I had my first child 10 days before my 17th birthday. Luckily I’d been ahead in school, and was able to graduate one crucial month before the baby was born. A beautiful little girl weighing in at 7 lbs 9 oz.
My boyfriend proposed to me while I was pregnant, and I accepted. We’d been together since my freshman year of high school and we were crazy about each other. We’d already planned to run off and get married the minute I was 18, so having the baby wasn’t the reason we were getting married, but just the reason we were getting married before my 18th birthday. After all, I’d already graduated and oh yeah! we already had a child.
But that’s not how those around me saw it. They cautioned me against marriage for the sake of a baby, and loaded me up with statistics about the failure rate of a marriage between two young people. And when they did this, I felt ashamed for believing in my love.
But one day, just before my wedding, I received a phone call from a woman I didn’t know. She explained that she knew my aunt and had heard the story about my pregnancy and upcoming wedding. She’d asked my aunt for my number, which was given to her, and was soon ringing me up to have a little chat.
You see, she’d married her high school sweetheart over 30 years prior, and just needed me to know that they still absolutely adored each other after all these years.
I remember feeling so loved in that moment, because it was something I really needed to hear. It was important for me to know that it was possible for my marriage to work. And not from some statistic, but from a real person who had actually lived it.
Come to think of it, all the people who were giving me advice about how sure my marriage was to end in divorce, were in fact, divorced themselves. But they hadn’t gotten married right out of high school. No, they had all done everything right, and still they hadn’t made it. In that case, who were they to dish out relationship advice?
This was my first memorable experience in dealing with people who talk like they know it all, when in fact, they know nothing.
But in the years since then, I’ve run across these types of people on a near constant basis. Broke people giving advice about money, overweight people giving advice about healthy eating, lonely people giving advice about relationships, and fake people giving advice about being real.
And it’s funny, because my initial response is to listen to them. Not to question their authority, but to take that advice and consider it. After all, it sounds logical. But this is a mistake. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Because even if their advice seems logical, you can’t really know if it’s true. So many untrue things sound logical.Never take advice from someone you don’t want to be like, no matter who they are. Click To Tweet
Your parents, loved ones, and best friends are the most likely people to offer you bad advice that you will take without questioning. This is because you’ll want to please them most, so you’ll value their opinion of you and can’t distance yourself. But if you want to break away form the culture their in, or do something differently than they’ve done, taking their advice is a mistake.
I understand that there are plenty of wonderful parents, relatives, and friends out there as well, and if you do want to be like them, by all means, drink all their advice in. But if you’re aiming in a different direction, seek advice elsewhere from those who have done what you want to do.
I married my high school sweetheart 15 years ago, and it was the best decision I ever made. We have four beautiful children, and are more in love than ever.
What do you want? And who has it already?
Read their books, listen to their talks, and subscribe to their email lists. Or if you’re lucky enough to know them, take them out for a good lunch.