Have you ever noticed that the people who seek advice the most, are also the same people who do this… reject advice the most?
It’s almost surreal to watch.
I’ve had friends, and friends of friends, reach out for advice. They’re obviously very troubled by something financially. They contact me, arrange to meet me and then spend the next hour telling me about their financial problems.
In the end, I give them the best financial advice I know and then this happens…
“Yeah, but…”, they say.
They then proceed to tell me how their all too common situation is 100% unique and different, and that they’re the only person in the world that is experiencing it, and therefore my advice just couldn’t possibly pertain to them.
“It wouldn’t work”, they exclaim.
At this point, I usually start laughing. Not at them, but at the situation. My questions back to them are obvious: “Why do you go to all the trouble to seek advice if you’re not going to take it? If you know what’s best, then why are you in financial trouble?”
I get all types of answers to these questions, but rarely do I get the correct answer. What’s the correct answer, you ask?
They need an enemy.
These people don’t want someone to help them, they just want someone who will support their failure. Someone who will be glad, happy even, to see them continue to struggle. Someone that will give them approval for doing things wrong.
Now, there’s a little science for why this happens. Research using reactance theory informs us that whenever someone tells us what to do and how to do it, we can respond with a defensive defiance because we want to maximize our personal freedom and decision making.
As a blogger about personal freedom, I get that. Nobody likes to be told what to do. Being told what to do can bring out the stubbornness in all of us. It can be hard for many to hear that their very own ship, the one that they’ve been the captain of for years, is sinking. Everyone says that they’re a great driver, yet if everyone where, we wouldn’t have so many accidents!
So, what does this mean for people who seek financial advice? It means that everyone has cognitive biases and it’s important to be aware of them. Plato said that all evil is rooted in ignorance. If you think of someone you know that has the very worst finances possible (there’s at least one in every family), their financial problems don’t just exist because of their flaws – but because they refuse to admit they have flaws.
When I see someone who has asked for financial advice, but is struggling to accept it, I switch gears with a pivotal question. Here’s what I ask…
“Who are you modeling?”
Research on observational learning (in conjunction with an understanding of reactance theory) suggests that while people will resist even solicited advice and instruction, they will follow the behaviors of others—especially when there appears to be good and reinforcing outcomes from these behaviors (or beliefs).
This should make sense. It’s easier for some to mirror someone else’s actions for improvement, than to be told flat-out that they need to improve.
Invariably, the answer to my modeling question is this – “Well, nobody”. Rarely do I see someone that is struggling financially also have someone that they are modeling their lives after. Coincidence? Hardly.
My friends, being totally self-reliant when it comes to building wealth sounds really cool, but know this – it’s the most difficult way to success. It’s nonsense if your goal is to be financially independent one day. Success leaves tracks and there’s so much good information out there from others that have walked the success path earlier.
I’ve said many times that I didn’t invent anything on the way to success. I simply connected the dots that others were so kind enough to leave for me – people like Warren Buffett and Jim Rohn, who’ve altruistically given the world so many great pieces of wisdom.
If you’re struggling with something financially, seeing the same money problems occurring over and over, or just feel stuck (the bank balance never lies), then there’s probably some advice you’re not accepting. Perhaps you’re looking for an enemy instead of advice?
If that’s the case, then I invite you to pivot…pivot to modeling. Ask yourself, who am I modeling right now? Ask yourself these questions – What would Warren Buffett do in this situation? What would Bill Gates do here?
These are questions of enlightenment and they’re less intrusive to some who naturally recoil against taking advice. If you’re not where you need to be financially, learn to relax your opinions a little. Be opened minded about new thinking. After all, success is not innate. Everyone learns it from someone else. Buffett learned from Ben Graham. Jim Rohn learned from Earl Shoaff. And yours truly learned from both!
Don’t look for enemies. Look to grow from new information that provides a better way than the way you’re using now with money. Who are you modeling?
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
P.S. Why aren’t you wealthy yet? It’s because of something you don’t know. Otherwise you’d already be rich. Isn’t it time to learn what you don’t know? Consider signing-up for my newsletter below, to help you build wealth faster.
P.S.S. Looking to make an overnight fortune? Don’t sign-up to receive my newsletter below. There’s no magic secret. Becoming financially free takes time and dedication. But learning professional-grade money skills can have a life changing effect. If you’re ready to put in the work and learn, I can show you how to achieve financial freedom faster than normal.
P.S.S.S. There’s nothing for sale on this blog or in my newsletter. That’s right. Unlike other sites who claim to help people achieve financial success, I’m not trying to sell you anything. In fact, I find it a little disgusting that some sites insist that you buy something before they teach you how to become rich. Here on my blog and in my newsletter, I just provide actionable advice for free. It’s my way to give back. What do you have to lose? Subscribe today.
Ready for more tips on how to achieve the free life? Check-out more articles from the blog archives below: