Why You Can’t Take Good Advice


I’ve been doing branding for a very long time. And one thing sets my best clients apart from the losers: Their ability to take sound advice.

  • One client flat-out refused to pay.
  • Another threw a shit fit at my boss.
  • A third became enraged at me directly.

The things I say aren’t rocket science, really. But most people are extremely invested in lying to themselves.

When it comes to their own delusional lies or the unvarnished truth, they’ll take the delusional lies even though it causes them not just pain but financial ruin.

They could be coasting down the hill, but they’d rather ride a broken bike up a mountain. 

Why is that? Why can’t smart people take good advice?

There are three possibilities here.

  • Emotional baggage: They’ve got some screwed-up thing going on in their brains.
  • Personal power: The solution will hurt their position, status or career.
  • Organizational issues: They agree cognitively but the reigning dysfunction is too great to tolerate a real solution.

I was talking to someone at a conference the other day. And just for the hell of it I said, “I don’t work for you but can I give you some free brand advice?”

The person looked down at his business card and then up at me. And said,

“We thought of that about ten years ago, but office politics killed it before it got off the ground.”

Now the company is kind of a brand laughingstock.

Listen – you’re not the only one who finds yourself in a pickle, alright?

Everyone’s got their problems.

But you don’t have forever to wait, or endless money to lose.

Take good advice wherever you can find it, before that sinking ship you hear about on the news turns out to be your own. 

Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Currently she is a public servant, as well as an independent freelance writer. This blog, like all of her public content, is written in her personal capacity unless otherwise noted. It does not reflect the views of the U.S. government, in whole or in part. Photo credit: Oiva Eskola / Flickr

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