Why I Ignore People's Advice

August 28, 2011

As I grow older, I begin to realize that as you move through life, it's better to ignore the majority of people and keep a close group of friends to pay attention to. It is up to the person to determine "who" and "how many", but for me, it decreases by day. I have learned the majority of people who give you advice do not look at it from your perspective, but tell you what they would do if they were you. Here are a few situations that I've encountered in my life where ignoring people's advice has helped:Don't get an art degree. You won't be able to find a job.When I enrolled in college, I knew I wanted to study painting and drawing. "So what are you going to do, sell art on the street or try to get in a gallery?", people would ask. The honest truth was I wasn't sureā€”just knew that I wanted to paint and draw. While earning my bachelor of fine arts, I learned about visual culture, art history, drawing, problem solving and conceptualization. As I grew my career into UX design after college, I realized I was wireframing (literally) in my sculpture class to learn about structural integrity and sketching ideas.Don't quit your job during the recessionIn 2007-2008 I had the most miserable job ever. My boss was so passive/aggressive and always questioned my work, or if I was even doing it. Working for a non-profit at the time , it was difficult to get buy off on utilizing this thing called "Social Media." This was in the midst of the economic crisis. What did I do? I walked out and quit my job. I didn't get laid off. I didn't get fired. I forwent my unemployment and resigned. From there I reworked my skills and got hired by ExactTarget.Going freelance is too riskyAfter a good year and a half at ExactTarget, it was time for me to move on. My dream was the travel the world and freelance. It is 2011, and the economy still relatively sucks. Though a lot of my close friends encouraged me to make the jump, most people thought I was stupid for giving up a great job for "the unknown." My mindset was simple: low risk, low reward. I had to think of the worst case scenario but also the best case.These are three quick examples of how my life might be different if I listened to everyone. I definitely suggest reading Hugh McLeod's book "Ignore Everyone" to reflect on this.Always trust your gut feeling. It's always right.