Expert Advice Isn’t Always the Right Advice

I’m a big believer in learning from others who have walked this road before in whatever area of life we need some inspiration…

  • art
  • business
  • parenting
  • faith
  • weight loss/health
  • not having a constant, out of control pigsty in my living room
  • etc.

Iron sharpens iron, as Proverbs says. We can and should learn from each other.

So Many Experts, So Little Wisdom

The problem is, life has changed quite a bit in the last ten or fifteen (maybe twenty) years. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is a self-proclaimed expert.

It seems to me there’s no end of “expert” advice on whatever topic you want to find some on.

That’s a struggle, for sure, but there’s another issue I want to point out too.

Life Isn’t Always Neat and Tidy

Because life can’t always be neatly planned out (as I discussed yesterday in this post on living by faith and a plan) and because everyone is unique, we can’t always replicate the results of one person or many people in our own lives, try though we may.

I really hate that part of life.

I like it when things line up just right, and everything works out as planned.

Want to see me get grumpy? Mess with the picture in my mind of how life is supposed to be.

The longer I live, the less that upsets me, of course, because I’ve come to accept that just because some expert told me to do such and such, doesn’t mean I should. Or rather, it doesn’t mean that this would be the best thing for me and my life at this moment.

So, annoying, isn’t it?

My Method: Learn, Modify, Adapt

My own method of dealing with this has three parts: learn, modify, and adapt.

I learn whatever I can about that topic, but instead of applying it just so, realizing there are a million and one other possible circumstances assisting or thwarting the outcome, I may modify the advice for my own unique circumstances. Then I adapt to the plan.

Two areas where I made some big mistakes in not doing this very thing are in the areas of business and family life. It’s all worked out in the end, but I had to go back and unlearn some things that seemed oh-so-logical at the time.

Example One: Unlearning Business Advice and Getting Back to Basics

First, in business, I received some awesome work-from-home advice that worked for so many people but didn’t at all for me. In fact, I was so frustrated over this.

At some point, I was praying about it (the ultimate in Expert Advice), and I remembered that I had a notebook full of business stuff that I wrote down before I joined up with the group of experts that caused my paradigm shift. In my notebook, I realized that so much of my goals were focused on being a blessing, and on providing value and encouragement. Much of the basic post ideas I had jotted down back in the day were about super basic things that I had to learn the hard way, such as the posts I’ve finally written about getting a website and understanding the terminology.

Now, there was nothing wrong per se with the advice I was getting, but it was generic advice for someone looking to do what they were doing. I had it laid on my heart to do something else. What I felt I was supposed to be doing was quite different from how they were managing their businesses. I backtracked to where I thought I needed to be and sought out advice from those successfully implementing what I was intending to do, instead of listening to those with a different business model.

Example Two: Unlearning Family Life Advice and Getting Back to Basics

Even more crucial was trying to figure out how to sift through the different bits of advice on motherhood and marriage I’ve received over the years. For example, at one point I was constantly stressed out over our lack of family vacations. Hubby never got time off of work for them, and we couldn’t afford it anyway. Yet, our former pastor used to drill home the importance of getting away as a family and making memories. I had to accept and be content with the situation we were in. This wasn’t something that could be changed at the time, and so I had to realize that he may find it “crucial” but if God didn’t provide for it, then it must not be.

Other Family Life issues abounded with advice that was either impractical for our unique family or just not do-able at all. Many times this had to do with my husband working 80 hours a week for a season, or due to financial issues, we were facing. 

The Bottom Line

The Bottom line on heeding “expert” advice is this: if a bit of advice is not something that can be implemented due to things beyond your control, or even just because you’ve been lead down a different path, doesn’t mean that you need to fret over what to do. This is part of the reason why I believe so strongly in having a Mission Statement and living by principles….to avoid being tossed to and fro by every wind of advice…

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