The Best Piece of Advice I’ve Received in Years

I find the topic of advice to be pretty polarizing. And maybe polarizing is the first word that comes to mind for most people, but I think it fits because it can create the most opposite of reactions.

Sometimes people go and seek advice, and their either confirmed in their initial thoughts are told something they don’t want to hear. At other times advice is given when not asked for, and in all these cases the reaction from the person on the receiving end can range from being feeling positive and validated to negative and hostile.

How you feel about the advice you’ve just been given also stems from a number of things. Is the source trustworthy? Does the source understand the whole situation in context? What is the character of the source?

All of these things played into mind when I was recently given this bit of advice: “Don’t run away from a bad situation, run toward a great one.” Those were the words from a good friend of mine, David Griner, Director of Digital Initiatives and Innovation at Adweek. I trust Dave and his opinion because he’s not shy of telling the honest truth, saying things as they are, and he believes in paying it forward.

“Don’t run away from a bad situation, run toward a great one.”

~ David Griner

It’s a perspective that I had not considered before and it makes total sense. No one wants to stay in a bad situation or one that is less than ideal, and nobody would blame anyone for wanting to leave something like that as quickly as possible. But if you only consider running away from a bad situation, you will be willing to accept another situation that’s only ideal for the moment. Then it won’t be too long before you find yourself looking to leave another bad situation.

Instead, if you’re running to something good or great, you are advancing yourself and moving towards something that you’re truly passionate about. And a job, position, or situation that you’re passionate about has the chance to last and will make you happier overall.

In order to take advantage of Dave’s advice though, we have to set aside some time to think and remove the emotions that drive us to consider change to begin with. Perhaps the current situation isn’t as bad as originally thought, and the opportunity you were looking to go to isn’t as good as it looked.

Well that’s the lesson that I’ve learned, does it apply for you as well?

Who You Are Is How You Act

My favorite hobby nowadays is taking photos. I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they create, and in my case if you look at my photography you can get a good snapshot (pardon the pun) of who I am. 

It’s not just the case with photography though. Who you are is embodied in your work and your actions. What you output is a reflection your self. It’s why we want to be proud of what we’ve done and what projects we work on. It’s why we want to work on what we’re passionate about.

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Symmetry and balance are two things that I like to find when taking photos.

In addition to work and what we create, who we really are also comes out in how we act. What we say no longer has meaning if how we act is much different from that. 

My favorite movie quote is from Batman Begins, “it’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me”. I’ll admit, Batman is my favorite superhero, but had the Joker said it I still think it would be my favorite movie quote because it resonated with me. Actions do speak louder than words. 

“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

~ Batman Begins

Trust has always been very important, and it seems that nowadays who you can trust or what you can believe in is really hard to determine. People flippantly say things all the time without thinking, and words don’t seem to mean as much as they used to. So I’m going to let my actions, and what I do, do the talking for me. And your actions will also define you as well.