Why you shouldn't always listen to other people's life advice

February 10, 2017
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Being a newly initiated member of the adult world can be complicated AF. We’re choosing cities, degrees and career paths before knowing how to pay a bill online or cook more than microwavable meals, all the while listening to the words of wisdom we’ve received from the real grown-ups who have done it all before us.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re incredibly lucky to have people in our lives who care enough to share their experiences and guidance with us. I’m not saying you should never follow advice (your doctors know what’s up – listen to them), but sometimes it’s OK to forge your own path and navigate adulthood your own way.

What works for some doesn’t work for all

How someone else studies, juggles uni and work or goes about landing their dream job probably won’t work for you, simply because they’re not you.

Other people’s tips and tricks can be incredibly useful and always a good place to start. But trying to do things someone else’s way instead of figuring out what’s best for you can end up hindering you more than it helps you.

It’s not good advice if it’s stopping you from being yourself

Whether it’s someone telling you there’s no money in writing and you’d have better luck studying management, or someone talking you out of taking a semester off to travel because you’ll graduate later than expected, advice that is stopping you from being yourself is crappy advice.

Maybe you will end up broke or wishing you were finishing uni sooner, but as clichéd and as cringeworthy as it is, what matters most is that you’re happy and being true to yourself.

Making your own decisions is important

It’s an undeniable truth that our parents are right 90 per cent of the time. They’ve made every mistake in the book and know how you can avoid them, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily listen to everything they have to say (sorry Mum).

Making your own decisions and doing things your own way helps you become a fully-fledged individual. It gives you the opportunity to learn from the bad choices you will inevitably make while embracing your new-found freedom.

Following what someone else has done is boring

There’s not one right career path for you and there’s no right age to get married and have kids. Just because someone (or lots of people) you know have done things a certain way, it doesn’t mean that’s the life plan you need to adhere to if you want to succeed.

There’s no lessons to be learnt in following someone else’s path, and you’re not suddenly going to completely fuck up your life if you do things a little differently, I promise.

You’re literally the only person who knows what’s best for you

It’s true. No matter how much someone cares about you or how long you’ve known them, you’re the only person who truly knows what’s going to work best for you.

No one else knows what’s going to make you the happiest or benefit you the most, so it’s OK not to accept the advice people are giving you about these things.

Listen to them and try to see where they’re coming from, but at the end of the day no one knows you like you know yourself, so go ahead and just do you, kid.

Penny Robinson

Penny is a Philosophy and Media and Communications student at the University of Melbourne. She enjoys travelling, snacking and not going to the gym.