If AA is for anonymous alcoholics then I should start a new support group. AAA, Advice Addicts Anonymous. I’m not here to poke fun at addiction. I’m truly addicted to advice.
I subscribe to advice riddled podcasts and YouTube channels. I buy a new book that will “change my life”, every week- I’ve even been known to dish out advice from time to time.
The worst part is, I’m incapable of following any of it. Why? Because I’m an addict. I need my fix. If I listen to the sage wisdom of one person and follow through with it, where will I find the time to pester others for help?
I’ve got a handful of mentors, friends, and family that all put up with my constant, “Woe is me, I don’t know what to do” SOSs. I even bother busy people who don’t even know me for advice.
Recently I was wrestling with a personal dilemma; deciding if I should go back to college or pay off the debts of my first failed attempt. So I did something crazy.
I sent an email to Ryan Holiday.
Ryan Holiday is a best-selling author. He wrote The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, Trust Me I’m Lying, and a few other great books. He’s been on the Tim Ferriss Show, The School of Greatness Podcast, and London Real.
What was I thinking? Ryan Holiday wouldn’t reply to me… Except, he did.
First I asked him if I should go back to school for writing and he replied stoically, “Writing programs are generally a waste of time…” and he sent me a link to his article, So You Want to be a Writer? That’s Mistake #1. In which he outlines the idea that you should only write once you have something to say.
I didn’t even take the time to be grateful that he’d replied. Instead, I shot back (somewhat hurt) with another question.
I asked him how to live a life worth writing about.
“Go live an interesting life. Go do stuff.” That was his response, two short sentences that totally rocked my world.
“That’s not an answer!” I thought to myself. “He has to give me real advice!”
I was wrong on both counts. That was real advice, and he didn’t owe me anything. It just wasn’t the advice I wanted to hear. Living an interesting life sounds so impossible. I wanted a quick fix, some life hack, or some book to read that I could use to manipulate my way to success.
After I’d calmed down I thought about some of my own advice I’d dished out months prior on Instagram. “The best advice is never the quick fix, but instead the obvious, yet never easy dose of hard work.”
I’m addicted to advice and I’m terrible at taking it. I couldn’t take Ryan’s advice, I couldn’t even take my own advice on the subject of advice. But I’m trying.
Since my brief conversation with Ryan, I have yet to put writing on hold. I have, however, been trying to “go do things”, by going on more adventures with friends, (we saw the world’s largest fork). I’m also trying to take advice more seriously by putting it into practice.
“If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”
-Derek Sivers (From Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss)
It’s safe to say the same thing about advice. If advice was the answer we’d only have to ask for it once.
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