This is one of the gifts that come with age and wisdom, the ability to act upon bad advice and hide from the consequences.
Ok, that is not entirely true, there are consequences for eating donuts for dinner and if you were here you’d see me pumping out extra sets of push ups to make up for the useless calories I just inhaled.
And if you were here you’d see me look at the man in the mirror and ask him to find a way to convince our 19 year-old metabolism to come home.
He ran away from home so long ago he is just a memory now, but if she should read this I would tell him all is forgiven and say we’d welcome back with open arms.
Probably best for my wallet that he not show up because it is hard enough to feed the teenager that lives here now.
That 19 year-old kid I used to be could eat 10,000 calories a day and never worried about whether his pants would fit later.
What Is Good Advice?
Advice is a funny thing to me because the definition of good advice is often rooted in subjectivity and not reality.
I think about what constitutes good advice quite often, primarily because I am a father who is responsible for helping to guide my children into growing up into people of character who one day will have to navigate the world on their own.
And since I haven’t made my first billion yet I suppose it is also fair to say I think about what constitutes good advice on a variety of personal matters.
If you ask why a billion is significant I’ll tell you I figure that is enough cash for me to do almost anything I want (within the law) and have ample means to handle whatever consequences come from my actions.
Granted it is undoubtedly possible to enjoy similar benefits with less than a billion dollars in resources and I’ll tell you I aim high.
But let’s not get caught up in the specific details here because I want to circle back to why good advice is often subjective.
A former classmate of mine invited me to travel around the world with him. I remember telling him I would love to go but I just didn’t have the cash to do it.
I remember how he smiled and told me he was going to pull $25,000 in credit card advances and how he figured that when he got back to the states he would declare bankruptcy.
“Josh, you can do the same. We are 23 and by the time we really need good credit it won’t matter because the bankruptcy will be gone and we’ll be 30 year-old men who have lived like kings.”
When I told him I was interested in intentional fraud he told me I was a sucker and that a smart man took advantage of all of his resources.
Things got ugly when I told him I was certain thieves used the same rationale for burglarizing cars and houses that were unlocked and we never spoke again.
Live With The Consequences
My kids will tell you my standard advice is to remember we have to live with the consequences of our actions and that if what you are doing won’t let you sleep at night you need to reconsider it.
They’ll also tell you I advise them to be cautious about taking advice from people who aren’t affected by the consequences of whatever piece of advice they are giving.
But my children haven’t been the only recipients of those sage words because I have passed them along to younger cousins, Fraternity brothers and business associates.
That is what happens when you manage to hang around long enough to no longer be the youngest person in the office.
People sometimes approach you and ask for suggestions about how to handle certain situations.
The first time someone called me sir at the office I ignored them but it wasn’t intentional. It was because I didn’t expect them not to use my name.
Had they called me Josh or Joshua I would have turned around, but ‘sir’ was followed by ‘Mr. Wilner’ at which point I knew who they were speaking to.
That was when I gave them my first piece of advice, ‘unless you want me to stab you in the eye with a butter knife use my name.’
Ok, I didn’t really say that but I did tell them to use my name.
Good Blogging Advice
A while back my son told me he thinks social media is stupid and asked me why people waste their time on it.
I told him what makes people interesting is how we are all different and reminded him social media has been a significant part of a number of my jobs.
It was kind of funny how he realized that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were all part of the reason he had clothes on his back and food in his belly.
Anyhoo, it led to a long conversation about life, business and blogging and he surprised me by asking for advice.
“Dad, can you give me good blogging advice?”
I laughed and told him if there was one thing he could find online it would be ample advice about blogging.
“Dad, I want to hear how you do it and what you would suggest I do if I started a blog.”
I’ll save the majority of that conversation for a different post and sum up our conversation with this.
If you want people to read your content you need to do more than just focus on being entertaining and or educational.
You need to give them a way to relate to you and you need to engage with them. Do your best not to respond when angry or upset unless you are certain you can live with the consequences of your actions.
And every now and then treat yourself to donuts for dinner.
Ok, I didn’t share that last part with my son so let’s just keep it as our little secret.
Got any thoughts about any of this? Share it in the comments and let’s talk.