“Your diet is terrible and you need to follow my workout advice” – Fat Random Guru.
I mention before in other articles about the tenants of advice and why advice is often so bad for many people and doesn’t work. I also mention that taking advice from people not ahead of you in terms of where you are in your goal should be looked at very critically.
If someone else hasn’t achieved what you want, you have to be wary of their advice on that topic. – Truth Cake
Everyone in the gym used to give me advice when I was there, most of the advice was all conflicting, and things got a lot easier when I only listened to advice coming from those that looked like what I wanted to look like.
But why do top performers still have coaches?
In advanced situations, the objective is where things get tricky. Andre Agassi has a tennis coach but that coach can’t beat him in a match. Agassi takes advice from him because the coach knows the strategies and plans of a good match, and that coach does that specific objective better than Agassi. Then Agassi can take that advice on that specific objective and execute it better.
The 2nd part of identifying someone to take advice from is considering their incentives.
A fitness guru online that looks great and clearly ahead of you in your goal may be terrible to get advice from if their incentive is to sell you diet pills and they’re just a marketing shill. A realtor has the incentive to sell you a house, preferably the most expensive, NOT find you the perfect house. A therapist has the incentive to keep you coming back endlessly, NOT fix you once and for all.
Side note: Unfortunately, the incentivization in many professions is NOT aligned with your goals, not because those professions are unscrupulous but due to the broken aspects of human psychology. An example of broken psychology is a therapist that truly fixes you in 5 minutes with a magic spell and wants $60,000 is considered to be a rip off, vs another therapist that costs $1k a month for 5 years to fix you.
Because of this, you have to always look for:
a) Are they ahead of you,
b) Is my objective specific enough that they have value, like in the case of Agassi and the coach, and
c) Are their incentives aligned with yours.
When’s the last time you took advice from someone that had the answers but you ended up worse off after taking that advice because their goals weren’t the same as yours?