The Signal and the Noise

If you’ve ever tried to build something, you will get plenty of (unsolicited) advice.  During our startup’s interview for an accelerator, we asked the managing director “What is the most common challenge first time entrepreneurs face?”

His response was surprising. He said one of the biggest struggles that young entrepreneurs face is that they are given so much advice on which direction to take their company and 90% of it is complete BS.

So the question becomes, who should you pay attention to? Who’s advice is relevant and who should you ignore? In other words, how can you separate the signal from the noise?

As a rule of thumb, I disregard the advice, opinion, or criticism of anyone who isn’t doing or hasn’t already successfully accomplished the subject matter at hand. 

So following the advice of a championship bodybuilder is a great way to become a successful bodybuilder.

I know this sounds simple. It sounds deceptively simple. But if you are mindful, you would be astonished by how much attention you spend on the noise.

When you’re trying to do something new or different, you will inevitably be met with a lot of discouragement from the people around you. Some of that might be from people who subconsciously don’t want you to succeed.  Other times, the advice could be from someone who just doesn’t fully understand you idea.

Before you take their advice, or listen to their criticism, ask yourself: Have they accomplished what I’m trying to do? If the answer is no, ignore what they have to say.

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