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An Important Thing No One Will Tell You

important-thing

I talked with someone who was in the process of calling fifteen people to get their opinions on a project.

Why was any one of our opinions worth so much effort? I’m not sure, but someone had told her she should seek out as many opinions as possible before deciding what to do.

The standard line is: Listen to what other people have done and avoid making the same mistakes.

But maybe instead of just hearing about them, you need to make these mistakes yourself. Or maybe you won’t actually make the mistakes in the first place—just because someone else screwed up doesn’t mean you will.

Other people think because they are older than you, or because they paid a lot of money for a piece of paper you don’t have, you are then obligated to listen to them. Guess what? You’re not obligated.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative. The alternative is: instead of going out and asking people, skip that whole process and just do what feels best to you.

I like Derek’s hell-yeah test for deciding between competing opportunities. The basic idea is that when you think about the idea, if it’s not a “hell yeah,” don’t do it. I’ve modified this a bit in my own life to be: if it’s a “hell yeah,” why not go for it?

Hell yeah, why wouldn’t we invite everyone to Portland for a big adventure? Hell yeah, why not go to every country in the world? Nate is walking across America by himself—hell yeah!

***

When seeking advice, the first question you should ask yourself is: How is this person qualified to advise me?

For example: is this “business coach” someone who has never owned a real business, besides telling other people how to run theirs? (There are a surprising number of “business coaches” who operate in this realm.)

Does this “life coach” really have it all figured out for themselves, or is the whole thing a circular operation, built on creating more life coaches for imaginary clients?

Whoever it is, what is this person’s bias? Do they want you to make a certain decision that benefits them? Are they concerned about being right or looking good?

The answers to these questions matter—which is why you can skip the whole thing by not asking in the first place.

Confessional

There are very few times I have ever asked for advice on a big change or transition. Almost none.

I often ask about the details of the change: “How should I do this?” But I never ask about the vision: “Where am I going?” I already know where I’m going. It’s my life; it’s my plan.

I know that some people will think this is arrogant. But forget about me and just step back to look at your own life. You know yourself better than anyone else ever will. Who else could possibly be qualified to advise you on the business of you? It’s your life and your plan.

So go ahead, get advice on the specifics. But leave the big picture to yourself. You are never obligated to solicit or receive feedback from anyone.

###

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80 Comments

  • Dave says:

    What a great way to kickoff the week. I can think of a few big life decisions where I didn’t seek anyone else’s council, but the one that scared me the most…staying in Colombia for 6 months after already being on the road for 15, lead to a flurry of emails to trusted friends. Most of them had the same advice — do what you want. Your parents might be upset by it, very upset, but they’ll get over it.

    I stayed in Colombia, had a great time, and guess what? My parents eventually got over it.

    One of my biggest life lessons to date, and I think I’d feel stronger to make such a decision in the future without the input of a dozen people first. 🙂

  • Jen Zeman says:

    Great Monday morning post! I learned a long time ago to only trust myself on any matters concerning my life. When I used to ask my father for advice on something his response was almost always, “I don’t know what to tell you.” At the time (when I was a teenager) I thought he was being a jerk, but I realized years later he was really doing me a favor. He was forcing me to make the decision on my own and not rely on what he thought was right or wrong.

  • Thanks Chris for a different take. A saying I love that came out at wds fits this well:
    “Don’t compare your inside with someone else’s outside.”
    It might take practice tuning into you own compass – its not something commonly taught in the mainstream – but only you know what really lights you up. And life is better all round when you live from that lit up place.

  • seems to me, asking permission indicates a lack of passion. when you do what you do because you LOVE what you do, you don’t care what others think. you don’t care if you succeed, even. you just know that the voice in your head will not be silent until you pursue your passion. when you believe you are made to do what you do, the voice in your head trumps the voice of others every time.

  • Doreen says:

    This really resonated with me this morning, Chris. Thank you.

  • Aaron says:

    Launched a new product today! Didn’t ask permission. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • Ever since I decided to stop worrying about what other people think and started living life according to the hell yeah plan, I’ve been loving every second of it. Including the hard work parts. I wish I’d discovered this earlier, but nevertheless I’m glad I made the decision to do things my own way.

  • Aaron says:

    That said, when I moved my family to Turkey I did seek out wise council – a few trusted friends and family though, not 15! The impact was on more than just me though.

  • Great post. Sometimes when you read things they just resonate with you. This post did that for me. Why do we insist on receiving other people’s permission to follow our dreams? Yes, so often we do just that.

    I hope to make it to the World Domination Summit next year. Keep up the great work!

  • Benjamin says:

    I’ve been in the process of setting up my own ROCKING website and have been searching for council.
    In some cases, it has really helped to get the ideas of other people…

    AS LONG AS they resonate with me as well.

    Great post, Chris.

  • Lee says:

    I could be your case study 100 times over for this one. It must have started in elementary school when I had a big gash on my knee and decided to read my Boy Scout manual, clean it, and bandage it before giving my mom the shock. Then there was the whole “getting an undergraduate degree in Japan” thing and after that the “get married at 21 thing”.

    Thinking about it, most of my life has been determined this way. I even remember writing about it when asked “who is your biggest influence?” on an eighth grade paper.

  • I still let my parents get to me at times, they want nothing more of me than to be in a secure cubicle in middle management.

    I guess they missed the signs of me growing up: at 8 I was collecting interest on snack/gift shop money at my private school, at 12 I created a Babysitters Club, at 14 I created a swim school that lasted thru the age of 24 (when my first job out of college offered me less than what I made at the age of 16 . . I tried but didn’t last long). Then a Health Education business that was so awesome . . and now a Senior Citizen tech assistance biz.

    At times, I still let others get to me, at times I have this urge to be “normal” but then I find a community like yours that reminds there is no normal. And then I breathe a sigh of relief that there are many others just like me having a fantastic life. =)

  • For me, the act of seeking advice from many people is a safety net. If your idea fails, it’s easy to say that you got some bad advice. I am guilty of this and often suffer from paralysis by analysis by asking too many people and then never making a decision because I end up so confused.

    I’m going to try and implement the “hell yeah!” method and see how it works.

  • Jack Bennett says:

    The vision is important to keep close to your heart.

    The implementation details are where you can seek “wise counsel” – you’ve already identified the direction / passion / goal / (whatever you want to call it) and are figuring out the specific ways to get it done.

    In other words, “what?” and “why?” are yours alone. “How?” is the area where you can bring in the advisors and create a team, where necessary.

  • Jenny says:

    Just what I needed to read today!
    That and listening to the Glee cast version of Born This Way on repeat.
    Happy Monday! 🙂

  • Leah says:

    I think this is a little short-sighted.

    For you in a solopreneur, information product environment, you won’t lose real money if you put something out there that no one buys. For many other business models, asking for opinions on an idea is called market research. There’s a whole industry around this because many companies would be in dire dire straits if they just invested millions of dollars willy-nilly into whatever new idea they dreamed up. Where @Christina might assume that’s lacking passion, many businesses call it ensuring profit.

  • Leonard says:

    Getting everything ready for a big move this week, ask 6 different people for advice. Got 6 different answers ,made me doubt my decision. But now “hell yeah” !

  • Lana B. says:

    I agree. Really big decisions have to come from our own core, because we are the ones who will live with the outcome. And here’s a funny thing I have noticed in my own life: gathering a lot of advice on a potentially life-changing move doesn’t make the decision any easier. In fact, it distracts us from making that very move. It only clouds the decision making process.

  • Leah Shapiro says:

    This post gets a big “Hell Yhea” from me!

    I spend so much time helping people unwind the belief that someone else knows what’s best for them, when the reality is that we are each our own best adviser.

    Rock on Chris!

  • Hell Yeah Chris, I am going to take this opportunity not to check in with my coach and go ahead and offer a WTF.

    I have been following your blog and books for about a year now and I love your views and approach to life and business. Your results speak for themselves, however, no need to go after the coaches to make a point. With two slams on coaches in a row, I get the feeling you might have it out for us. I get your point but there is much more to coaching than been there done that.

    Yes there are bad coaches and yes there are bad travel hacker/bloggers.

    I could easily classify you as a coach yourself and I am sure you have plenty of areas where you lack success, so therefore, maybe I should quit following you.

    But I won’t, since I know you mean well. Might you consider the same for the coaches in your bunch. We are just trying to change the world just like you.

    Keep up the good work.

    Brian Monahan

  • gwyn says:

    I agree Chris, as I have always been a figure it out myself kind of person. However, I have stubbornly learned there are times when input helps.

    Sometimes I get so hyper-focused on an original idea that I fail to see the details that aren’t working. Then it’s time for a critique by someone or a few someones I trust to tell me the truth.

    Love what you say about what qualifies someone to advise. It is indeed hard in this world with so many so called experts to know.

    Bottom line, big personal choices and decisions come form the gut.

  • I tend to spend way too much time trying to ‘figure it out’ before taking a risk. It’s nice to get some perspective but I find myself missing out on opportunities lately because I am being too ‘cautious’. I rarely regret the mistakes I have made; I actually only regret not doing something I thought would be great at the time.

    I like the ‘hell yeah’ test as a measure of what I should be doing. Thanks.

  • Scott Avery says:

    I’m glad you raised the point about people advising as life coaches and business coaches who have never owned and succeeded at that business. It is often something I see that plagues every specific industry. In contracting it really leads the field astray because so many “experts” want to chase the easiest dollar without the integrity to admit they have never owned a business.

  • I cannot find the Thoreau quote, but there is a good one in Walden about not looking up to the elderly as the gatekeepers of wisdom. That’s what many position themselves to be…gatekeepers of wisdom, only it is free, and omnipresent, and within. – JSJ

  • Nasser Ugoji says:

    I lived with the flow of life and was naively content. In the past I had heard the advice, “ask for advice, talk to people about what you are doing”. So I decided to give it a try. It eventually led to confusion which can only be cured by taking control of things (in other words reducing the quality of lifestyle) but a lot of damage has already been done to my innate decision making process. So I now conform more to the decisions of the standard. However this is just one of the journeys of life. I hope to grow from this experience and imbibe more of what you suggest in your message e.g. “instead of going out and asking people, skip that whole process and just do what feels best to you.”. I figured out no matter how well I tell of my situation, no one other than me can understand the critical needs and history of the events propelling me to where I wish to go.

  • Frances says:

    Loved this post!
    I had an opportunity brought to me not too long ago and my first reaction was “Hell Yeah”. I didn’t consult anyone, not even my husband. It felt so right for me and is the direction I want to take my career in. I now have a game plan in place to be out of corporate America in 6-12 months. I can’t wait for that day.

  • Steve MacCormack says:

    Great post!! always go with your own gut…more times than not it knows the right thing. I can remember numerous times from my past where I didn’t listen to my gut and got bitten!!

    thanks again…I’m glad the World domination gig was a success bro!

  • First time I’ve commented here, but I’m an avid reader of your blog Chris and loved this post today, couldn’t agree more with it with one small caveat – you particularly highlight business or life coaches in terms of giving advice, but as any good coach knows coaching is not about offering advice, but rather about helping people to clarify their own thoughts and how they might best take some kind of action if they’re feeling stuck or unsure. Often for people it can simply be a case of knowing they want to make a change or do something different, but they haven’t got a clue where to start, let alone what their vision is, coaching facilitates them coming up with their own answers. So you are absolutely right when you say ‘who else could possibly be qualified to advise you on the business of you? It’s your life and your plan…’, but that’s the very foundation on what coaching is based on. It’s great when you have a vision as you have with The Art of Non Conformity, but there are many people who are not in that position or don’t have a plan for which coaching can help, along with a ‘hell yeah’ approach!

    ATB Tamsin (a coach who certainly hasn’t got it all figured out 😉

  • Lana Sheaffer says:

    Read an essay long ago by John Paul Sartre on this topic. He said that we predetermine our answer by our choice of an expert. Through the years I’ve seen how true this is and consult my inner guide. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Tara says:

    I have previously asked advice or allowed myself to be influenced by others on major life decisions, and that was a mistake. I don’t do that any more, since the only person who can really know what’s right for me is me. And I totally agree with the Hell Yeah concept! If you don’t get that deep YES feeling, it’s not the right path.

  • Mae says:

    Thank you. Your outlook is very different and I very much appreciate it and your generosity.

  • Ana says:

    Only you can make the decisions that you know are right for you. Usually we know deep down if we are honest with ourselves. I like to bounce things by an inner circle of friends who are very supportive yet willing to play devil’s advocate. Sometimes it’s more about saying it out loud than anything else. Although when you have an idea about your life or a project it’s good to keep it to yourself until it’s really a solid feeling. When your idea or thought is brand new, that’s when it is endangered by others advice. Once it is something concrete you can either take what you are told as interesting/helpful information or disregard it.

  • Jo says:

    I find that it’s easy to spend much of the day numb, when one is dependent on a full time income. Checking websites, avoiding work, doing work, e-mailing colleagues. While I have a few more months of full time (9-5, traditional) work to go, I’m challenged to focus on the things that I find awesome, and to try to focus on intentional exchanges/communication.

  • Jeremy says:

    I agree whole heartedly. I can happily say I am a person that has a piece of paper that allows me to give other people advice. But as a person who is just a hardworker and not exceptional I probably should not have recieved the paper according to the masses. This goes to show that you can do what you want. But as some have said sometimes you need the advice. That is what I give I want my clients to have options and they need to learn how to make decisions. It is easy to go to someone for help all the time and just really on them. Courage is taking what you have learned and experienced and going with that.

  • The Peter says:

    Awesome. Next time my Dad calls and suggests that I ought to go back to college, I’m just gonna tell him to suck it!

  • Deborah A. says:

    I’m currently making my living as a self-taught mosaic tile artist. Two of the processes I use are on their way to being patented because I didn’t bother to ask the ‘professional’ ceramicists for the proper way to obtain the results I wanted. To much education ‘can’ be a bad thing and at times stunt creativity!

  • It’s important to ask yourself what you’re seeking advice on.

    Advice in some areas is critical, i.e. legal and tax advice for businesses. Sound advice can save your assets, the financial future of those you love and the people who depend on you for jobs.

    But on a personal, intuitive level, your attorneys and CPAs cannot speak for the work you should do, only the repercussion and implications of the work you intend to do.

    It’s up to you to figure out the difference.

  • Y Wolfe says:

    Coincidental timing. I’m being offered a temp to perm chance with an industry that I have no passion or interest in. I needed a gig. I may not care for it-but I’m incredibly good at it. My problem isn’t capability it’s that I have no idea what I want to do, despite all the literature on finding one’s passion. I try to live “hell yeah”. Post-college I went to S.E Asia by myself for 5 months on a one-way ticket. Felt right and was certainly Hell Yeah.

    Advice says, don’t jump ship till you have another to sail on, but I would feel terrible ditching a company one month into being perm. If I say yes, I say yes and go in all the way. Outdated morals, I guess. In 2 weeks, I either go back to being unemployed and temping…or go perm for a solid chunk of time (to counteract my fragmented temp resume). My insides say, don’t take the job. It’s not hell yeah, it’s not what I want to do. But, its money and everyone that has supported my other unconventional hell yeah’s doesn’t support this.

    I just don’t want to make a stupid decision. Sure, it might be a hell yeah, but not all were created equal. Is a “meh” ever worth it for a bigger hell yeah later? Or is that just non-hell-yeah thinking?

  • AnnW says:

    Good advice. People used to always do what their lawyers, accountants, and doctors said. They are often wrong. Also, most financial planners are people that took a course and have almost no experience. I know because I have a Wall Street background. (In New York, not the hinterlands). One thing that I have found from experience: Always do the right thing. My relatives that have problems didn’t do that. If you do the right thing, you can sleep at night. Most decisions are common sense. You can’t buy that.

  • AnnW says:

    To YWolfe: You don’t know what you want to do. The door to an opportunity is open. You might find that you like this industry. You will certainly make contacts and meet more people. Being employed full time is good for your life, your health, your resume. I would advise taking this job. If you are incredibly good at it, you might get promoted and use new skills. You might learn something that will help your overall business life. A lot of life is dealing with experiences you are not interested in. Ann W

  • This post rocks my world. LOVE IT. I feel the same way. It’s not disrespectful. Just because someone is older does not make the wiser. And it doesn’t mean they know enough about your or your life to give you advice. Back in the day, you were wise if you were smart enough to stay alive to be old. That’s not the case anymore… I know plenty of older individuals who’s advice should not be taken.

    I do agree with asking people who’ve done something you want to do for feedback and the HOW of making it happen. Yes, THEY are wiser in this situation because they’ve done it. But YOU are the only one who will know if something is RIGHT FOR YOU. Thanks for this great post Chris! xo

  • Jean Burman says:

    Hell yeah… that makes sense [grin]

    Thanks Chris 🙂

  • Tim Grover says:

    Brilliant post! I suffer too frequently from “analysis paralysis” instead of doing the Hell Yeah thing. If you’re reasonably well-read and been around the block a few times, why is it so hard to trust our gut? Especially when the “experts” so often have it wrong.

  • I always get so excited when I find people writing in ways that encourage themselves and others to listen to that genuine inner voice. In therapy, I consider helping people find their own voice and then act in accordance with it to be the most important pieces of my work. Thanks for the powerful post!

  • Sylvia Black says:

    You know, this honestly never occured to me before, but I don’t think I’ve ever (or at least very rarely) sought advice on big changes either. Not when I decided to travel abroad, either time. Not when I went vegetarian, and then vegan. Not when picking a university, or a major, or changing that major, and not when starting a business. I just made up my own mind and then informed the people around me. Interesting! I never realized that about myself.

    All tha aside, I think this is great advice. I still have a tendency to try to stock up on information before doing anything (especially business-related) in order to avoid making as many mistakes as possible. It’s helpful up to a point, but after that point it starts to paralyze me. It’s just recently that I’ve been starting to internalize that maybe I need to make some of those mistakes anyway – or that if I do, it’s really okay.

  • Amy Nieto says:

    I’ve had friends ask me, “Should I move to So and So city”? Oh, boy. That is one of those decisions you described above. It HAS to come from you, not from others. Thank you for sharing this. As usual, it is an advice worth remembering. Cheers!

  • Completely what I needed to hear to kick off this week. My own way of saying this is I have to look ahead and move forward instead of standing still and looking sideways. Thanks for the perfectly timed, kickass post, Chris! Hell Yeah.

  • Andrea James says:

    Chris: I love this and thank you for alerting me to the “hell yeah” test!! What fun!

    You and I are different here. I always seek counsel of people I trust, professors, friends, family, before making a big decision. I don’t spend a ton of time ruminating, dwelling (I blogged about “just decide” once, link below), but I do like hearing other people’s opinions.

    The difference, is, that the decision is ultimately mine. I don’t always take other people’s opinions and make them fully mine. Also, sometimes I’m pretty hell bent on what I’m going to do anyway, and in those cases, another’s opinion helps me to avoid pitfalls, ask the right questions and be on the lookout.

    I agree, thought that sometimes you’ve got to forge your own way and make your own mistakes.

    Maximize the moment. And jump.

  • emma says:

    All I have to say about this post is… hell, yeah.

  • As far as asking advice on specifics, like “What would you like to see more of on my blog?” SurveyMonkey is a great tool—and it’s free. As far as the vision-casting is concerned though, if you’re not the one doing it for yourself, you’ll end up lost in the wilderness of other people’s opinions and good intentions. Research and polling leads to paralysis after awhile. Go out and do it.

  • Amber says:

    I grew up believing everything I did was a mistake and never trusted my own decisions or opinions about anything.

    After a decade or so, I’m realizing most people I know don’t have a clue or at least I know just as much or even more so sometimes.

  • Hell yeah! Totally agree with this advice.
    My thought is always no one else will care about your life as much as you. They don’t know what you know, what your dreams are, what your abilities are or where your strengths lie.
    They will always say what you can and can’t do based on their own limitations and experiences. They will set it too low for you.
    I rarely take advice from others because I believe in myself and my ability to know what is right for me.
    I have only royally f###ed up once. But, when i look at it, I really acted against what my inner voice told me to do. I have people in my life who didn’t think that was the right choice, and part of my frustration with it not working out and learnign this lesson is because I knew how smugly self satisfied they would be to know they were right. In the end this is all other people care about for you, whether they were right or wrong. She tried to dig into me the other day to let me know what a fool I was and how right she was. I shut her down immediately with these words.
    “it was just a mistake that is all. And it was my mistake to make. I’ve learned from it and I have moved on.”

  • Sun Sun says:

    Some of my family members like to make decisions for me. I know they’ve got more experiences than me and I’m sure they know a lot that i don’t, but I’m really sick of all those advices. I totally agree that they can tell me how to do instead of what to do. If they really wanna help me, or really advice for my own good, then they should support my decision and help me reach my goal.

  • Christina says:

    The question that’s been helpful to me is “Will I regret NOT doing this?” I decided that I never want to look back and think “What would have happened if…” Better to fail miserably and know the outcome instead of wasting time wondering. Nice post.

  • Laura George says:

    This echoes a lot of what I’ve been learning lately about myself. Truly, from teensy things to gigantic things, I feel better when I decide them for myself and when I go with my instinct. If I over-think it, I’ll be using other people’s opinions even if I haven’t asked them. And I make the better decisions for me when I decide myself.

    Plus, my instinct tends to be right! 🙂

  • Rhonda says:

    I have allowed myself to be derailed from making my own decisions and keeping promises to myself way too many times. I truly focus on making decisions on my own as much as is profitable at this point in my life. At day’s end, and life’s end, we only have ourselves to blame for not living a passionate life, or ourselves to thank for choosing a true path and sticking with it. Yea for believing in oneself. Yea for saying, “No thanks” to bad advice.

  • C says:

    There speaks someone who has never taken a big risk in his life that has turned bad.
    It’s the voice of a theorist for whom things have generally worked out OK having taken on a few adventures, but not real risks.

    A real risk is something with a big potential downside.
    The real experience is when it doesn’t work out and you face the reality of the serious downside.

    Flying off somewhere or quitting a job is not taking a big risk.

    As far as asking other opinions is concerned the value is in raising your awareness. No individual has the ability to be completely aware. The art is to listen and evaluate.

  • I’m currently backpacking around Ecuador. What I’m loving about the traveling experience is that it’s encouraging me to stop following Lonely Planet, and start following my gut instinct.

    From Lachy

  • Owen Marcus says:

    Before you ask – know what you feel and want.

    What I see take people out is they are going around asking when they don’t really know what they want and how they feel about it. It is easy to run with someone else’s opinions when you don’t know what is behind yours.

    I try to go in before I go out. That means I get a sense of what I want, why I want it and what does all that feel like. Once I have a grounded vision of what I want, then I may ask for advice.

    Jonathan Fields closing presentation at your WDS had all of us laughing. As he related your call to him where he asked you if you had done any of what you were planning to do with the WDS and you continued to respond with no… then he ask if you were going to do it. You said yes.

    I agree, you don’t need to know how to embark on the journey. You just need an intention backed with action.

  • Jodi says:

    100% agreed.

    I would like to offer one comment about your reference to coaches. A good coach does not give advice at all, but will ask questions designed to help you get clear on what it is that you really want. Great coaching can help a great deal in making choices along your path. I had a wonderful woman who helped me make a very important change in my life 4 years ago and I’ve been clearer ever since.

    Thanks for your articles – just don’t want to see people throw all coaches out with the bathwater!

  • Andre says:

    It’s amazing how some things are so obvious, but we lack the perspective to think about them.
    Great take on the topic, Chris! Thanks.

  • John Sherry says:

    Ask for advice if you want people to change your mind, your plan, or your end result and because you don’t have full ownership within you for what you are/will be doing. Don’t ask when you only need your own permission. Advice often equals more confusion.

  • Caris Adel says:

    What an inspiring post. I wonder if sometimes people ask those questions because deep down they’re afraid to go for it, even if they really want to. Having someone else offer up a ‘no’ validates their fear and makes it easier to give in to the fear instead of saying hell, yeah and trying it.

  • I really like the “Hell yeah!” test. Hell yeah, I’ll quit my day job to be an author and coach! Hell yeah, I’ll get married to the woman of my dreams. Hell yeah!

  • Sheila says:

    I give advise all the time in the course of my work. The most successful people I have worked with put the most value on their own decision making ability. That doesn’t mean they don’t listen and learn, but they take away what works for them. As well as anyone knows you, you know better if you listen to your heart.

    If I have a client who runs around to get everyone’s opinion, I know it’s probably going to go nowhere because they’ll get paralyzed. It’s a lot like reading the reviews on Amazon before you decide to buy the book…the more you read the 1 and 2 star reviews the more you question your choice.

  • Marianney says:

    It takes a lot of confidence to not ask for help or advice. And maybe that’s what I’ve been missing all this time. What an eye-opener.

    I’m going to start asking myself the “hell yeah” question when the doubts creep in. 🙂

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi. How fortunate you are. Maybe even privileged to have the health and soundness of mind to trust your intuition and judgments without consulting anyone else. I know many many of us who have a hell-ya that gets us…well closer to a hellava mess.

    I am an entrepreneur but I know it takes a LOT of support to follow my own wisdom. Why? I blame it on the power of mirror neurons, those little bits of me that make me an instant cultural copycat. Should I feel bad about this? Hell-no. Its nature. And hey it turns out that we are not solo creatures.

    I love your message on the level of deep listening, though. I work with a guy just like you. He is my inspiration. I also notice I don’t see too many wise=guys like the two of you. So I try not to take it personally when I need help.

  • I’m so inspired by this post. I have to tell you, as someone who asks advice on almost everything, I often find myself feeling unproductive, indecisive, and defeated. I worry I won’t get things right, and that if I choose wrong, I’ll be doomed. Total story, I know.

    I’m going to give the “hell yeah” test a shot. I think it’s probably the perfect test for me, and I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks for writing this, Chris.

  • Michael Max says:

    Yeah! Knew it in my bones when I read it.
    “Make your own big decisions, ask for advice on the details.”

    Certainly has worked well for me in this life, and has opened the most interesting of doors.

    Thanks for the reminder

  • Wayne says:

    I don’t think it’s being arrogant at all. It’s taking personal responsibility for who we are and who we will become. Perhaps we seek so many opinions because we are afraid. I’ve been afraid when about to venture out into something that could crash and burn. I still become afraid sometimes. But I’ve found that even during the rough times, I wouldn’t go back and do it someone else’s way. If my path is rough for a while, then that’s OK. Better to be free “on the road” than subservient in the gilded change of the opinions of others.

  • I always find that after considering all the information relevant to making a good decision the final call is made by how I feel in my gut. All the info can point to “yes” but if my gut says “no” then “no” is the answer.

    The gut check has worked well for people for years and I can’t see it changing any time soon.

  • Billie Jo says:

    I will occasionally ask advice from a few trusted people–my boyfriend, my best friend, and my college advisor-turned-trusted-mentor. However, even these people who know me better than anyone else have their own ideas of what they think I should be doing. So, no matter what they might say, I always listen to their advice through the filter of “What is my gut telling me?” Many times, they tell me what they think I should do, but my physical reaction to the advice tells me to go the complete opposite direction…and I listen to it. If I know I’d be miserable doing what everyone else thinks I should do, why do it?

    Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. And nothing great was ever made by committee. Listen to yourself!

    Thanks for the post, Chris!

  • Stephen Davy says:

    Trusting your gut is absolutely vital as you say, but sometimes we get so muddled up with over thinking at’s difficult to hear what the gut says! I’ve often had trouble making decisions about important things, until I started taking the pressure off. Now I ask what feels like fun? Happy feelings in your body seem right to me.
    Though I make lots of mistakes, but hey… Making mistakes for yourself is all part of the process, otherwise we’d actually listen to what our parents or teachers told us in the first place!

  • I’m completely down with the underlying emphasis on being the author of your own life and I agree that asking for input can result in giving away power, especially if the query comes from insecurity in the first place. However, if you’re coming from a confident place, outside input can be fun, collaborative and contributive. Two examples come to mind:

    When naming my daughter, I put together a surveymonkey of ten names and asked friends to rate how much they liked each name as well as what each name suggested to them. The results gave me insight into how her name might be perceived by others and also created a super fun document for the future which I think my daughter will love having.

    Recently, when I was trying to decide which direction to go next my life, I wrote a blogpost and facebook post sharing my Values, Skills, Interests and Personality and asked people who know me and those who don’t, what future possibilities come to mind. I got many insightful responses and much of what I already knew was supported. I also received new ideas I hadn’t thought of which deepened my thinking.

    If you can ask for input without giving away power, then doing so can be beneficial.

  • Courtney says:

    I absolutely, positively, love, love, love this! So on point with an experience I just had last week. Thanks for articulating what I’ve been feeling all along–my hell yeah moment is right now!

  • Jon says:

    Ironically I learned this concept on my own after realizing that a lot of people that I thought knew had it all together really didn’t. Some things that I thought they’d knew, they’d give me the same response I gave them. Some people even make money not having a clue but reassuring others they do. More often than not, I tend to just do what I feel is best. It’s a bit scary at times, but deep down I really know the answer. It’s hard to meet people who are open minded and not stuck in their tunnel vision traditional ways, so I tend to stick to myself most often. I neither solicit advice nor take it often because people usually don’t want it. They just want to hear what they’re already thinking most of the time. Experience will tell you everything you need to know, and even though it’s scary to jump in, it needs to be done. Sometimes ignorance can be a good thing. I remember when I used to fly on helicopters, and an instructor would always mention how rookie pilots and flight engineers were never really scared, but that’s because they had no clue how badly something could end up. That’s how life is.

  • Macson says:

    No matter how bad the current situation is, there is always something good to be learned.

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