Who Should I Take Advice From?

Anyone can publish content on the internet nowadays — Here’s who I’m following and why you should follow them too.

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

Everywhere I look on Medium, I see people talking about how to get more views, how much money everyone has made (theirs or others), what the fastest way is to climb the capitalist ladder, or articles that are not related to money but are clearly optimised for clicks at the expense of quality.

Today alone, I read three articles (both in and outside of my niches) that were supposed to come from trusted sources but had poorly-researched content and — not surprisingly — clickbait titles.

I understand everyone wants a piece of the (Medium) pie for various reasons, and what appears on my Medium homepage is partly due to my own settings, but it got me thinking about what I offer in my own writing and whom I, as a reader, should take advice from. I hope my reasoning in this article can help you make the best decision for yourself too.

What You Can Expect from My Writing

I could write articles about how much money I’ve made and how to make all that money on Medium but, frankly speaking, it never interests me enough to write. Or I could pump out daily articles with controversial headlines about everything and absolutely nothing important, but my dry soul and conscience would haunt me in my dreams, I’m sure.

That said, I acknowledge that it’s important to be a great online marketer and I do play by the rules by learning to write attention-grabbing headlines and engaging content; there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to make money and be successful. But, one thing I know for sure is that I’m not primarily driven by money in this space.

I would write about money if it’s part of the agenda to help people (especially women) more financially and emotionally secure. However, getting millions of views and reads (which ultimately makes me dollars) isn’t something I would aim to do for myself at the expense of everything else — especially the benefits for my readers. I would not compromise my authenticity, my integrity, the quality of my writing, or Tingly Mind’s mission.

I know, in a way, this is a statement of privilege. I could afford to write to express myself and offer my insights without putting popularity and profits at the forefront, or treat writing as a means to communicate ideas and influence social changes — not solely as a money-making tool.

But, in the current climate, I don’t see any point otherwise. The world doesn’t need more self-absorbed capitalists; we need more people with strong values and clear principles who are genuinely keen to help others live their best lives.

We need people who are in it wholeheartedly for the good changes. And I’m one of them. I’m getting there.

Be Selective About Your Influences

It’s getting easier and easier to publish content on the internet and, as a result, there are more and more “experts” on any given topic (especially relationships) giving out their “authoritative advice” (You might see me as one of them, but I’ll tell you why you should or should not take my advice shortly below).

Now that everyone knows a thing or two about how to make their articles look professional, it can be quite a challenge to tell the helpful, solid ones from the harmful, thoughtless ones right off the bat. Even Medium’s household names can sometimes produce questionable pieces that make you gasp and want to leave Medium.

Now, facing this problem, I’ve come up with a few ideas.

Take a Grain of Salt

First, as a reader, I wouldn’t take advice from someone blindly just because:

  • They’re popular.
  • They’re successful by society’s standards.
  • They’re older than me.
  • They’re associated with prestigious institutions.
  • They quote a lot of big names and studies in their articles.
  • Their articles are featured.
  • Their articles have a lot of claps (Always read the comments — chances are they will show you a different picture)

None of this means the writer understands what it’s like to be me and their advice works for me specifically. None of this automatically makes me respect and trust them. None of this means they’re always right or providing correct information.

So, when I read a trending article or an article written by a popular writer, I make sure I pay careful attention to the following:

  • who the writer is
  • what makes them popular in the first place
  • why this writer is writing this particular piece
  • their sources
  • what applies to me and what doesn’t.

I remind myself that I don’t have to agree with someone just because everyone agrees with them.

“You can’t agree or disagree with someone if you don’t even see the same reality.”

Follow These People

Every day, I’m bombarded with app notifications and emails telling me who to follow and what to read. Like everyone else, I have limited time and attention, so I’ve tried to Marie-kondo my social media, news, and Medium feeds.

Now, I believe there are three types of people who are worth following:

  • People who have the same values and beliefs as yours — These people see the same reality as you do and, given a situation, they likely have the same stance as yours.
  • People who share their own personal experiences and what’ve worked for them so you could take away what works for you — These people are transparent about their reality so, by having the information they share, you can make an informed decision for yourself.
  • People who have been through what you’re going through and are living the life you want for yourself These people can draw a practical path for you. They can also be referred to as “role models”.

That said, no two people are the same all the time. Even if someone is my role model, it doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they say. Anyone can be wrong now and then, and it’s important to form my own opinions and know what to take away and what to ignore.

The good thing about following these people is that when a disagreement arises, discussions can be productive and lead to positive changes as the foundations of our ideas are clear and likely similar. Simply put, you can’t agree or disagree with someone if you don’t even see the same reality.

Coming back to “why you should or should not take my advice”

I hope that you’re here because of the above three and — if you do choose to take my advice — you should only be here because of the above three.

I don’t plan to influence or please everyone on this planet — it’s impossible. I don’t need to be worldwide famous. I’m not here to prove I’m right about something and that everyone should take my advice. I have certain values and principles that I believe are good and help me live a good life, and I’m writing to share my experiences and insights to benefit those who have those same values and principles. Or, perhaps, someone who was different from me now learns about my life and decides that they want to adopt the same values and principles, then they’re welcome to join me on this journey — I would never convince someone of this.

My goal is to find and serve my “thousand true fans” — my community. I want to have relationships with my readers and writers. I’m learning as much as I’m giving insights so I appreciate your constructive feedback and productive opinions.

Parting Words

It’s an exciting time to be on the internet — both as a writer and a reader. There’s so much content available while our attention is limited. So a natural question comes to my mind “Who should I follow and take advice from?” and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three types of people worth giving our time to.

You can apply this line of thinking to your life outside of the internet as well. You might learn from others who are different from you, but there’s no point in wasting time arguing with people who don’t see or understand your perspectives at all. In fact, it’s harmful if you keep exposing yourself to ideas and people that fundamentally conflict with you and your life.

You’re not for everyone, and it’s okay.

I’ve learned that it’s a better strategy to invest your time and energy in people who are similar to you, get you, choose you, and want to help you live your best life.

Ellen Nguyen is the founder of Tingly Mind, a media website about relationships and personal growth. Buy her book. Join her mailing list.

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Writer, author, content creator. Editor of Tingly Mind, empowering life and relationship advice for women. Check me out: https://linktr.ee/ellennguyen