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How should we take advice? - Podcast Highlights

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

In this episode, we discuss some of the feedback we've got about the podcast so far and wonder to what extent we should change things up based on advice. We then generalise this to general life - how should we take advice effectively without over-correcting our internal models based on individual pieces of advice?

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

When taking advice you have to be aware that there is no right answer – the right answer depends on what your own personal goals are. Taimur discusses how he is trying to move away from the idea that there are right answers that people can give you and move towards an idea that you have to construct your own world view – gathering data from lots of different sources to determine which bits of data will be useful.

When it comes to creative fields, taking advice becomes even more subjective. If you’re creating content, the advice you listen to should perhaps vary – if it’s relating to your audio quality for a podcast then you should listen to it but if it’s someone saying they don’t like your content, then that’s their personal opinion and shouldn’t affect your own content to the same degree.

There is a need to strike a balance with the advice that we take on board. We shouldn’t be blind to all feedback but, at the same time, we should be conscious of the degree to which some feedback and advice is subjective and personal in nature. We have to construct our own worldviews, gathering feedback and advice from lots of sources, and deciding which ones to incorporate into our mental models and which ones to ignore.

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. With our podcast, the most primary goal is consistency – consistency is more important than quality, especially for something that is just starting out – just being able to do it once a week consistently is very important. If you aim for every piece of content to be loved by 10% of your audience, that is a good place to be. The more you try to make your content appeal to everyone, the less that any specific person is going to gain any enjoyment from it.

It is important to keep your own goals in mind when considering external feedback. Whilst it’s useful to seek a broad range of feedback, you have to think about how it relates to your own model and your own goals and distil the advice to that which is relevant.


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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.


Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noverthinking.

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram

PodcastPersonal Knowledge ManagementLifeRelationships

Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.