Advice won’t make you. (however, persuasion might)

A response to recent articles like this and this quora question

I have a different and more straightforward take on why advice won’t make us or break us. There are those of us that read hundreds of self-help books and don’t make it, and there are those of us that haven’t sought out advice and all and get along just fine.

  1. Watching Tiger Woods hit a golf ball won’t instantly confer upon you the same capability to swing a ball. This applies just as much to an intellectual or entrepreneurial pursuit. While the right coaching can be indispensable, it’s ultimately sheer work, making mistakes, and our own internal introspection on our specific state that will make us.

  2. The last part above segues into my second point: advice is easier given than received. Easier said than done. Ultimately, only we can act on the advice given, and also provide the necessary amount of inner reflection to distill and adapt the advice to our specific circumstances and draw useful conclusions from it.

From my Quora answer (I fucking love quoting things because of the pretty green line):

It’s very easy to give good advice and to find it - the hard part is actually following through on the advice.

You can tell someone to stop eating junk food and exercise more if they want to be healthier, but does that really help with anything? The hard part is doing it, not knowing what to do.

And ultimately, that’s why advice has its limits. It can tell you exactly how to do something, but you still have to do it. It could be said that the best advice would persuade you to do it as well as tell you what to do, but I think that’s actually classified as persuasion and not advice.

As to why persuasion fails - well, persuasion is hard as shit. There’s my question - how do you persuade someone to do something?


Now read this

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