The pitfalls of advice

Not many lines of work wake up our inner child as does creative work.

Having a map is easy. Just follow it. Our inner child remains safe and sound.

But to create something from scratch — now, that’s some scary stuff.

We might mess up. We might… Fail. We might be exposed and ridiculed.

So, what’s the first thing we do when we hear our inner child start to stir?

Yep, you guessed it…

We ask for advice.

Often, we do this by hitting up Google.

Are there any ‘How-To’ posts out there that’ll tell me EXACTLY how to do this?

If that doesn’t do the trick, or, sometimes, even if it does, we ask someone for their advice. Face to face.

Seems harmless, I know. But when you look at the root of this, nine times out of ten, we ask for advice for one big, fat, stupid reason…

We often seek advice so we can place the blame and burden of failure on someone else.

It’s harsh, but true.

Let’s analyze this a bit…

First of all, if we do this, it shows that we’ve gone into it with a strong belief that we’re going to fail. So, right there, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot before even starting.

Secondly, we’ve given ourselves an easy way out when we do, inevitably, fail (just as we’ve subconsciously planned).

That said, we know that we can’t be the one to blame for this. No way. We need a fall-guy. Someone to point at when we’ve moved back in to mom’s basement.

Once we have that, we’re covered. Now, we can go ahead and fall flat on our face again.

Granted, some advice is just fine. We can’t succeed by living in a bubble. Having people to help talk you through stuff is needed.

Here’s a good rule of thumb…

Seeking advice is fine when you’ve already figured out what you want to do. When you already have the final vision in your head of what you want to create. Then you can employ people to offer you their advice on the specifics.

But never place the responsibility of the final vision on someone else’s advice.

Most creative acts worth talking about were done by people who just went and did it.

No advice. No map.

Now, keep in mind, not taking advice is no guarantee of immediate success.

The difference between you and the advice-takers will be, if you don’t succeed, it’ll be all on you. No one else to blame.

This can be tough to stomach, but isn’t that why we signed up for the creative life?

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Jonas writes short daily essays here at Higher Thoughts. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.