How to Approach Success Advice to Gain What You Want

Question advice to move forward, not to stand still.

Open your eyes to see advice as a sign pointing you in the right direction. Photo by Iwaria Inc. on Unsplash

Success advice is cherry-picked.

It’s uncertain. Certainty is a utopia.

I wanted it when I was a kid. My parents taught me to cut risks by doing nothing. But no action always means failure. I stripped myself from chances.

Doing what’s risky is unavoidable. Everything is risky.

I wanted to be a writer. For 10 years, I only dreamt about it because of the risk of failure. Now I’m here thanks to the successful advice from other writers.

I’m already successful because I write every day. Well, almost.

How many minutes a day I wrote

I listened to advice, but I didn’t stop there. 

Here is how to approach success advice to maximize your benefit and stop wasting time on useless divagations.

Embrace the Filtered Reality Now to Navigate the World of Advice

The fact success advice is cherry-picked changes nothing.

All we’ll ever know will be cherry-picked in a way. That knowledge is still valuable. We must deal with what we know because we don’t know what we don’t know.

Why is there no point in contemplating if the advice is cherry-picked?

Because the nature of our brain is to filter and select. Our memories are not recordings of the past. Every time we remind ourselves of something, we reconstruct it.

And we can only reason about events in the past.

To connect the dots, you must first live through events. When you retrospectively look at them, it’s easier to see where they came from. But you can’t predict what will happen because of the world’s complexity.

I recently saw a military taking part in an Ascension Day celebration. They were preparing to march to the church. Later we walked by the place where they were standing. It was the street of “Armed Forces,” and it felt obvious.

None of that occurred to me when I first saw the military.

Giving advice works the same way. You feel that something is evident after you understand it. So all the advice comes from retrospect. Therefore it’s always one of an infinite number of reasons why something happened.

Advice from people who succeed represents potential.

A potential to avoid starting with an empty page. That advice you got is an unthinkable process reduced to an understandable sentence.

Start with the potential someone gives you in the form of advice.

How to benefit from advice, even if it’s cherry-picked

All advice you’ll ever hear is incomplete and fallible.

Coming to terms with the fact lets you focus on what’s important. In the sea of useless advice, your job is to find one and act on it. With the simple truth in mind:

Advice may be wrong.

Experiment and see if it’s working for you. Question everything, but take action.

That’s how to benefit from advice.

Ignore most of them. Use what has potential for you.

Ultimately, you should care if it helps you, not if it’s cherry-picked (because it indeed is).

Even Bad Advice May Help You Progress Your Journey

The world keeps changing.

It’s so complex that many things happen randomly for us. Have you ever restarted a pc to fix it? It helped many times, right? But on some occasions, it failed. 

Is the advice to restart your device useless?


First of all, it’s contextual. In some contexts, it works, in others, it doesn’t. In life, it’s not always clear in which contexts the advice will work. So you try it to see.

The simple advice about computers sometimes works and sometimes fails. 

How could you know if anything would work in a world of social connections which we understand much less?

You would test it.

Applying the advice may increase your chances of success. Because you take action and change the current state of the problem. So you get another data point.

Even following bad advice advances your actions because, in the process, you learn.

How to benefit from imperfect advice

No advice in this world is perfect.

Nothing we can do about that. Still, using advice from people who got what you want may help. Your job is to filter the advice. You must apply it in your context to see if it’s working.

The benefit of using advice is starting.

Trying to do what you want is a necessary step. You get from 0% chance to some chance.

Remember to accept the imperfect advice, but evaluate it before using it.

Challenge Advice, But Have This In Mind to Get What You Want

You can question everything and conclude nothing is worth doing.

But if that’s always your conclusion, you’re stuck. When you know what you want, you can find what helps you get it. Success advice from great writers helps aspiring writers but not fresh parents. The responsibility for using the advice is on you. You must question it.

Question to get what you want, to avoid standing still.

You want something, and some people got that. Their advice is a good starting point for you. Following them without a thought won’t give you what they have. Because the secret of using knowledge is understanding it. You start by mimicking others, but you want to become the master of the idea, not a copycat.

And that’s where questioning comes in.

Is the action you’re taking the best one for you right now? Can you improve it to increase your impact? How can you speed up the process? Do you still want what you wanted when you started?

How you approach advice decides if you’ll succeed in using it.

Advice is a sign that points you in the right direction. You must take the steps.

How to benefit from questioning advice

You want a way to get to what you want.

From all the advice out there, you want to select one to follow. That’s why knowing what you want is crucial. That’s how you filter out nonsense.

Assume you want to start a project, and you got advice to drop it because the market is saturated.

Now is the time for questioning. Do you need to win with big players, or do you want to get 100 clients? Do you dream about starting your project, or have you heard it’s easy money, and you want to jump on the hype train?

I won’t give you answers because it’s on you. But even lousy advice you question allows you to advance your journey. Acting on advice gives you experience, which is priceless even if you fail.

Question any advice you get, but always in the context of your goals. Please don’t drop your dream only because circumstances are wrong, adapt to them. If you know what you want, you can question anything and enjoy it.


Human knowledge will always remain incomplete.

But it changes nothing. It’s still valid now because we can’t predict what we’ll understand tomorrow. Success advice from people who got what you want is a part of that incomplete knowledge. Your task is to use it for your benefit.

We must deal with advice from others which is always contextual.

And to know if something works, we often have to test it. Advice is a starting point, not a destination.

Question it.

But do it to find the right action, not to wage wars with the advice. As we can’t know upfront what will work, all the advice we give comes from a retrospective analysis of the past. And due to the nature of our brain, it’s always cherry-picked.

  • Deal with it.
  • Benefit from it. 
  • Live it. 
  • Improve it. 
  • Share it. 

You have your goals to attain and must use everything at your disposal.

How do you approach success advice?

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Inspired by David B. Clear