If you’re looking for advice, it’s not hard to find. We live in a day and age where every self-proclaimed philosopher can log in to their free blog platform and launch their own brand of wisdom out into the digital world at large, whether it’s worth reading or not.
Like any guy on the Internet, I’ve come across my fair share of awful advice. These terrible tidbits have ranged from self-soothing to delusional to straight up selfish and potentially harmful. But, I’m also happy to declare that I’ve also read a good deal of seriously useful pieces on living a successful life or maintaining a healthy relationship.
First, I’d like to share what is probably the harshest but also the most helpful truth I’ve ever come across: The rest of the world only cares about what it can get from you. Being a “good person” or a “nice guy” is just not enough. What can you do? What do you contribute? Do you have any useful talents or work in a respectable and skilled profession?
If you currently possess none of these attributes, it is time for you to put effort into developing yourself. This may sound like a cruel and defeatist attitude to some people, but in a realistic perspective, I found it highly encouraging in terms of creating new personal goals.
On a similar note, I recently read some related advice on how to attract women and kindle positive romantic relationships: You don’t attract people by tricking them into thinking you’re cool and attractive. You attract people by actually being attractive.
To be attractive, you have to be a better person. Trying to learn tricks and “game” is a waste of time and will get you nothing but shallow, easily manipulated partners. You have to become a whole, interesting, self-fulfilled and confident human being before you’re going to successfully and truly attract a smart, self-aware person who’s worth your time.
It’s great to do what you love, but you have to figure out a way to get someone to pay you for doing it. Life costs money and you’d be an idiot to think you can find safety and success in your life without putting in some effort to make money.
Therefore, most people will never work their real “dream job“, but that doesn’t mean you have to live and die working the graveyard shift stocking shelves to make ends meet. There are compromises. Find something you like, and then put in the effort to make it profitable for you.
Finally, there’s that age-old cliché that still holds true: You can’t make everyone happy. This is not advice to excuse you from being lazy, rude, or having a terrible personality, but it’s true that no matter what you do, someone somewhere is not going to like it.
It’s a lot like how chocolate is good for your brain but bad for your arteries, and red wine is great for your heart but terrible for your liver. It’s a give and take, and it’s your responsibility to either find a middle ground or make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to like you.
Yes, some of the most truthful advice is also the harshest, but it can also be the most transformative. If all we ever listened to were the things we want to hear or the things that make us feel happy and safe, we’d never be encouraged to grow and improve as human beings.
Remember that if it placates you without teaching you anything, it’s probably terrible advice and it’s holding you back from personal growth. It’s the words that provoke your intellectual side and even make you slightly uncomfortable that will spur you towards new progress in your life.