How Great Advice Leads to Inaction (and how to fix it)
What’s the power of a thought?
Everywhere we turn we hear the advice, recommendations, opinions and suggestions of others — imploring us to focus harder, try with more gusto, defy the odds stacked against us, build the resolve to never give up — good advice we can usually all agree is needed to accomplish any goal. But what happens when we’re seeking out great advice, not just good advice? When we need a game-changing idea, a life-changing course correction, a deeply out-of-the-box hail mary of an idea — will we be ready to fully hear it, synthesize it, and take immediate action?
Probably not. But why?
We’ve seen humans create empires, build skyscrapers, fly spaceships to the moon, break the speed of sound in an airplane, code decentralized applications, and more — all once tiny kernels of ideas, that found the right motivating forces to bring them to life. Those entrepreneurial teams surely must have had great mentors, advisors, and motivating gurus pushing and prodding them along towards the path of failure and to the finish line of success.
The world’s constantly looking for life and business advice so we can earn more, do more, live more, enjoy more; but are we really willing to listen and more importantly take immediate action? Or will we let it flow in one ear, nod, and fall by the wayside?
It’s easy to witness greatness of thought and applied individualism when success is outside of us (in magazines, online and in tangible success stories). It’s a lot harder inside of us, to find the right ingredients for great ideas to flourish when we’re struggling to even stay motivated enough to get through the day at the office.
Even the greatest minds in history doubted their ideas at some point. The difference being, they had laid a foundation of “can do” optimism underneath all of the doubts so that no matter the ebbs and flows of success or failure, trial and tribulation, applause or apathy, their ideas always found a way to see the light of day.
The world is full of self-proclaimed mental coaches, lifestyle gurus, and consultants willing to take your money in exchange for helping you try to discover your very own life-direction fit.
The problem with advice, even great advice, is that it requires receptivity and a deadline for action to make it invaluable.
What’s the difference between good and great advice? Good advice most can agree with, but often finds inaction in the recipient’s way. Great advice is hard to agree with, and often harder to take action upon. Why? Because often it’s contrarian in nature to our historical choices.
But regardless if you receive good or great advice from a friend, mentor, parent, teacher, or co-worker, it’s your mental receptivity to that, that ultimately enables you to take action and see different results.
When we start our day from a place of “no”, a place where we wake up and grab our phones and shrug through our routinized process of dealing with things we don’t like, we end up bemoaning the day until it’s over, and by then, we’re so depleted that we’ve lost the ability to focus on what matters most to us.
My suggestion, start your day with one positive thought — it can be something small like the way your breakfast tastes to the way you easily found the right outfit to wear. It could be something more substantial, like a great conversation with your partner or a thank you e-mail you just received out of the blue. Regardless if the thought emanates from something minuscule or grandiose, sow the seed of positivity so that when you find opportunity in your day, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to seize it instead of squander it.
The greatest seed (advice) can only grow to be a giant when the soil (your receptivity) is ripe for growth.