How To Follow Advice Without Betraying Yourself
By Leo Gura - June 30, 2014 | 5 Comments
How to apply self-help advice to create exceptional results without betraying your values.
Hey, this is Leo, for Actualized.org and in this video what I want to talk about is how to follow personal development advice.
All right, welcome back. Let’s talk about how to follow personal development advice. Why is this even important? Why am I shooting a video on this topic?
There’s A Disconnect
Actually I started to shoot this video and the reason I got an idea for it is because I’ve shot a lot of video now, there’s a lot of video out there on my website and on my YouTube channel and people have been responding. I’ve been looking at the comments and one of the things that I’m noticing is that there’s a little bit of a disconnect between my style of delivery and the way that I want you to be receiving the information. So here’s what I mean by this.
The whole general theme here is that I want you to be an independent thinker. You have to take everything that you hear, whether it’s from me or it’s from anybody else that’s teaching you anything in life, any kind of wisdom that you take or advice that you hear from other people, there’s a certain way that you need to go about implementing it, and hearing it and receiving it so that you’re getting maximum results in your life from that advice. The fact of the matter is there’s a lot of people out in the world, especially nowadays, that would be giving you advice, free advice, paid advice, whatever. Your friends, your family, stuff you buy, books you read, videos you watch on YouTube or anywhere else.
The important thing here is to realize that no matter who you’re listening to, no matter how smart they are, how wise they are, or how much of an expert they are in whatever field they’re teaching you, when they’re giving you a piece of advice, that’s something that they learned themselves. The best advice is usually a combination of stuff that you learn through learning and book smarts as you might call it, theory and best practices, but then also in combination with your own life experiences. When those two things come together you get a very solid piece of advice, a lesson for yourself which then you can then distill and pass down as advice to other people.
Somebody might give you relationship advice, or some business advice, or advice about school, or the way that you should run your job or your career or whatever else, and the problem with that is they’ve got their own biases. Everyone who’s telling you anything has their own biases. I’m no different. I’ve got my own biases too. It goes even deeper than just biases, it also goes down to values.
See, every human being has certain values that they have. These values, you either grow up with them, you develop them as you’re growing up, maybe even some of them are biologically instilled in you from your genetics and from your family background and all that stuff. So you’re growing up and eventually come up and you become an adult. By the time you’re an adult you have values you’re living your life by.
Most people don’t consciously know what their values are which is a problem in and of itself – I’ve talked about it in other videos – but the idea here is that these values, there’s about ten of them that really govern your life, these are like core principles by which you live. This is the stuff that you find very important to you. For every person that’s slightly different and for some people it’s radically different.
You can take two people who have radically different values. This will explain why they pursue radically different things in their life, why they lead totally different types of lives, why they hang out with totally different types of people, and why they have different types of problems in their lives. This being the case, just by the way that advice is structured by the way these videos are structured, I’m delivering my videos to you, the stuff that I’ve learned and I’ve really taken advice from numerous sources, hundreds of different places, books, incredible authors and all the people and clients that I’ve worked with, so there’s a lot of different perspectives that I’m synthesizing and bringing to you, but still it’s coming through the filter of me. It’s my values that are getting filtered here, so when I’m delivering something I try and deliver it forcefully.
I think that’s one of the problems in self-development is that sometimes you get a week to delivery, a waffley delivery. People will tell you, maybe you should do this, and maybe you should do that, and because of this, you end up not doing anything because it’s very easy to just say, “Well, it doesn’t really matter” or you’re not really clear. I want to give you crystal clear advice and I think there’s some really hard and fast principles that you have to follow if you want to be successful and happy in life and create the kind of extraordinary life that you want.
It’s Not A Free Size Solution
I’m sharing these with you, but in the end I’ve got my values. I’ve got certain values about relationships, I have certain values about money, I have certain values about career and business and health and fitness. This is the kind of stuff that my advice is getting filtered through, these values. Which is why sometimes I’ll say something, but in the end if you’re watching a lot of my videos, you don’t want to just be taking it wholesale, because what works for me, even though I try to take out what is particular to me, what worked for me, what works for some of the clients that I have doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you.
You might be different in some important way. There might be something in your life that’s different. You might be living in a country where the political circumstances are different. Maybe you grew up in a big family so family is very, very important to you and you value that so that’s going to shift what you’re chasing in life. Maybe you had some very traumatic events early in your life that have shaped who you are. Maybe you have a physical disability, or a disease or a health problem that I don’t have or that an average person doesn’t have.
If this is the case, then you need to apply what I’m telling you with some intelligence, not blindly. That’s what this video is trying to tell you, to be intelligent about the way that you apply some of the stuff that I’m sharing with you. You have to trust yourself above anyone else in life. I see a lot of times people don’t do this.
It sounds simple when you say it, but a lot of times people go out there and they’ll listen to one person here and another person there and they’ll just be like a leaf blowing in the wind. They take the advice and the opinions of other people or even society, or organizations or social constructs. They’ll take those as more important than their own opinions. This is a problem because nobody can really tell you what’s going to fit in with your life.
No one’s going to really tell you what fits in with your values. No one knows. Only you can know that. Even for you, that’s a struggle. It takes time. It takes months and years to really understand what will fit in for you and your life, what will align with you, what will really make you fulfilled.
Maybe you get into a relationship and you get married because everyone around you is getting married, everyone’s telling you you should get married, and so you get married, but then later on you find out that actually marriage is not something that was right for you because you’ve got some quirks and you’ve got some different values and you don’t like to be held in a marriage. Maybe people are telling you to go get a nine-to-five job and become an Engineer or a Computer Programmer, and so you go and do that, and you think that that’s going to work for you, but then after a few years of doing that you realize, you know what? Engineering and Programming aren’t what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about art. I’m really passionate about working with people or something like that.
These are simple kinds of situations. You can extrapolate these out and just imagine, beyond this, all the different things that people are telling you, that culture is telling you. If you are just blindly following those and vacuuming them up, you’re sucking them up without thinking about them, then your life is not going to be very happy. It’s not going to be very fulfilling.
The whole secret to life is you’re this complex rich and unique machine running through life and so you’re trying to set up life so that the circumstances that are around you are the way that you want them to be, not the way your mom wants them to be, or your dad, or your brother, or your sister, or whoever else in your life, or even me. That’s why the stuff that I’m giving to you, you have to custom tailor. You have to be open minded enough to hear it.
A Fine Line Between Open And Closed Mindedness
This doesn’t mean to be closed minded. This is a very important distinction because I see a lot of people who make this mistake. They close their mind and they tell themselves immediately, “Oh well, I’m very different. This couldn’t work for me. Oh well, I’m very different I have this condition life or I have this life circumstance. I don’t have money or I don’t have a relationship, I was abused when I was younger”, and so because of this now this advice that I’m giving to you, you’re going to say it’s not going to work.
It’s a little bit of walking a fine line. You have to be able to develop a trust within yourself. At the same time you have to do two things: on the one hand you have to be open-minded. That means that whatever ideas or advice is being thrown your way you have to be able to listen to it, to hear it, to honestly intelligently entertain it and then maybe even go out and try it, play around and experiment with it.
On the other hand you also have to be the final arbiter. You’re like the ultimate of the authority on yourself so you have to tell yourself, “You know what, this thing that you’re telling me Leo it’s really not going to work because I have some experience and it doesn’t really fit with my values, it doesn’t really fit with who I am, so this part of the advice really isn’t going to work”.
That’s okay. I want you to be doing that. Sometimes I’ll challenge people in the comments sections. Sometimes they tell me that wouldn’t work or this wouldn’t work, and I challenge them very sternly and I kind of clash with them.
The reason I do that is for the following reason. It’s not that I think everyone should believe what I believe. It’s not because I think people should honor my exact set of values and that everyone should live exactly like me. I don’t want to create a million mirror images of me. That’s silly. That’s not going to work.
What I want though, is I want you to be not having ego defenses up. This is what I notice with a lot of people especially victims. People who are victims in life and really stuck.
For example, I want to talk about depression, or when I talk about anger control, or when I talk about taking responsibility for your life. A lot of time what I do there is I tell people what they’re doing wrong and why they are stuck in life. Their ego will feel threatened by it and so what it does is the mind is closes down and it immediately starts to come up with excuses and justifications on why the information that it heard is wrong. It starts to demonize the information.
One of the reasons that will happen is your ego defense will say, “Well this person is not like me at all. What does he know about my life? How could he possibly know the abuse I had as a child? How could he possibly know the crippling depression that I’m under? How could he possibly know about that horrible, depressing relationship where I was used and manipulated and abandoned? How could he know about all that stuff? I’m sure that he doesn’t have those things in his life so if he doesn’t have those things in his life, how can I relate to him? How could his advice actually work?”
It’s Not Black And White
It a little bit hard because on the one hand I want to deliver this advice very clearly, clear-cut advice. On the other hand I can’t make it totally black and white because there’s a lot of grey area. It’s this kind of balance between me being very clear and black and white and on the other hand allowing you to customize what you want from the advice that you’re getting. You need both.
If you don’t manage this right what’s going to happen is your mind’s going to close, the ego defenses will come up, you won’t hear the advice and so you’ll miss the amazing opportunity that some of this information, wisdom, can have on you so that’ll keep you stuck. On the other hand if you follow me blindly then you’re probably going to dishonor some of your values and that will also get you into some trouble. You don’t want to be doing either of those, you have to use your judgment.
I wish there was just a simple one, two, three formula that I could give you that you could just apply to everything that I’m saying and you would know what works and what doesn’t. In reality if it worked that way it would be too easy. There’s so much richness to life that you have to go out there and try experiment, but don’t use this as an ego defense to say that what I’m telling you can’t work for you.
What I want you to do is I want you to honestly believe that anything I say can work for you. You have to go out there and try it out. You have to put in a lot of effort. Do it honestly. Ultimately what’s going to determine if this is working for you or not is some hard and fast metrics.
Don’t Simply Judge Advice By How You Feel About It
Don’t judge your life or the advice that you get or the advice that you try to apply simply by how you feel about it or what you think will happen if you apply it. The way to judge the advice is to actually go out there and apply it and see the results. There’s two things here. You have to be growing constantly and you have to be getting better and better results.
If you’re getting these two things in your life then you’re using a strategy that’s good. You’re probably already doing that if you’re getting better and better results every day, every week, every year. Good! Maybe there’s a way we can make that even faster, make those results even super charge those. In that case you’re growing every single day, every single week, every single month, every single year. That’s what you want.
If you’re not doing that, and you’re noticing that you’ve kind of been stuck in the same place in your life for some time now, especially a couple of years or more, then you have to ask yourself, “Wait a minute, maybe there’s something here that I’m missing. Maybe some of these reasons that I’m following some of this advice is because of these ego defense mechanisms which can be very, very tricky, very self-manipulative, very self-sabotaging.”
What you’ve got to say to yourself is, “Wait a minute, have I been growing very consistently, vey powerfully over the last few years or not. If I haven’t, something is wrong.”
Or, “Wait a minute, have I been getting better and better results at my job, in my business, in my relationship, with my health, with my finances, with my internal emotional mood? Am I getting better and better at those every single year? Wait a minute, if I’m not, that means I’m using some sort of bad strategy”.
I can guarantee that if you use strategies the way that I’m using strategies, I’m taking stuff from all over the place and then I’m applying it in my life, I’m throwing stuff out too. I’m filtering stuff very heavily for what works for me. When I find those strategies the growth that I get is amazing.
That growth, you don’t have to wait years to feel it, you can see that growth in weeks. Literally in weeks you see that growth. When you’re really on the right track, you know you’re on the right track and that’s what I want for you. I want every year for you to be like a powerful, kickass year. Something where a year passes in your life and you can’t even recognize where you were a year ago.
This is not something that’s too lofty. In fact, pretty much every single year for me for the last five years I was having major, major growth to the point where I look back just one year, I can look back from today one year I’m like, damn! My life was so radically less than it is now. It’s like every year, expansion, expansion, expansion.
That’s why I’m excited to shoot these videos. I want that same expansion for you. When you get that taste of expansion it’s like man, that’s so amazing, just the feeling of knowing you’ve grown so much. Just that in and of itself for me is so rewarding.
Of course it’s not just that, it’s that your life is improving, you’re feeling better, you’re having more success, you’re getting success in all these areas in your life. It’s kind of like you’re putting together a big jigsaw puzzle and it’s a very customized jigsaw puzzle. Everyone’s is unique. That’s what’s beautiful about life, it’s that you’re crafting your own life.
Put The Basics In Place
I try to bring you the principles and the stuff that I think is just very fundamental. Sure, you’re going to customize a lot of stuff, but it’s also the case that there’s some basics that you have to have in place. For example, if we’re going to build a car, there’s a lot of detail to a car, there’s a lot of customization you can do, there’s a lot of cars out there.
Your taste in cars might be different than mine, but on the same level there’s a lot of similarities between cars too. Most of them have wheels, most of them have four wheels, most of them have tyres, most of them have an engine in the front, most of them have a trunk, most of them have rearview windows and mirrors… You’ve got all this stuff which is kind of the fundamentals.
What’s actually refreshing about that is if you get the basic fundamentals in place which are the same for most human beings to be happy and successful, then the details, you can customize those exactly how you want. That’s actually really rewarding because your life then, when you’re customizing these details and you’re doing this little fine tuning and polishing work on your life, it’s kind of like detailing a car. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and it’s a form of self-expression.
Your life can be a form of self-expression. Your life itself. The way you live it. The way you grow yourself. The things you involve yourself in. The kind of principles and values that you embody and live up to. That’s a powerful place to be in life and I want that for you. I want to help to put the fundamentals in place so you can then get curious and interested about that detail work.
All right. So this is the basics of how to follow my advice, but not just my advice, anybody’s advice. Use your brain, be a critical thinker, you are the final arbiter. In the end I can’t force you to do anything, nobody can force you to do anything, you are responsible completely for how your life goes, which advice you adopt, which advice you leave on the cutting room floor.
I want you to be intelligent. I want you ultimately to be nuanced, develop these characteristics within yourself. This is important because if you are going to be a black and white thinker or you’re going to be hemmed in with all these ego defenses, you’re going to be putting all these walls up against receiving new information from people and considering other perspectives, then your growth and success and happiness in life is going to be very, very limited and that’s not what we want here for you.
All right. This is Leo, I am signing off. Go ahead, post your comments down below, I’d love to hear from you. Like this video right now, click the like button. Share it with somebody, share it with a friend, post it on Facebook.
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