21 Pieces of Advice That Are Actually Bad

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
May 19, 2024 at 8:48PM UTC

Of course, you should always take advice with a grain of salt. That said, there's some advice out there that you might just want to totally ignore.

These 21 pieces of advice can be detrimental and damaging if taken too seriously. While some of this advice can be great for some situations, it doesn't always apply to all situations.

1. "Stop worrying."

It's easy for other people to tell you to stop worrying, as stopping your worries is easier said than done. Of course, dwelling on a situation or sweating about something that hasn't happened yet can be damaging for your mental health and, simply put, unnecessary. For that reason, meditation instructors teach that worrying is bondage; it's like praying for what you don't want to happen. 
But the reality is that, sometimes, having concerns can help motivate you to make a change. If you're worried about your dwindling bank account, for example, that worry may prompt you to start saving more or budgeting better. If you're worried about an upcoming exam, that worry may encourage you to study some more.

2. "Stay strong."

When people tell you to stay strong, you might feel like you're not allowed to cry or feel certain emotions because, after all, those are signs of weakness. Right?
Wrong. Staying strong doesn't mean not feeling your feelings; it means getting yourself through a situation some way — the best way that you know how, and that may be accompanied by tears and emotions if it's a tough one.

3. "Man up."

The saying "man up" perpetuates a sexist notion that men are not only stronger than women but also that men need to behave in a certain macho-masculine manner. This is a damaging mentality for everyone.

4. "Do what you love, and the money will follow."

Sometimes, doing what you love won't necessarily earn you money — or at least not enough money. It's OK to do what you love as a passion project or a side hobby and not have to make money from it. Besides, making money from it may start to take away some of its allure when every decision you have to make becomes a business one.

5. "There's time to sleep in the grave."

Your mind and your body both need sleep. You need sleep for your brain to operate and for your body to function optimally. You need sleep to perform at your best. Prioritize sleep.

6. "Take the emotion out of it."

Sure, sometimes it may serve you well to take the emotion out of the equation. Bu you're also only human, and somethings can make you feel emotional — even if it's a business transaction. It's OK to feel emotion; emotion fuels motivation.

7. "Fake it until you make it."

Don't fake it. Actually do your best to learn as much as you can and develop your skills. You're where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there; with time and effort, you'll make it further along.

8. "Do it like it's always been done."

Some traditions should be broken; it's as simple as that.

9. "Life's too short to feel X."

Life is short; that's fair. And life is too short to feel sad or angry for too long; after all, you should spend your time trying your best to focus on the positives. But you have negative emotions for a reason — you're meant to feel them, too. It's OK to feel whatever it is that you're feeling. Those feelings are valid. And those feelings may even help you to appreciate your positive feelings even more.

10. "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."

Lies. Maybe work won't feel as much like work or it won't be as painful as going to a job every day that you hate, but work is still work. There are going to be some aspects of it that you don't necessarily love but that you still have to do — even if you generally love your job. And that's OK.

11. "Just power through."

Sometimes you just need a break. You don't want to burn yourself out. You have to listen to your body.

12. "Quitters never win."

Quitters do sometimes win. If you quit a job at a toxic company, for example, that's a positive.

13. "Winners never quit."

Again, winners do quit. Sometimes you need to leave something toxic or negative behind in order to achieve success. Quitting isn't always an easy decision, but it's sometimes a necessary one.

14. "Don't worry about what other people think about you."

Sure, in the grand scheme of life, you shouldn't pay too much mind to what other people think about you. Love yourself, and the rest shouldn't matter that much. But you should be open to other people's critical feedback, advice and tips on how to better yourself, improve in your career or find success. In those cases, you should care what other people think.

15. "If they don't like you, they're just jealous of you."

This just isn't true. If someone doesn't like you, they might actually just not like you. Not everyone has to enjoy your company, and that's OK.

16. "Don't change; just be yourself."

Change can be a good thing! It's OK to change, and you can still be yourself along the way; after all, you are always changing with every decision and move you make. You are always learning and growing, so embrace the journey.

17. "Don't take things so personally."

Some things just personally. Again, you shouldn't dwell on situations or mope around, but it's OK to feel whatever it is that you're feeling. If it feels personal, you're not wrong for feeling that way. Do, however, try not to attach to your emotions. Acknowledge them and let them pass like energy moving through you.

18. "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you."

Sticks and stones may break your bones, and words may break your heart or shatter your ego or crush your soul or twist your gut. Words can hurt, sometimes even more than physical wounds. Ignoring that is to ignore your mental health.

19. "Fight fire with fire."

You don't always need to get back at people or make them feel what you feel. What you should do is fight fire with water. Come up with a solution that actually solves the issue at hand.

20. "Good things come to those who wait."

Sure, if you're too anxious or come on too strong or look too hard, you might not get or find what it is that you want. If you show patience, however, you might be more open to opportunities that present themselves. That said, you can't sit around waiting all day. Sometimes, you need to get out there and go after what you want.
For example, you can't necessarily wait around for a raise; you may need to ask for one. You can't just wait for your dream job to exist; sometimes you have to be an entrepreneur and create it yourself.

21. "Dream big."

Dream big, sure. But make sure that your dreams are realistic at the same time. Set goals for yourself that are achievable, as well as an end goal that you'd love to achieve. Achieving small successes along the way will keep you motivated and moving on up to the bigger goals. 

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.

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