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SOLICITING ADVICE

September 14th, 2022

 

Advice can be a difficult object to parse. First off, no one is you. All the flowery stuff about being unique is, well - true. While there might be many people living a similar life, or people who have lived similar experiences, the differences between very similar lives are still vast. Advice that one person would have loved to hear when they were in your current predicament might not really apply to you, even if the situation is quite similar.

 

There’s also the issue of bad advice. Much advice is likely just that: bad. Either because someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about or because the advice just doesn’t apply to you aren your situation. It’s a bit like using an instruction manual for a prop airplane engine in order to fix a car engine. Sure there’s similarities in how both work, but the devil is in the details. Heck, even car engines can vary enough that an instruction manual for one doesn’t easily translate to another. Especially if it’s your first time trying to do something with these engines.

 

Much of the advice we hunt for is likely just due to a social impulse. It feels good to talk about our predicaments, and it feels like being loved when someone cares enough to listen and then say something constructive. 

 

All of this is also a form of procrastination. 

 

No matter the mentor or master, there is one source of advice that supersedes them all: reality. But how, of course, do we ask reality for some advice? Luckily reality is ruthless and honest beyond all people we might talk to. The trick is knowing how to ask for the advice. We might ask a friend and a mentor Do you think this is a good business idea? And that friend or mentor might have some interesting things to say, but reality carries a far better answer, and the way to ask reality is to actually go ahead and try it out - the business idea, that is.. Reality will give the final word of advice on whether it’s a good idea or a bad one. Reality’s advice is sought through experiments. And this is why it’s good to try and test ideas in iterative increments as opposed to toiling away on a grand plan for years and years without any real feedback from reality. Launch the smallest possible version of the idea with the minimum of effort and time and… see what reality says. 


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