Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

This is more for me than anyone else, while I don’t know if others have had this experience, it has been mine.

Think of it as a thought experiment. Try to imagine of all the advice that has ever been given to you. Now, picture your life if you had taken and acted on all that advice and followed it to its end. Doesn’t seem like much of a life at all, and living in such a way is not sustainable – always waiting for the next step. If you constantly chase advice and recommendations you’ll end up on a path with a bunch of ideas that aren’t innately familiar to you. So if taking all advice you come across is impractical than what what amount of advice is appropriate?

Fortune cookie readers and barefoot self-help masters (Rick Rubin being an exception) come off as inauthentic and holier-than-thou. They seem more to be marketers and self promoters than anything. More interested in becoming personalities than having an honest discussion about ideas. I worry that we take advice from people who don’t know what it is like to be a real person, with real issues that need sorting out. Most modern advice peddlers are rent-seekers who aren’t interested in their students becoming self-sufficient. If anything the modern advice peddler wants their students to become dependent on their knowledge so they continually be back for more.

When I get desperate and find myself grasping for any kind of advice, that is the precise moment when I need to just go with my gut the most. Desperation for advice is a desperation for the offshoring of responsibility and outcome. This desperation for counsel seems to be the incapability to trust one’s self. That way when the advice doesn’t end up working out I can blame who I got it from, while I get off scot-free. We see this in particular with this advice of going to college. When it doesn’t work out then what? Go searching for more advice? When you keep taking advice and that advice keeps burning you, it may be time for a more customized tactic. There is no better customized tactic than trusting yourself.

“No one can give you better advice than yourself.”

Cicero

The internet is full advice, that is probably the one thing it is most full of. What could be useful are some kind of mentor filters/advice filters. I.e., before accepting any advice, the givers of such advice should meet some criteria that you set and you approve of. Making it much more customizable. This criteria being very personal process. This is something I need to do a better job at, not taking advice from morons on the internet. 

Online wisdom follows the Pareto Principle – 80% of it is useless. 20% of it can really have a positive effect.

The real trick is not getting catfished.

In order for one’s journey to be their own and for them to get to where they need to be it is vital that they be led by their own intuition. Nothing can be forced, especially life lessons. Forcing ideas doesn’t work. (This is why I learned nothing in high school – at least partially why.)

Reality is the only teacher.

And yes, asking and receiving advice can be by your own intuition, as long as your proper advice criteria has been met and the mentor be a trusted one. One of the many flaws with advice business is the giver of the advice may intend to portray a totally different message than that which is received by the one asking – no matter how sincerely both acts are done. This can throw someone completely off the scents they may be onto individually, after feeling they pressure to switch paths for a more desired outcome. Again, life lessons must come naturally or they won’t come at all. The message will be lost if pressured.

When we take too much advice we clear the way of any accidents or any missteps. What we fail to realize is that missteps can make the pathway clearer and make the correct steps we do take more certain.

By taking missteps you make the correct ones.

Advice wants you to quit failing all together when in reality you should learn how to fail gracefully and with the right attitude. When taking too much advice we skip a vital part of the process; the accidents. And on the journey of life, accidental occurrences are necessary. 

Our times are full of know-it-all self-help Rolls-Royce-driving gurus who can cure all, these people all over the internet, blatant rent seekers who shamelessly self promote ten-steps-to-success-type stories. Those who call “intuition” and other human emotions “irrational”. There are times when it pays to be irrational, like following your intuition for example, is viewed as irrational at times. Be rational by being irrational. Being “irrational” has become a vastly underrated skill being that following only “rational” advice will over-optimize you.

And that’s the other problem with taking too much advice; over-optimization. Being so fine tuned and perfectly in lockstep that even the tiniest of turns will break you. Following intuition opens you up to error, and small errors are vital. Because by making the small error of knowing which way not to go you therefore know which way you should go. Via Negativa.

The desire for constant advice and for someone to hold your hand every step of the way makes you more susceptible to devastation.

From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed very few thoughts we have during that time are our own. Misguided counsel and the pressure of not following that counsel makes up some of those thoughts, yet there is profound emotional liberation in trusting yourself and your experience and your interests.

There comes immense power from not having an opinion, not having the answer, but trusting your gut anyway, moving forward. This is a tricky process, particularly the last step of living with the results because we think that if we take a piece of advice our outcomes will be the same as those who provided us the advice.

The trick becomes deciphering who is who. A problem as old a time. A heuristic I use is who has no incentive to help me? It sounds counterintuitive but I don’t want my mentors to be dependent on my business, but I also don’t want my mentors to lead me to destruction. Someone who will be stern and fair when appropriate but someone who wishes me nothing but self-sustainability.

The line is fuzzier & thinner than we think and it’s very hard to figure out who is who. When it comes to which wisdom you choose to follow on your life’s journey it’s better at most times to be precautious and skeptical.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing,

but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Matthew 7:15

Avoid most counsel, but when counsel must be sought make sure criteria are met.

And if you find yourself at your rope’s end then abandon all advice. Take personal responsibility and use your instincts.

One thought on “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”

  1. advice on how to not hit the absorbing barrier – very welcome. somewhere someone here on the internet said that’s the whole point of “mentors” – not to show you how the system works, but they are there to make sure you don’t exit the pool while tinkering and testing things out.

    nitpickers and other idiots who claim to know the one thing that would take me from good to great or perfect can go fuck themselves.

    Like

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