With respect to well-intentioned and caring parents, mentors, coaches, and anyone else who provides insight and guidance by the minute. There are simply some expressions no one should ever utter to another.

Daily, millions of people wrap these six words around recommendations. Even worse, many more millions follow those recommendations. Unfortunately, this advice is usually the biggest culprit of setbacks and stagnation.

Spoiler alert: I’m not going to wait until the end of the article to tell you what the six words are. Here you go:

“This is what you should do…”

Now, let me tell you why to never pay attention to these six words of advice.

Is that your fingerprint or my fingerprint?

Last time I checked, there was no one like me. There is no one like you either, not even your biological twin.

Any time I hear these words, especially when followed by words of caution, I feel like screaming to the other person, “You have no idea…

…how big my heart is

…how hard I’ll work.

…how resourceful I am.

…how creative I become when I’m desperate.

…how okay I’ll be if I fail.

…how different times are now.

…how accessible the resources are now.”

All good things come in threes…

Regardless of advice you’re given, there are three requirements to accomplish anything and sustain a level of proficiency and success: Desire, Skills, and Belief.

If you don’t want it badly enough, you’ll never accomplish any goal.

If you don’t have or don’t want to build the requisite skills or experience, you’ll never accomplish the goal no matter how much you desire it.

If you don’t believe—in you own ability—to make it happen, forget it. All the desire and experience in the world will never help you overcome a lack of belief.

Now what?

I suggest keeping in mind others are extremely bad at predicting their own futures and even worse at predicting yours. Trust me.

If you’re seeking counsel, never ask others what they would do or what they think you should do.

The person who can help you the most, next to you, is the one who helps you think through the process so you can effectively plan.

Ask yourself these questions and you’ll know whether to pursue that goal or dream:

  • Am I willing to learn whatever is required for me to succeed recognizing I’ll need to become self-sufficient before seeking additional support?
  • Will I continue to believe in myself no matter what? Will I be able to remain focused because my love for that goal will need to stay the same even when everything required to achieve it will seem to change daily?

Remember, no enemy is worse than bad advice (Sophocles). If you focus on those three questions, you won’t need much advice.

As always, I love to hear from you: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?

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