Over the years, how many times have you felt discouraged from pursuing your dreams? How many times did you let what others said affect your plans? The most successful people know how to turn a piece of bad advice into a good one. They know how to turn that into a challenge. They challenge themselves with the discouragement they hear from other people. But they also know when they are given good advice. They take the advice and live the rest of their lives carrying it. Such are the traits of people who know how to use the good and bad advice they hear from others.
But then, there are successful people who more than wait for people to give them advice. Some people, like the late Kobe Bryant, seek advice from others. People like these want to learn from the best. He showed his respect for the basketball legends before him by asking questions and learning from their answers. Such dedication is rare in this world.
So whom are you like? Do you let yourself be discouraged by other people? Do you take bad advice and challenge yourself with it? Or, like Kobe, do you seek people whose thoughts matter to you? How you take advice and how you seek it will define your path to success. But, in such difficult times, where can you find the best advice?
Believe it or not, your senile 94-year-old grandfather still has some of the best advice to give. He lived through wars and famine. If that doesn’t give him the right to give his grandson or granddaughter career advice, then who can? But aside from your own family, you can also seek help from your community church leaders. Not only do they have the best interest of their churchgoers at heart, but they also have the experience required to give career advice.
People see church leaders as a bit of goody two shoes. Who’s going to listen to your pastor, anyway? Does he know what he’s talking about? But church leaders deal with politics and moral and social dilemmas all the time. If there’s one person in your community who has the best knowledge of how difficult it is to make it in whatever industry, it is your church leader.
So who are your mentors? They can be your parents, your academic advisers, and your professors. Your school’s guidance counselor could be your mentor, too. Look for people in the academe. Have you taken proficiency and IQ tests? Your guidance counselor will know a great deal about your strengths and weaknesses, then. The counselor can discuss where your strengths lie and what areas of your skills you need to improve.
Strange as it might sound, but your friends could have your very best interest at heart. Sometimes, the judgment of your family can be a bit clouded because of biases. But your most loyal friends can answer you point-blank. They can tell why you would do well in a particular career and why you are probably not suited for the other one.
If they know you’re a people person, they might push you to a career in public relations, marketing, film, and advertising. But if they understand that you’re a bit of an introvert, they’ll probably tell you to find a job that won’t require you to talk in front of many people all the time. You’ll get to know yourself better through their eyes. And while you might not necessarily agree with their opinions, it’s a great way to assess your strengths and weaknesses. You’re going to get a glimpse of how your boss will see you, too.
Who do you look up to in the industry you want to join? Try to find interviews of these people to know what they think about their careers. And even if they cannot guide you with words, they can show you how they achieved what they reached. These days, it’s easy to reach out to an artist or even an entrepreneur you admire. Try to send them a message. Ask for career advice. You never know. They could surprise you with an answer.
Successful people don’t just ask for career advice. They know how to listen to it intently, too. And more than anything else, they know never to ignore the naysayers and to listen to their own thoughts. Because while seeking career advice is a noble act, you have to learn to trust yourself, too.