I’ve just turned 25 a couple of weeks ago. I thought I shared some quarter decade-year-old lessons I learnt from listening to advice, dishing out advice, ranging from areas such as relationships and personal finance.
I know, I’ve been writing a lot more on the generic self development and relationship advice these days. If you haven’t read the entire site, I’ve already covered quite a bit from approaching a girl to first date guides. Not to worry, I’ll be back to the specifics of social skillsets and dating strategies in a couple of posts time.
For now, I’m going to hate people who ask advice, not only do not take it but repeat their mistakes and end up hating you call them out on it. Ps. These people don’t deserve your time nor your words.
Not Everyone Genuinely Wants Your Advice
Einstein once was quoted saying that there will be true peace if it was attained by understanding and not by force. I’m not going to debate against Einstein, however, I’d argue that reality doesn’t pan out that way, especially in the realm of relationships.
The majority of people simply do not wish to understand.
I always prided myself as someone who always desired my friends and business compatriots to understand why I was doing something or why I behaved in a certain way. That was just how I rolled. I don’t like ordering people around based on authority or making empty promises.
When you attempt to help someone understand. You’re not relying on emotional selling, authority or other non factual tactics. You’re patiently picking out the facts in a scientific manner and laying them out in front of them.
Well, nothing is more boring and least authoritative than someone attempting to point you out to something in a ‘scientific manner’. This is why politicians often rely on hyperbole, instead of specific words, theories or explanations in their political speeches.
Wasn’t Singapore (the country I am born in) governed by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who said that there was no need for cheating, lying or stealing? He said that you didn’t have to flatter, charm or cajole, you didn’t have to care about frivolous things or play silly games.
Let’s just say sometimes the world doesn’t work that way.
Some people (including longtime friends) would prefer your biased advice. Especially when it comes to relationship advice with that shit hat of their girlfriend or boyfriend. They want to hear what they want to hear. Some clients would rather you promise them easy results than to tell them: hey, this is going to take some work, but if you do it, you’re going to do well. Just so you know, if you’re one of those guys, don’t bother taking any of my programs, you’re going to fail and you’re going whine and bitch about a refund. I’d rather you save me the time.
Just 2 weeks ago, a long time friend of mine asked me if I could teach him how to create a website. I was impressed. He’s finally taking his first steps towards entrepreneurship. I passed him my email and told him he could email me and I’ll respond to them.
No surprises here, there wasn’t any email from him 2 weeks in.
Education isn’t Enough
Whilst I yearn for people to understand my way of thinking and behaviour, there’s nothing I can do if someone closes their ears and eyes to knowledge.
You can’t educate someone who doesn’t want to do something about it. This is especially so when you’re dishing out dating advice who wants your sympathy but not your honest feedback.
For variety’s sake, let me use an example in personal finance.
Just a couple of days ago, I was advice my father about how gold is a horrible investment in the long run, instead of admitting that he knew close to nothing about the investment field, he took up an opposite position and outrightly declared that he would invest in gold. He did it just to protect his ego.
Sure, go ahead and invest. It’s better than letting your cash sit in the bank. Well, so I attempted to persuade him to open a brokerage account. No surprises here again. No matter how hard I tried to persuade him in the next week by sending him emails daily about index funds, he never took the minimal action to open up a brokerage account.
In the realm of personal finance, I’ve always maintained my position over the years that 99% of traders lose money, the majority of hedge funds don’t outperform the market, you’re best sticking to index funds as a retail investor and that bitcoin is a shit poor form of investment.
That happens to be unpopular with the majority of the advice out there. Well, how of these people actually read a book on personal finance or bothered to look at the track records of these financial instruments?
These days, I am also careful about dishing out business of or personal finance advice. You would think that people, in general, are always looking for better ways to better their themselves or their business. That’s not always the case.
With matters to these, I wished I could quote one of my personal heroes in life, Charlie Munger: You’re smart. I’m right. Sooner or later, you’ll see that I’m right.
However, in many cases, it’s simply: you’re dumb and I’m right.
I was an idealist during my younger days, choosing to freely share my ideas and opinions with just about anyone. Whilst I remain hopeful of the future, I became a lot more realistic and pragmatic.
I used to go around saying that Singapore isn’t a compassionate society and all of us should be more understanding. Well, what if they don’t want to understand anyway? So who the fuck cares? The death penalty wasn’t that bad after all, if you aren’t going to take the advice on drug trafficking then maybe you deserve the harsh sentence. You dig your own grave.
I found myself in similar situations time and time again. Instead of being appreciated for critical thinking skills in work or amongst business relationships, I’m often criticized for being too outright or too blunt.
You can’t have best of both worlds. If you’re going be outspoken, you got to be prepared to be feared or respected, and you’re going ruffle a few feathers. The people around you may revere you for your insight and vision, however, it’ll put a distance between you and them.
Look, I don’t go about offending people just for the sake of offending people, I’m someone who likes to be liked. Who doesn’t? However, if something isn’t right, it’s one of my values to voice it out, as opposed to keeping silent about it.
This has caused quite a bit of friction in my relationships. However, the right ones will appreciate me for my candour.
Don’t Bother Lecturing Your Friends
When you do something with your life, you might feel tempted to dish out advice for free amongst your friends. I remembered when I excitedly told my friend about the emotional progression model when I chanced upon a couple of dating advice books. Please don’t, just keep it in and go about your day.
Even if they ask, just kindly reject them.
I always felt that best friends are able to give honest feedback to each other. That’s the building block of a meaningful friendship. No? However, that’s not the case. You may be well meaning. However, let’s be honest here, everyone wants to be ‘cool’, no one wants to listen to your open feedback.
This brings me to my next point.
You’re going to clique with people that have naturally similar values as you. I dug my own grave when a bunch old relationships turned sour. I was too idealistic and afraid of making a solid judgment. When I took a couple of months abroad, I got a bird’s eye view of these relationships.
The same questions started popping out.
Why the hell does Sally put me down and criticize my ideas all the time, whilst she herself can barely back up her own ideals? Why the hell should I stand for that anymore? Why the hell does Rochelle slight my ideas when I excitedly told her that I just finished reading one of Lee Kuan Yew’s book?
There are going to be people who’re inspired by your pursuits, and there’s going to be people that look at you and say: Who the hell is he or she to be able to do that? Either way, the majority of them are retarded, don’t bother advising them, go start a blog, you’ll have better results.
The Fucking Idiots Who Don’t Listen
When I was working for a company managed by a multi millionaire, I thought he was going to be a good mentor for business and life. He was driving a luxury car that could easily pay off a public housing flat in Singapore IN FULL. He also had multiple properties in all around the world and often had something wise to say about something.
Through the next couple of months, he splashed the company’s cash on unneeded events, brokered poor business deals and landed himself in hot soup. Throughout the months, I attempt to get him to act otherwise not once, but a couple of times! However, instead of being appreciated of my advice, I was left out of company meetings.
It taught me that there’s a difference between inherited success and success that is self made. It also taught me that there are many ‘successful’ people out there that are actually playing a game of bluff.
I also figured that whilst it’s good to take advice from the best, it’s much better to work alongside with people who have the same desire and hunger as you do as compared to working with someone who is already successful or comfortable.
These days, I enjoy working with technicians. They know what they’re talking about.
When someone describes to you something in specific, you know he’s actually been on the ground and worked on the solution ground up.
If someone asked me for my advice on I marketed his site. I’ll simply detail it:
Writing quality content using keyword research, understand what the fuck us a unique selling proposition, understanding my target audience: their hopes fears and dreams, understanding how search engine optimization works, doing in depth academic research on my content, lugging my camera around, not screwing up on the memory card, creating videos using iMovie, testing out different business models, tracking keywords, tracking user acquisition through Google analytics, understanding how to pitch to the press and the list goes on forever.
You can bet that’s solid advice.
So, what kind of advice would you personally like in your life?
Ultimately, whether be it business, relationships or academic performance, it’s going to be largely defined by 1) The standards you expect of yourself 2) The standards that are expected of you from others.
You can choose to expect less of yourself by lowering your own standards or surrounding yourself with individuals that don’t expect much from you. Or you can surround yourself with people who aren’t here to mess around with the willingness to dish out and accept brutal honesty so that both parties can grow towards each other’s path of self-actualization.
I just don’t see it happening any other way.