8 Pieces of Common but Terrible Life Advice You Should Ignore

Visual Freedom

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When it comes to personal growth, success, and life advice, there are very few universal laws that make sense for everyone. You’re different than me and I’m different than billions of other people on the planet, so it’s quite naive to think that the same advice might help us all.

And while the internet undoubtedly improved many aspects of our lives, it also has a downside: It allows everyone to share unsolicited and often even bad advice.

And even if a piece of advice might be well-intentioned, it can cause harm if given to the wrong person at the wrong time.

Even though today’s free access to information is a blessing, it can turn into a curse if you don’t reflect on the advice you find or receive.

Never Give Up

I often tell people that consistency is the key to success — regardless of what success means to you.

To be great at something, you need to practice it repeatedly. And if you quit too early, you’ll always miss that turning point where your practice will finally pay off.

Yet, this doesn’t mean that you should never give up.

Sometimes, giving up can indeed be a better and more efficient choice.

What to do instead:

If you want to build something big, you’ll need consistency and willpower. Yet, you also need to validate whether it’s time to give up and move on. You need to be honest and reflect on your path, even if it feels uncomfortable.

Otherwise, you might lose time, energy, and probably even money while fighting for a dream that’s not worth it or achievable anymore.

Sometimes, giving up before it’s too late can be a better choice than persevering despite difficulties. This applies to personal goals, to business, but also to relationships.

The earlier you realize that you’re on the wrong path, the better. You shouldn’t be afraid of quitting but of staying on the wrong track for too long.

Have a Plan B

If you always have a plan B in mind, you’ll never fully commit to your plan A because you’ll know that you have an alternative.

While having a plan B might give you security, it can also slow you down because you might not be dedicated to your plan A.

You’ll never give 100% if you know that you could also do something else. If you, however, have a strong desire to make your plan A work, you’ll find ways to solve the challenges you might encounter.

What to do instead:

“Have a plan B” is not a universally applicable piece of advice. It can make sense in certain situations but can also be a disadvantage.

If you really want something, it might be better to focus all your efforts on one thing only and stop thinking of alternatives.

Treat Others How You Want to Be Treated

This is the worst thing you can do if you want to build strong relationships.

By treating others the way you want to be treated, you’re ignoring their needs and wants.

“Treat others how you want to be treated” only works if the other person has the exact same values as you. But guess what? That’s not often the case.

What to do instead:

Instead of treating others the way you want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated.

According to the bestselling book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, there are five different ways to show appreciation:

  • Words of affirmation: Telling someone what you think and feel; an unexpected text, card, or call
  • Physical touch: Hugs, kisses, holding hands, intimacy
  • Receiving gifts: Thoughtful gifts and gestures
  • Quality time: Special moments spent together
  • Acts of service: Helping each other

Now, if your love language is receiving gifts, you might assume that your partner wants the same. But if her love language is words of affirmation and you keep bombarding her with gifts, she might feel less valued. This will upset her because she doesn’t get the attention she needs and it’s also going to frustrate you because you won’t get any appreciation for your efforts.

Don’t treat people the way you want to be treated. Figure out what they need.

Do What You Love

“Do what you love.” or “Follow your passion.” is one of the most common self-help tips.

99% of all self-improvement books will tell you that you need to do what you love in order to live a life you love.

Now, that’s not wrong per se. Of course, you’ll be happier if you do what you love. But what most people don’t understand is that you can’t just “do what you love” at all costs.

Let’s say you love writing but suck at it; how will you pay your bills if nobody pays you for doing what you love?

You can always do what you love as a hobby or in your spare time, but you can’t quit your job and start doing what you love if you don’t know whether it’ll pay the bills. And let’s be honest: Paying your bills is important.

Too many people these days try to convince you that your life will radically improve if you make a 180-degree shift and start doing what you love. The truth, however, is that there’s so much more to consider before you can follow your passion and spend the majority of your time doing what you love.

What to do instead:

If you want to spend more time doing what you love, you first need to validate whether it makes sense to ditch everything else. You should think twice before leaving a job that pays your bills — even if the job sucks.

You can always do what you love in your spare time, during holidays, and after work. That way you can validate whether your passion can become your paycheck and which challenges you might face.

Everyone would love to spend more time doing what they love, but the truth is that it’s not possible for everyone to do it.

At the end of the day, we all need to pay for rent, food, insurance, and many other things. If you do what you love but end up starving because you can’t make a living from it, you’ll give up anyway.

Live Each Day As if It’s Your Last

I don’t know who first came up with this piece of advice, but it’s one of the worst rules to live by.

If I’d live each day as if it’s my last, I’d spend each day being around my loved ones to share my gratitude with them. This might sound lovely, but if I’d do this for a year, I’d be broke and disappointed.

If I knew that today is my last day, I wouldn’t work, I wouldn’t exercise or eat healthy, and I wouldn’t care about making an impact.

What to do instead:

Instead of living each day as if it were your last, spend each of your days building a future you can be proud of.

At the end of your life, you’ll look back and remember the things that nourished and excited your soul.

Nobody looks back at their life and remembers the nights they had plenty of sleep.

On your last day, you’ll ask yourself if you’ve been good to those around you and if you stayed true to yourself and your dreams. However, if you do that every day, you won’t get closer to your goals.

Respect the Opinion of the Elderly

Even though I’ll probably never succeed in explaining it to my grandmother, I’m convinced that respect should never be tied to someone's age but to their behavior.

Respect needs to be earned.

I’d chose to respect a 16-year old influencer who’s staying true to herself and built a massive following on social media over respecting a 90-year-old person who spent the majority of her life belittling and mistreating others.

What to do instead:

Respect those who earn it.

Age is just a number and can’t define whether someone’s worth respecting or not. Just because someone is old doesn’t mean they’re good or worth appreciating.

Instead of judging people based on their age, dig deeper and judge them based on who they are, what they do, and how they behave.

Think About the People Who Have It Worse Than You

Just because other people have it worse than you doesn’t mean that you need to think about the imbalance of our world when making your decisions.

Yes, thousands of people don’t have access to food, but you don’t make the situation any better by eating more than you need just because it’s on your plate. This doesn’t mean that you should waste food; on the contrary: Be conscious when you run errands and minimize unnecessary purchases.

Yet, also be aware that your purchases or the food on your plate doesn’t affect global starvation.

What to do instead:

Stop depreciating your own experience and trying to compare yourself to people who have it significantly worse or better in life.

Instead, compare yourself to your previous self. Your only competition in life is you.

Additionally, keep in mind that thinking about those who have it worse than you won’t make the situation any better. In fact, it’s just a waste of time and energy.

If you genuinely want to make a change, think about how you can contribute to fighting the inequality on our planet. I can guarantee that comparing your blessings to other people’s misery doesn’t make it any better.

Let Go of the Past

This one is a bit tricky because it can be helpful advice if applied correctly.

In most cases, grieving about the past is a sheer waste of time because you can’t change it anyway.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore or even suppress your past.

What to do instead:

Quite often, our past experiences can be our greatest teachers. Instead of ignoring your past, start making the most out of it.

By reflecting on your past wins and losses, you can ensure that you don’t make certain mistakes for a second time. Additionally, your past experiences can help you find out how you want your future to look like.

So yes, you shouldn’t grieve over the past, but you also shouldn’t ignore it. Instead, you should try to make the most out of everything you learned and experienced in your lifetime.

Everything you ever underwent might help you find your ultimate destination.

Listen to your inner voice and allow your emotions to be present — even if they’re tied to past experiences. Sometimes, looking back might help you to find the answer to your problems.

Final Thoughts

There’s no ultimate user guide to living a great or successful life. Everyone’s different, so is every life and the rules that apply.

Whenever someone’s trying to convince you that their way of living life is the only correct one, be skeptical instead of enthusiastic.

The only truth is that nobody is walking through life wearing your shoes. Thus, no one can tell you what you should ultimately do or avoid.

It’s up to you to decide which rules you want to follow and which you want to ditch. And you need to make that decision every. single. day.

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