No matter the area of life, if you’re looking to change or improve something, the internet is probably the first place you go to look for ideas and support.
Want to start eating healthier? Look up recipes on Pinterest.
Keep arguing with your partner? Find a Facebook group where you can discuss all things relationships.
Want to start an online business? Google how to start an online business.
And one of the great things about this, apart from the ease of access to the information, is how many people there are out there like you. Information and advice no longer only comes from stuffy experts or people who’ve been doing something for many years. You can find regular people, doing what you want to do, only a few steps ahead of you, offering to show you how they got there.
I love the fact anyone can now create content and share it with the world. It allows there to be many more options, opinions and examples out there for us to explore. But there’s a dark side to this increased content. And that’s the pressure to provide advicecontent that grabs peoples’ attention.
The Dark Side of ‘Content’
If you don’t have an online business you probably won’t be aware – creating advice content is a huge online marketing/sales tactic. The reasoning is that by showing potential clients you know what you’re talking about and giving them value for free, they’re more likely to buy off you.
There’s a whole sector of businesses dedicated to supporting other businesses to create this kind of content. And a key component of this marketing is to be prolific with it. What this has created is an online space full of noise. Full of different people telling you how to do anything. And, with many of them, they promise you their way is the best way to do it.
The amount of advice that’s now available a few clicks away on Google is staggeringly overwhelming. There probably isn’t a single topic you couldn’t find a advice article on. For free.
My Experience with Advice
I could list endless stories of the times I’ve followed advice and it didn’t work. In my personal life. For my health and wellbeing. In my business.
I’ve spent years absorbing all the information and advice out there. Always looking for the ‘right’ thing to help make my life feel easy and carefree. More often than not, it’s had the opposite effect.
It could be easy to sit here and say it’s because the advice I followed was bad advice, but I don’t believe that. I believe much of this advice didn’t work because it wasn’t the right advice for me. Because I never stopped to question whether this was the case before I blindly followed what some online expert told me.
As an introvert and HSP, I fall into a very small slice of the population. And for that reason, a lot of advice out there isn’t a good fit for me. It’s taken me years to figure that out. To realise that not every piece of advice works for every person. And the key is to pause and evaluate if advice is right for you before you implement it.
How to figure out if advice right for you
Create a personal filter
Really knowing yourself is the first piece of the puzzle. Learning about my high sensitivity was a game changer. If you’re here you already know you’re introverted. That’s only one trait. There are many more that will influence you as a person.
Personally, I rate the ‘Big 5’ personality profile. It breaks your personality down into 5 categories – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. You can take the test here. I rate this because I find it easier to understand than the Myers-Briggs Types.
Knowing your personality isn’t the only factor that makes you, you. There’s also your values and beliefs, your upbringing and previous experiences. All these things come together and create a personal filter that you can run all advice through before you implement it, simply by asking the question “does this fit me?”
Check out the person giving the advice
When deciding if advice is right for you it can help to consider the person giving the advice a bit more closely. Although they don’t have to be exactly like you, the more similar you are as people, the higher probability that the advice would work for you.
If an extrovert is suggesting you go out and talk to new people at yoga classes as a way to make friends, for example, that might not work for us introverts.
Also, consider their lifestyle. Are they single when you’re married? American when you’re British? These things influence the advice given. If you have children, you might not be in the position to go to the gym 4 times a week to do the heavy weight training a fitness expert recommends.
Sometimes the only way to know if something is right for you is to try it. I know I can easily get lost in my thoughts, pondering every option to find the ‘right’ one. But even once you’ve thought it to death, you still don’t know if it’s right until you do it.
The key with trying it is to set yourself a timeframe, and after that point evaluate how it was. Be curious about it. Did it work? Was it manageable for you and your life? If it didn’t work, don’t beat yourself up about the fact it didn’t work. Because not everything works for everyone, and that’s ok.
If this one piece of advice wasn’t right, consider why and see if you can adapt it to suit you more. Reflect on what you’ve learnt from the thing that didn’t work because that gets you a step closer to what will.
Featured image by Andrew Neel
Have you ever taken on advice that hasn’t worked for you or your business? Did this article resonate with you? Leave us a comment below.