Seeking Advice. No, Really.

Advice.

When you’re searching for something, or hoping to achieve a goal, it seems everyone has ideas about exactly how you should do it. Usually, it goes something like this:

“Just do what I did – (enter random example that doesn’t really apply in your situation here) – you’ll get there in no time and make millions of dollars doing it!”

And, because you’re at a loss for what to do, you listen. You heed their advice, take it all in and hope that this was the key to success you had been missing all along. Surely, this time, you’ve done what it takes.

In my case, I tend to seek out so much advice I wind up getting paranoid about my own methods. How do you know when you should follow advice over your gut, or vice versa?

To answer this question, I of course, asked for advice.

Via Twitter.

Or, The Twitter, as I like to call it.

Because I’m hip like that.

Anyway…I reached out to ask if anyone could give an example of advice that really helped them. My friend, Shawn (@ShawnMeier), obliged, supplying this little gem:

“There are 2 things you should never complain about: the things you can change, and the things you can’t.”

Obvious, right?

No?

Yeah, me neither. He continues…

“In other words, if u can change something, do it. If u can’t, don’t bitch or worry cuz it’s out of ur control. Just move on.”

And you know what? He’s exactly right. For he past few weeks months, I’ve been doing everything I can think of to improve my situation. I haven’t been writing because I’ve devoted all spare time to one project and – because the solution hasn’t presented itself – I complain.

I focus on all of the pieces I have no control over. I complain (OK, I downright whine) to my husband, who has been nothing but supportive as I struggle to make things happen. I retrace every step, wondering what I could have done differently when in fact, it’s more likely that nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome.

I’ve made the mistake of seeking advice from so many others that I’ve lost my own gut instinct. I think it’s time for me to take a step back and realize, as much as it pains me to say it: Shawn was right.

That was exactly what I needed to hear. Time to stop complaining.

What about you? Have you ever gotten advice that truly solved your problem? How do you sort through the advice you get in order to find the advice you need?