“My advice is to never listen to any advice, not even this one.” – Anonymous
One of the easiest ways to see that everyone lives in their own reality is to keep your eyes open while looking for advice. Every so often, you’ll find two pieces of advice that both sound great, yet seem to contradict each other when put side by side. Take these two:
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”
“Quitting is leading too”
Each of these was said by a great man. In fact it was the same great man – Nelson Mandela.
So is this a problem? When two quotes or pieces of advice contradict, I have found that people explain it by saying that these pieces of advice apply to different situations at different times. Which is true, but not particularly helpful. It means that you need to know which situation you are in *before* you pick which advice to follow (which you often don’t).
Which brings me back to my theory of reality: No one really knows what’s going on and we’re all just making educated guesses based on our own previous experience.
This works most of the time (which is good). Except when it doesn’t (which is bad).
So what should you do? For me, it keeps coming back to the basics. Mainly, learn more about how the world works in order to improve your ability to understand it and improve the probabilities of positive outcomes, paired with the mental strength to not be rattled when the dice don’t role your way.
So whenever you hear a piece of advice, ask yourself, can the opposite also be true? Often it is. Here are a few common sayings to get you started:
- A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned – You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
- The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease – The Tall Nail Gets the Hammer
- What You See is What You Get – You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder – Out of Sight, Out of Mind
- Discretion is the Better Part of Valor – Fortune Favors the Bold
- The pen is mightier than the sword – Actions speak louder than words.
- Look before you leap – He who hesitates is lost
- Winners Never Quit – Quit While You’re Ahead
- Many hands make light work – Too many cooks spoil the broth