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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Your Own Advice Is the Hardest Pill to Swallow


Giving advice is pretty easy, isn’t it? Anyone can give advice. Anyone can make recommendations. Anyone can tell you what to do. But just because someone gives you advice, that doesn’t mean it’s the correct advice for you.

And sometimes it’s easy to take advice from other people when they are dishing it out. Having relationship trouble? We typically ask a friend for advice. Having a conflict with a co-worker? We ask another co-worker for advice. Having money problems? Well, you get the idea.

But sometimes, all we have to do is look in the mirror and ask ourselves for advice. After all, who knows you better than you? Nobody is more acutely aware of your situation. Nobody is more familiar with every particular scenario and potential outcome than you.

So why do we turn to another person so often for advice? Because it’s easy. If someone tells us what to do, we don’t even have to think. Coincidentally (or not-so-coincidentally) this is also how fascism works (i.e., someone else makes the decisions for you).

Or sometimes we ask other people for advice to reaffirm our own advice. But other people rarely have a stake in the outcome of taking their advice, which makes it less valid than your own point of view.

Sure, it’s OK to ask others for advice—sometimes it’s great to have a clean pair of eyes—but remember, at the end of the day, it is you who has to live with your own decisions.

You know what’s best for you. You know what you must make a must:

  • I must exercise
  • I must watch less television
  • I must find more time for solitude
  • I must stop smoking, drinking, gambling

What else must you do? Are you strong enough to take your own advice?