Are you a parent or teacher guilty of spreading the absolute worst advice ever to today’s younger generation? Are your good intentions actually poisoning the innocent minds of your loved ones?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re questioning yourself right now. Because you should be.
You might be guilty of breeding something very much like “cancer cells” in their brain, by giving them the worst advice ever. But that’s not my biggest concern.
You may have been feeding the younger generation this bad advice, allowing it to spread for many years, without your own conscious awareness. The negative effects of your horrible advice may have been silently lurking right under your radar the entire time you’ve been parenting or teaching them.
No signs. No symptoms. Nothing to indicate that you’d given the worst advice ever, until the day you wished you knew what I’m about to reveal to you sooner. Don’t wait until the day you might regret not equipping yourself with modern-day wisdom.
Never forget that today’s generation can’t necessarily succeed in life by doing things the way you did things. Times have changed.
It’s unfortunate to see most teachers still passing on outdated, conventional wisdom, to today’s modern student. They’re passing on outdated advice that no longer applies to a generation that’s living in a different time. And the sad part is, they have no idea their bad advice is planting the seeds for young people to live a life of mediocrity and possibly never reach their full potential.
That’s why I urge you to set aside all distractions right now, read this article, and learn what the worst advice you can give is, to protect your loved ones.
Below are 10 examples of the worst advice ever, that parents and teachers should stop telling today’s younger generation immediately:
1. You Should Always Feel Proud of Your Achievements
This advice is not one that most will say explicitly like this but it is among some of the top worst advice you could ever say to young people. It’s actually one that comes in the form of a well-meant praise. Take a moment and think about a time when you heard parents say these things to their kids:
- “I’m so proud of you! You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!”
- “Wow, that’s a beautiful drawing! You might be the next Picasso or something.”
- “What a genius! You did so well without even putting in a lot of effort!”
Sounds familiar, right? You might have heard parents say these things in a movie, or something you heard when your friend congratulated her son, or you may have been showered with these nice words yourself when you were younger.
If you’re like most people, none of your emergency red flags will go flying up. You’ll hear these lavish praises as supportive, normal, and self-esteem boosting messages.
Because isn’t it common knowledge to praise kids and encourage their confidence and achievements so they learn to behave well and continue to improve their abilities?
But would you be surprised if kids actually hear a different message? If you pay closer attention, you’ll see that they have something else brewing in their mind:
- “If I don’t learn something fast, then I’m not smart.”
- “I shouldn’t attempt to draw anything or they will think I’m not like Picasso.”
- “I should stop studying or they will think I’m not a genius.”
Parents and teachers who praise children and let them know they should feel proud of their accomplishments are “so-called” one of the worst advice ever. Now, I’m not suggesting it’s not a good idea to praise kids. I’m saying that you should praise them in a way that triggers them to keep improving instead of stunting their growth.
Focus on Encouraging a Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset
According to the book Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck believes that “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”
In her book, she talks about how people are born with two different mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. And depending on how we’re taught, some people have more of a fixed mindset and others have more of a growth mindset.
At an early age, many people are trained to adopt a fixed mindset. This means you were taught to believe your natural qualities were carved in stone. Making you feel the need to prove yourself and receive validation all the time.
For example, let’s say as a child, you were always focused on being smart all the time because that’s what you were told. And as you grew up, no one taught you to think differently so you always measured yourself based on the following: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Am I going to feel like a winner or a loser?
You might be thinking, “Well as a society, we value intelligence, personality, and character so isn’t normal to aim for excellence in these traits?”
Yes, that’s true. But when you’re aiming for excellence, a fixed mindset can make it harder for you to work around obstacles in life. Why? Because you’re so worried about whether you’re smart or dumb. Instead, it’s much more productive to adopt a growth mindset. Dr. Dweck says it’s the “belief that your natural qualities can be developed through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.”
Now, your next question might be…
How Do You Actually Encourage a Growth Mindset
If you want to teach kids to think with a growth-oriented mindset. You need to understand that it’s far more effective to praise children on the process, not the outcome.
Your goal should be to help them to understand the importance of trying new strategies when the one they’re using isn’t working. And to ask for help or input from other people when they need it. Dr. Dweck says this is the “process you want to appreciate: hard work, trying new strategies, and seeking input from others.”
In different situations, notice how a process can often be reused but an outcome cannot. A process can be improved but an outcome cannot. So what does that mean?
It means the outcome is fixed. It doesn’t change unless you change how you got there. And if you think about it, an outcome is simply the product of a process. So if you want to change the outcome, you need to first change the process.
Here’s how you can teach kids to focus more on the process.
Instead of saying, “You’re so smart!”
- Say: “You worked really hard on solving that puzzle. I saw you got stuck but when you figured out a new way to do it and really focused, I knew you could solve it.”
Instead of saying, “That’s a beautiful drawing!”
- Say: “I really liked the colors you used for the ocean and how you drew the different sharks. Why did you choose to use those colors for the ocean? How did you come up with all those different sharks?”
Notice how these are both praises but they’re told in a way that celebrates the process, not just the outcome. This will encourage them to focus on working hard instead of focusing on what the result should be.
2. Figure Out What You Want To Be When You Grow Up
Do you remember the days when you were in school between Kindergarten and 5th Grade? And your parents or teachers would ask you this question: “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”
And what did you say when they asked you this question every year?
- You might’ve started with something creative like, “I want to be a paleontologist.”
- And then, “I want to be a pilot.”
- Or “I want to be a doctor.”
My question to you is this: How do you even know what you want to be when you grow up when you haven’t experienced anything yet? How do you know what you want to be when you haven’t tried enough things?
So why do parents and teachers continue to ask these questions today? Chances are, they are just passing on the same wisdom they were once taught.
The problem with this is advice is that it conditions you to focus on designing your life first before you actually start to live it. While there’s nothing really wrong with that, it prevents you from thinking about other options available that may or may not suit your natural talents better.
How Conventional Wisdom Turns into the Worst Advice Ever
Dr. Carol Dweck gives a great example of two parents who wanted the best for their daughter, Sandy, but ended up putting her in danger. First of all both parents had a very fixed mindset.
For her entire life, they groomed her to believe her goal was to be a Harvard graduate. It didn’t matter that she wanted to learn, pursue her love for science, or make a great contribution.
As long as she got into Harvard, it meant that she was intelligent and competent. But what her parents never prepared for was this: What would happen if she didn’t get into Harvard?
Well guess what? Sandy didn’t get accepted and ended up falling into a deep depression that plagued her ever since. The weight of the labels her parents put on her nearly crushed her and forced her into considering suicide.
So how do you prevent tragedies like Sandy’s? Give young people the freedom and the room to figure it out on their own. That doesn’t mean you should toss them onto the streets and say, “Here, figure it out.”
It means that you should act as a guide by giving them the necessary resources to help them come to their own conclusion about what they choose to do in their life.
3. You Don’t Have To Be The Best
Every parent wants their child to have high-self esteem by loving themselves, feeling confident, and being happy. But some parents believe that if they encourage their kids to think too highly of their abilities then they will think they’re more important or better than other people.
But this belief is actually the opposite of self-esteem. It’s called grandiosity, meaning you act like you’re entitled, narcissistic, superior or better than other people. All of these traits come from a person’s insecurities. When you have high self-esteem it doesn’t mean that you’re superior over others. It simply means that you feel confident and secure in your own value and self-worth.
The opposite of high self-esteem is low self-esteem. And that’s where some young people can take a detour for the worst. Those with low self-esteem tend to think that they are not good enough and are insecure in their value and self-worth.
So what happens when parents and teachers fail to encourage young people to be the best they can be?
They will protect themselves from letting other people see their insecurities by behaving arrogantly. How many young people do you know act arrogant and constantly compare themselves with other people?
The reason is because they don’t believe in their own capabilities enough so they feel the need to “rank” themselves against other people all the time. Low self-esteem is one of the main “cancer-like cells” that can spread completely unnoticed in their brain. Until the day it hits a threshold and triggers them to consider taking their own life. This is why this is advice is one of the worst advice ever.
And if it couldn’t get any worse. If they’re not taught to change their belief about their own self-worth, it will not only carry itself into adulthood but become much harder to undo.
4. You Need To Learn From Me Because I’ve Been There And Done That
Every parent wants to give their child the best advice but this is not one of them. It too resides in the worst advice ever list. Parents have a tendency to say this because they’ve experienced different obstacles in life. And they assume they know more and thus have the right to advise their kids on what to do and what they should value.
And there’s nothing wrong with passing on their life wisdom onto their kids. But the problem is whether or not that wisdom is actually credible and reliable. Is the advice they’re passing on guiding their kids to live a life of success or mediocrity?
Well, how do you know if the advice is reliable? All the parent needs to do is ask themselves this question: “Am I living the life I want to live?”
If the answer is no, then chances are, their advice is not reliable.
There are some cases where parents can be so caught up in their own unfulfilled dreams and desires that they unknowingly plant those desires in the minds of their kids. This can go wrong if their kids go against fulfilling those dreams and desires. Because it forces them into thinking they will be punished and judged.
5. Learn To Save Your Money For Your Future
This is perhaps one of the worst advice you could ever say to a young person who is blooming into adulthood and needs to learn how to make a living. Unfortunately, it is still a belief and so-called wisdom that schools are still teaching. It may actually be the closest thing students will ever learn when it comes to finances.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well what’s so wrong about saving up for your future isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”
You’re right. It is if you intend to pursue a 40-year financial plan.
Think about it. If that was the way to a secure financial future, then why aren’t most people financially secure when they reach the age of retirement?
According to the words of MJ DeMarco, most parents and teachers who still preach this false belief “have been brainwashed by an army of financial gurus who pitch a dream-killing dogma known as Get Rich Slow. Their suffocating plan promises elderly riches by saving money and recklessly gambling a person’s financial future to the whims of the stock market, job market, and the housing market.”
Successful people who are in control of their finances know that every penny you save is still just a penny. Saving that penny will not help you reach any sort of financial wealth.
But it doesn’t end there.
Why Most People Will Never Be Able To Live a Life of Prosperity and Abundance
This belief about saving money and bad investment strategies also prime young people to subconsciously have a negative attitude towards money and wealth. As they mature, they’ll think that if they have to save money for their future, then it must mean they shouldn’t spend it.
You see, it trains the mind to think, “I need to be frugal to at least be well off later on in life.” Often times when they need to buy something, their mind will automatically trigger a negative response of, “Oh, that’s too expensive” or “I can’t afford it.”
Sometimes, a product may not even be that expensive, but they instantly have that thought because they have a negative attitude about money ingrained into their subconscious mind.
It stops them from thinking in terms of prosperity and abundance. This mindset ultimately affects every financial decision they’ll make in their life. And chances are, the land of “financial confidence” will not be within their reach, which is this financial advice ranks very high on the worst advice ever list.
6. If You Want To Be Successful, Go To School, Get Good Grades, Get A High Paying Job . . . ?
Many teachers think of themselves as finished products. And if you recall what I discussed earlier about the two mindsets from Dr. Carol Dweck, these types of teachers have a fixed mindset. They simply take what they know and what they’re told and teach their students the “copy and paste” method.
Now, what does that mean?
Keep in mind, this is a very oversimplified view of things but it’s essentially what students are being taught. They’re saying, “Okay here’s what you need to know. And all you need to do is copy and paste it” into your mind and for the rest of your life. They aren’t concerned about what’s working in society and what’s not. This is one of the reasons why most students are uninterested in what these teachers have to say.
Picture how a school is like a chocolate factory. Every chocolate bar is like a student and the machines stamping each chocolate bar with the brand logo is the teacher.
What do you think you get from this process?
Exactly. You get thousands and thousands of chocolate bars pumped out of the factory each imprinted with the same logo. Or another way of putting it is, you get thousands and thousands of students being pumped out of schools each brainwashed with the same flawed, outdated mindset.
This might seem a bit extreme and far-fetched, right? But take a moment to consider this.
“Is it actually far from the truth?”
“Are most people in society truly successful following this roadmap to success?”
If you’re being honest, then the answer is no. Most people are not successful and are not living their life to its full potential. In fact, most are living a life of mediocrity because they were equipped with a mindset that applied to another generation. That why this advice qualifies as one of the top worst advice ever.
“So, Are You Saying Young People Should Stop Going To School?”
No. I’m not suggesting that school or college is a bad thing because as you know, there are certain occupations out there (such as doctors and lawyers) that require you to learn specific skill sets that are mostly taught in school. Notice how I said “skill sets.”
If you’re going to school to acquire a skill set to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor or a lawyer, then, by all means, go do it. Because that’s the place to learn it. But it’s also important to note that there’s an abundance of in-demand and highly lucrative jobs in today’s gig economy that don’t require you to get a college degree.
That means you don’t need to force yourself to get a degree. And to pursue those opportunities you need to learn specific skills that are not taught in school. Most people are not even aware these opportunities exist because again they were taught to believe in an outdated roadmap to success.
7. Be Independent and Work By Yourself
At first glance, you probably wouldn’t consider this to be among the worst advice ever to tell young people. Because isn’t this common and conventional wisdom that’s accepted in society?
Yes. But the fact that its common wisdom makes it a problem. As you now know, common wisdom isn’t the way to go if you want to achieve success in life.
In the classroom, when students had to work on assignments that required them to solve a problem, for example. It was generally looked down upon to work together with other people. Because it meant that if you weren’t working alone, you weren’t trying hard or putting in the effort.
While it’s good to learn how to do things on your own, it doesn’t mean you should neglect the superior power of teamwork.
The problem with this belief system is, if it’s not taught properly, young people will be conditioned to have a negative attitude about collaborating with other people. And going back to Dr. Carol Dweck’s study on the two mindsets. For kids who have a fixed mindset, they’ll think, “I shouldn’t work with other people because it’ll mean that I’m not smart.”
But that’s not true. In a team, the beauty of working together is that you can bounce ideas off each other. And create ideas far more superior than what each individual could have thought of alone.What a pack of wolves can do together is far more powerful than what a lone wolf can do alone. Click To Tweet
It also allows people to work collaboratively in a safe, judgment-free, and risk-free environment, like a dojo. A place where people can feel comfortable to learn from each other, practice, and grow to produce extraordinary results and create a life they desire.
8. You Need to Make Sure You “Graduate”
How is encouraging a young person to pursue an education and then “graduate” considered to be one of the worst advice ever?
Good question. It isn’t obvious, because the real answer is hidden behind the word “graduate.” Think about how often you’ve heard parents and teachers say these things to young people:
- “Are you planning to graduate?”
- “When do you graduate?”
- “Have you met all your requirements to graduate?”
- And to top it all off, “Congratulations on your graduation!”
Do you notice anything dangerous about the word “graduate?”
The word itself is subconsciously signaling the brain that “graduating” means you’re ending your education. It means you don’t have to continue learning anymore.
People who encourage the act of graduating are teaching young people what? That their next step in life is to stop learning and to go get a job. This mentality subconsciously stunts all growth. It’s because of this mentality that most people are not successful.
Successful people actually do the complete opposite. They never “graduate.” They’re learning and growing for an entire lifetime because if they’re not growing, they’re dying.
9. Follow Your Passion and The Money Will Follow
Have you heard the common saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow?” You may have heard it from your friends, your loved ones, or even random strangers.
Take a moment to think about all those people who are doing what they love and consider this: “Okay, that’s nice. They’re all doing what they love, but where on earth is the money?”
If you have no idea where the money is, then I rest my case. This idea is another one of the worst advice ever that people need to stop telling younger generations.
It’s far more realistic and productive to think about what you need to do right now to just start making money and bring in some cash. Because chances are, if you wish to pursue your dreams, you will first need capital to at least get things going.
Wouldn’t you agree it would be very difficult to start a business venture, pursue investment avenues, and help other people, if you don’t have any money to start with?
It’s Easier Driving a Car With Fuel Than Driving a Car Without It
Here’s another way to think about it. Picture a car engine. Once you have some money or fuel coming in, you are in sense starting up the “engine” (like starting a business), warming it up, and getting things going. After you’ve done that, then you’ll have less resistance getting the car to move when you step on the gas pedal, right?
Now, imagine what would happen if you didn’t have any fuel. Would you be able to start your “engine”? Will the car move forward when you step on the gas pedal?
Exactly. It will not move. There will be a lot of resistance and you’ll probably have to “borrow” other people to go behind the car and help you push it. And no one likes to do that.
It’s very similar to real-life situations. When you’re overly optimistic and naively think you can just pursue your passion without earning money first. You’ll face more resistance. And find yourself resorting to pushy, desperate tactics like borrowing money from your friends and family to start that new business or invest in that stock.
10. You Just Need To Work Hard To Be Successful
This one probably ranks among the top 5 in the worst advice ever list. And here’s why. If hard work was all it took to become successful, then why aren’t most people successful?
Wouldn’t you agree that there are a lot of people who work extremely hard, like through physical labor, for their entire life and never reach a stage where they can at least say they’re comfortable? It’s a tragedy to see so many people struggle like that, all because they didn’t know any better.
Today, even with the unlimited amount of information you can access on your fancy, compact, touchscreen devices, many people are still confused about what it takes to become “successful.” And they still think that all it takes is hard work and determination.
Luckily, the smart ex-wife of Elon Musk came out from behind the scenes to answer this burning question many people are dying to know:
This question originally appeared on Quora.
Here’s What Justine Musk Had To Say About It:
One of the many qualities that separate self-made billionaires from the rest of us is their ability to ask the right questions.
This is not the right question.
(Which is not to say it’s a bad question. It just won’t get that deep part of your mind working to help you — mulling things over when you think you’re thinking about something else — sending up flares of insight.)
You’re determined. So what? You haven’t been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet. Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?
We live in a culture that celebrates determination and hard work, but understand: these are the qualities that keep you in the game after most everybody else has left, or until somebody bigger and stronger picks you up and hurls you back out to sea. Determination and hard work are necessary, yes, but they are the minimum requirements. As in: the bare minimum.
A lot of people work extremely hard and through no fault of their own — bad luck, the wrong environment, unfortunate circumstances — struggle to survive.
How can you *leverage* your time and your work?
Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential.
So, What Do You Do?
Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.
The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (It does not care what you want or deserve.) The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life.
There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.
Have courage. (You will need it.)
And good luck. (You’ll need that too.)”
If that doesn’t answer your question, then I don’t know what will.
Is it Too Late To Unlearn all the WORST Advice You’ve Been Taught Throughout Your Life?
If the older generation (such as your parents or teachers) have given you the worst advice ever – advice that doesn’t align with modern times – is it too late to unlearn all of that bad advice? No. It’s not too late.
In fact, you can unlearn that bad advice, start with a clean slate, and set yourself on a new course to success. The foundation of all success starts with your mindset. Because if you change your mindset, you will change the way you think, and ultimately change the way you act.
With everything I have laid out for you here, one important thing for you to take away is that your life is not defined by your mistakes. It is defined by what you choose to do with those mistakes.
And you now know that the traditional path to success is not limited to just going to school, getting good grades, and getting a high paying job. There’s a blue ocean of high in-demand, lucrative opportunities waiting for you.
And all you need to do is just take it by learning what I call a High-Income Skill. This is a skill that can help you earn at least $10,000+ in recurring income every month in the comfort of your own home. You’ll be able to help businesses and companies do the work they know they desperately need but can’t do themselves. So if you are ready to turn a new leaf, click here to take this FREE High-Income Skills Quiz and discover what skill you were meant to do.