Don’t Take Advice From the Average

by Alexander Heyne · 13 comments

Who are you taking advice from?

This is a rant – I’ll admit it.

Doubters suck — and it’s the worst feeling in the world when they’re your friends or spouse. That stuff hurts. When the people closest to you have no idea what you’re doing, and they don’t even try to understand you or support you, it sucks.

But when they say you can’t or shouldn’t — you can’t start your own business because you have other “priorities”, you can’t go have some sappy happy ending (technically, beginning) with the girl or guy of your dreams, you can’t create a life that looks like it belongs in the movies — who the fuck are they to say that?

Most people giving advice are AVERAGE people living AVERAGE lives giving AVERAGE advice.

So why the fuck would you let your biggest dreams, biggest desires, biggest passions, biggest drives slip because of that? Why  would you let them destroy your dream of doing something beyond average?

People will say “realistically speaking…” fuck being realistic.

You know what? If someone tells you “realistically speaking” tell them you can’t be friends. Seriously.

The worst part of this is that the people who tell you to be “realistic” usually haven’t even done what you are trying to do!

They’re people who have settled for shitty jobs, they’re people who have settled for less-than-ideal spouses and partners because of circumstances, and they’re people who mumble and bumble about their daily life just killing time.

They’re the people who are 50 lbs overweight giving diet advice.

They’re the people talking about how “easy” it is to start a successful business who have never been self employed in their life.

And they’re people giving financial advice even though they’re broke as hell.

Sometimes when you take someone’s advice with a grain of salt it should be a big ass grain of salt.  Remember that the next time you hear a bunch of unsolicited (or sometimes solicited) advice from people whose opinions you care about.

If you’ve already decided in your head that the path you are going to take is unlike anyone else’s, you better take that into consideration when listening to their advice.

So, in the event that you plan on living a more-than-average life, remember to avoid average people giving you average advice from their average life experience.

You’ll only end up just like them —



Photo: Jeffrey_Huang

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank May 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Couldn’t agree more, and I’ve been giving my version of this rant to everyone who will listen in the 1.5 yrs since I became an entrepreneur. When you jump off the beaten path, it’s amazing how this will bifurcate the people you’d previously surrounded yourself with. One group will genuinely root you on. They are the ones who either (a) are trying to make life changes themselves and seek inspiration, or (b) have already done it, and want to see you do it, too.

The other group … the *much* larger group, and a miserable one at that … will say anything and everything to discourage your journey. They’ll (shamelessly) inquire about your financial situation, they’ll poke (unsolicited) holes in whatever you endeavor to accomplish, and altogether try and bring you down to their level. Why? Because the life they’ve built for themselves is, as you put it, “average”, and to see someone else attempt to lead an amazing life is a threat. It’s not that they’re inherently “bad” people, but no one likes to hear that they’ve made bad or suboptimal life decisions. If you succeed, it makes them feel worse about their lot in life. It makes their 9-to-5 trudge that much more painful. It makes the mediocrity sting. It’s a selfish, immature way to view the world, but sadly, it’s human nature for many.

I’ve had to “fire” quite a few friends during this journey. In fact, it’s probably been the single hardest thing to accept about doing things differently. But when you’re taking personal and financial risks, and, while optimistic, still ultimately unsure of what lies ahead, the last thing you need are people who regularly kick you when your down (even if there’s no intended malice.) Their average lives are not your problem.

Sidenote – really glad I came across this blog, I’ve found myself nodding along emphatically with virtually everything I’ve read. Keep it up.


afheyne May 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

Frank —

Your experience has definitely echoed mine.

Ask about how much money you have, check, poke holes in your master plan, check, just act jealous, check.

To me, thé worst, most insulting thing is when someone my senior treats me as if it’s just a “phase.” Oh it’s just the post college phase where he wants to see the world. He’ll grow out of it, he’ll come back to corporate soon.

Agree 100% that if you succeed if makes their 9-5 seem that much more miserable. As if they could’ve avoided it somehow.

And yeah unfortunately I’ve fired most of my friends. I think I’ve replaced about 90% within the past year or two (not always on purpose, due to moves as well). Sometimes I feel like this must be place where a good mastermind group needs to come in to create a good support network.

Thanks for stopping by


Bryan Weller May 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I know these people!

Seriously, I was laughing my ass off reading this because I was picturing you doing the rant in my head. I agree tat if you want to do extraordinary things, you need to speak to extraordinary people and create your own path.


afheyne May 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

Hahaha mission accomplished.

But yeah it surprises me how many people I know get upset when someone average gives them their average 2 cents. It’s like hang on — this person hasn’t done what you’re trying to do, so why would you take all of their advice at face value? Listen, absorb what you can, realize this advice does not come from similar experience, and move on.

I guess this all comes down to getting a good support network and mastermind group?


Noch Noch | be me. be natural. May 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

agreed!!!! and even then, don’t have to follow extraordinary people. just follow what you believe is right!!
Noch Noch


afheyne May 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

Noch Noch —

Totally agree! The problem is that we all believe different things, in different principles in life, etc. and thus there will always be people who are totally confused (or even hostile) when they hear our life path.

As far as I’m concerned, it just makes me more interesting :)


In the same boat May 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I heard this somewhere: Take a look at who the 6 closest people to you are. You will become them in the future. If you don’t like who or what they are, then fire them. Sad, but true it seems.

I have to echo the above in being thankful for finding this blog, because it seems there are a lot of average advice givers out there prepared to bring us down! It’s the days when you don’t really need to hear it that they seem to strike, and simply make the existential crisis worse!

Keep doing what you’re doing. I think a lot of us readers feel you’re describing our life when you write.


afheyne May 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I totally agree, and I see this all the time.

Most of the people I know who are overweight hang out with other overweight people.
Smokers hang out with smokers.
Cubicle dwellers hang out with other cubicle dwellers.
Party people hang out with party people.

The same is also generally true for successful people, as a general observation I’ve made over the past couple years.

So I’m with you 100% on firing your friends if they are not working toward where you want to be, or if they’re not already there. The sad truth is that some of us (like myself) are trying to do things that none of our friends plan to – thus we’re forced to make a judgment call.

Most of the time I end up hanging out with my friends less and less — I don’t have time for people who don’t support me even if they don’t understand me, know what I mean?

Thanks for stopping by!



Benny May 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Yes yes!

I’m lucky I have a wife who supports me. She’s the one who gives me a pep talk when I start to doubt myself. It’s so amazing to have a person like that in my corner. If she was completely against it, I don’t know what I’d be doing.

Even online, I definitely try to decide who I take advice from. If it’s from someone who is where I want to be, then I’ll listen.

It’s also like some of the pitches I get via email for apps. One guy emailed me. No credibility from what I could see online. He just created a Twitter account and looks like an egg head. He had this great idea for my next app. It’d be like Photo 365 but I’d just make a few changes. I KNEW there was a catch so when he replied later, he said he wanted 15% of all revenue. WTF? I said thanks but no thanks. A guy pitching me a great idea, but with no track record.

Finally when I saw your link this is what my brain saw it as…

Don’t Take Advice from the AVENGERS



afheyne May 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Benny, haha yeah you have no idea how lucky you are. Especially in the entrepreneurial space, supportive spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends are not always that common.

Most don’t understand, some are straight up doubters, and the smallest percentage goes to those who are truly supportive no matter what. You’ve got a keeper for sure! haha

Hahaha I’m surprised your “million dollar idea” email pitch dude actually thought that’d work.

Don’t take advice from the avengers, hahaha priceless. I still need to see it!


Alyssa May 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yeah maybe it’s a rant but it’s freakin awesome to hear rants sometimes, especially ones from this angle. Because frankly, 90% of the time the people closest to you are so close they have blinders on and don’t have a clue that supporting you is just stepping away to give you breathing room. Thanks for yet another post of inspiration (that I of course am coming to years late, but hey, least I’ve found it).


Alexander Heyne May 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm


haha totally. This always struck me as fascinating. People get their feelings hurt easily when they get advice from friends/family. And they start believing their dreams aren’t possible… But they fail to think “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE GIVING ME ADVICE!?”

Sometimes they really are exceptional and great. But most of the time.. they AREN’T! It’s like getting career advice from the fellas drinking beer at the bar at 6pm who hate their lives.


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