alex talks about his journey from hacking THE PRICE IS RIGHT and winning the jackpot, to quitting college and following his dream of being a writer.
He talks about how difficult it was to tell his mum and dad that he wanted to postpone school so he could write this book. It was far more important to him than the biology books that sat on his desk. He had been following their dream of being a doctor and he didn’t want to do it anymore.
Why do we call it a dream? People have made successful careers from acting, dancing, writing and travelling. So why does it seem like such an unstable option. Isn’t it true that we all excel at what we are passionate about? So why is being a Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher or Accountant a better option? Because it is Safe. Safe to the person who suggested it.
I have seen business books titled “The 10 mistakes I made in business so you don’t have too” or “30 years of business and the failures you can avoid”. Sure these maybe helpful as signposts for the process or issues in that particular business, but they are their mistakes. Not yours.
What your parents may see as a mistake might not be one for you. No one will ever know you more than you. People often project their fears onto others. They may have been too scared to be skint for 3 years while pursuing an acting career, or they didn’t travel because they couldn’t be more than a mile from their family.
We are all different and that is the beauty.
If it is the right choice for you, then it is not a mistake. If it makes you happy then do it. If it’s not what you thought, then pick another path. We don’t learn until we have gone through it ourselves.
It is great to get advice and opinions from others (providing you have asked for it) but do not take it as gospel. Gather the information and make your own conclusion.
I have come to realise in the last year that I have done things that I haven’t wanted to do because I didn’t want to let people down. I have done this for so long that I have neglected what I really want and who I really am. It is important to point out, that this is no one’s fault but my own.
I have taken some advice and assumed they must be right due to experience or age. But that’s not always the truth.
I heard a saying once that stuck with me “Never ask someone for advice who has not done what you want to do”. This is good advice! Sure you can tell them, but their opionion and risk assessment comes from someone who would never do something like this.
So, if you want to start flipping and selling houses or travel the world, do not ask the advice of your grandma who lived in the same house for 50 years and never went abroad.
Ask yourself, is this really what I want to do? If the answer is no, then find a way round it. If the answer is yes, believe in yourself and make it happen. Be honest with others and most importantly, be honest with yourself.