An example is more powerful than an opinion.
Opinions are like bumholes – everybody has one. Examples, however, of the behaviours you want to perfect, skills you want to learn or achievements you want for yourself, are as rare as rocking-horse poo. What I am trying to say, and forgive my rather crude metaphors, is that the world is full of opinions and advice on what we should all be doing and how. While this can be helpful, actual examples are what we need and not just ideas and theories. These, unfortunately, are harder to find.
If you are not convinced, try this exercise;
- Log into Instagram
- Pick one of your goals. Now search for this term in hashtags. For example, if you are interested in personal development, search for some associated terms with a hashtag. For example, pick a term like #entrepreneur, #success or #grind.
- Now sift through the results. Of all the accounts posting advice, tips and guaranteeing you success if you do what they say, pick a few and google them. What have they actually achieved?
- Pick several more and repeat the exercise. Do this as many times as you need, until you realise that very few of the popular influencers have achieved real success themselves.
The flashy houses and cars are often rented, the watches are fake and the rolls of cash are movie props which can be bought on Amazon. I say this because one of my favourite accounts, Andy Frisella, recently exposed these fantasists. I am not saying that all social media accounts are questionable, but we do need to be careful as to where we get our advice from. The majority of influencers haven’t made their money in business, they have made a comfortable living from selling get-rich-quick programmes to people and promising to transform their lives. They are undoubtedly clever marketers and also knowledgeable, but it’s all superficial. There is no substance. They post pictures of nice things, or write a cryptic post about what they can teach you if you join their programme. They lack real experience, so all they are doing is selling theories.
The simple truth is that people will pay more attention to what you do, and what you have achieved, than they will to whatever you say. This is why you must strive to practice what you preach. After all, how can you give advice about something which you have never experienced yourself? We all know that, just because a theory or idea makes sense, there is no guarantee that it will work in practice. This is where experience comes in handy. It reassures people that you have tried and tested theories and ideas, some of which have worked better than others. You have tasted failure and success, so you have a clear idea of what you are talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have an opinion or thoughts on something, but have never actually experienced it, share them anyway. Discussion and the sharing of ideas can lead to magical places. Please make it clear, however, that this is simply your opinion and that you haven’t actually experienced it yourself. Or if you know someone who has been through something similar, share the experience if they will allow you, but never dress it up as your own personal experience. Share what you have heard or seen, but also be honest about never having experienced the same situation yourself. There are far too many people posing as experienced, accomplished and successful business gurus, in order to sell books and courses. Be the exception, and strive instead to be a person of experience, accomplishment and value. If you manage that, all the trappings of success will follow you, but most important of all, you will find yourself in a position to positively influence the lives of others.