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Tim Ferriss explains why bad advice can be as valuable as good advice

Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “Tribe of Mentors,” says the best mentors won’t give you all the answers, but will give you the ability to find them yourself. Following is a transcript¬†of the video.

Tim Ferriss: The type of mentors who tend to be the most helpful are those who don’t necessarily give you an answer.

My name is Tim Ferriss, angel investor and author of books including “The 4-Hour Workweek” and the latest, “Tribe of Mentors.”

Very frequently we’ll ask someone, for instance: “What advice would you give to a 30-year-old just getting started in your industry? What is the best advice you would give?” And just as important, I think, you should ask, “What advice should that person ignore?” Or: “What is the worst advice you hear repeated often in your industry? What is the conventional wisdom that you disagree with?”

Those types of questions give you a not-to-do list. And it is what you don’t do that provides the space for what you can do. Anyone who says, “You should do this the way I did it,” without any caveats, should be maybe ignored in many cases, but certainly viewed with suspicion.

The type of mentors who tend to be the most helpful are those who don’t necessarily give you an answer, but they give you a better way of finding that answer.

“I’m leaving my second job. I want to start my own company. What should I do?” And they say, “Well, I can’t tell you what you should do, because I don’t have enough information,” which is a huge credibility point, in my mind, that they have the awareness to say that. And they say, “But if I were in your position, here is how I might think through it.”

So look for mentors who don’t necessarily give you answers but who walk you through the process of how they might think about making the proper decision given all of your particulars.

Listen to a full interview with Tim Ferriss on Business Insider’s “Success! How I did it” podcast:¬†


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