“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. ” –Steve Jobs
“You have to listen to the people who have a negative opinion as well as those who have positive opinion. Just to make sure that you are blending all these opinions in your mind before a decision is made.” –Carlos Ghosn
If you go into the marketplace and buy a product whose benefits were falsely advertised, you might get a refund on the money you spent. If you make life choices based on the opinions of others and you end up bemoaning the way your life turned out, no one is going to be able to give you a refund on your regrets. You’ll be expected to pick up your life from where it is and make the most of it.
If someone says, “don’t move to New York and pursue dancing because that’s a stupid idea” and you stay in Kansas until you’re 45 and you regret it, there’s really not much they can do for you. If it’s a nice person, they might apologize for giving you bad advice, but that still doesn’t get you very far. If you don’t like the way your life turns out, the world is ultimately going to treat you as if that’s your problem and your responsibility. Besides a relatively small number of close friends, loyal allies, and family members, you should never plan on the world-at-large being willing to take responsibility for your personal regrets.
For any given decision we might make, there are going to be people who have all sorts of passionately-held, confidently-expressed opinions about it. No matter what we do, there will be people in our lives who will regard some of our most important choices as being weird, bad, controversial, heretical, and so on. So when you factor other people’s advice into your decisions, you should base your conclusions on what is most compatible with your principles and your priorities, not merely on how passionate other people feel about what they’re saying. For instance, if someone says “you should marry x” and you’re in love with “y”, then you should be open-minded and think critically about what they say, but you should do so with an awareness of the fact that you (not other people) are the one who will have to live with the person you marry.
So maintain an open-mind towards all perspectives with an understanding that you are the one who’s going to have to take responsibility for the decisions you make. One of the harsh realities of the real world is that we are rarely able to get away with saying things like “but so and so told me that I should do it this way.” Even if such a thing were true, in most cases we’ll still be the ones held responsible for our actions. Something to always keep in mind when we’re adapting/adjusting our choices to the opinions of others.
If you act on someone’s suggestion and your decision yields an unwanted result, the person who gave you their advice is not going to magically jump inside of your body and experience the negative consequences for you. Those unwanted results will be delivered to your doorstep and they will have your name on them. You can point the finger and say “my misery is their fault.” But when you’re done being right, you’ll still have to go back to living your life while your adviser will carry on with business as usual.
There’s no refund for regret. If you don’t take ownership of your choices and results, the world will make you do it anyway. So before you take another’s advice, make sure you’re able to afford the price.