We asked folks we admire to share one piece of conventional advice that they disagree with.

Jonah Wei-Haas | Keyboardist, Producer, Teacher

“Quality Over Quantity.” To me, this advice is still true in many ways in the traditional sense, however I’ve found that an approach of ‘quality through quantity’ has been hugely beneficial in growth when first starting out. This is true especially as it relates to songwriting or music production — as a beginner, you will learn so much more from creating and finishing many pieces of work rather than treating your music as ‘precious’ and spending years finishing it. Through shifting how I think about the creating process, it has made finishing work much easier. I have found that this approach can be really helpful to learn a craft or skill very quickly. I also think that it’s important to clarify that this doesn’t apply to every aspect, but rather more specifically when starting out; at the beginning of the journey. Read more>>

Danny Corbo | Musician

One piece of conventional advice that I would disagree with is the idea that good Art comes from creating when you feel inspired. While I definitely believe that to be true to a certain extent, it sets a precedent that there’s not a need or necessity to write when the inspiration isn’t there. I recently watched an interview with a prolific writer named Steven Pressfield, and in the interview he talks about one of his books “The War of Art” which focuses on resistance and how it holds us back from our creative potential. One of the main points that really stuck with me was when he explained how the one thing separating an amateur from a professional isn’t talent, but the act of waking up and writing every day regardless of whether inspiration is there or not. Hearing that from someone who is a living example of that sentiment changed my perspective towards Art. it helped me realize that anyone can write a great book. Anyone can write a great song. Everyone has something to offer creatively, and it’s not something that is limited to a chosen few. It’s just a matter of showing up everyday and doing the work. Read more>>

Meghan and Caitlin Foley | Singer-Songwriters

The idea that you always have to be working in order to be successful. While it is super important to put a lot of energy into your passions, burnout is a real thing. We have learned over time that sometimes we need to take a few days away from working on music. Turning a passion into a job can often make it lose some of its magic and we believe it’s important to give yourself grace. Life can be hard and nobody benefits from being overworked! This has been especially hard to remind ourselves during periods of writers block and it’s something we are constantly working on accepting!. Read more>>

Kiosh Iselin | Founder, The Desire Clinic

The one piece of conventional advice I disagree with is that everyone should exercise. Oh, and by the way, I am a Physical Therapist by trade. I am a Physical Therapist that is skeptical that prescribing exercises is the most effective solution to helping people get more active. The reason prescribing exercises doesn’t work well for most is it relies on willpower for follow-through. Exercise is hard to motivate yourself for. If you’re in that boat, you’re definitely not alone. Thankfully, there are much smarter ways of achieving an active lifestyle. (Special clue: they involve a whole bunch of pleasure.). Read more>>

Trina Dong | Actress & Screenwriter

When I was in college, my algebra professor told my class to “work smarter, not harder” to prepare for his exams. My first thought was, “Sir, if I could “work smarter” in math, do you think I would have to take college algebra!?” “No” was the obvious answer and I never trusted that advice from that point on. My career journey proves that sometimes it’s even best to not take the smartest route in order to accomplish your goals. I majored in Public Relations and while most my classmates were preparing for local job opportunities in the midwest, I wanted to work in entertainment on red carpets. So, without a job or savings account, I packed up and moved to New York City. At the time, it was the stupidest decision I could’ve made because at the beginning I had no idea how I was going to pay rent every month. Apparently NYC is expensive. Who knew. For the first year, I worked in retail full-time and also interned full-time, for free, anywhere involving film or entertainment that would take me. Read more>>

Savannah Hamilton | Podcaster & Mastermind Host

Go to college, get a “good” job with a 401K, paid vacation, benefits, then buy a house and get married. Blah, Blah, Blah… you know the “American Dream” we are fed in school to bring us ultimate career, financial and personal fulfillment. Not that there is anything wrong with this trajectory, the problem is when we believe that is our ONLY option and fail to find happiness or fulfillment within it. We begin to live in discord with what we were taught, to what we are experiencing. Our opportunities in life are infinite. I too was once victim in believing the above was the *only* way I would succeed and find happiness in life, the problem was, when I got there, I was far from happy or fulfilled. The sense of “security” we once strived for as adults in the workforce, doesn’t fit with todays modern age where we have the world at our finger tips and are able to work from anywhere. Shifting gears and leaping into entrepreneurship hasn’t been easy, and heck, it hasn’t always been fun. Read more>>

Casey Ahern | Singer/Songwriter

So many people would disagree with me, but one piece of advice that I never lived by was to always have a backup plan. Reason being: it’s something to fall back on and it can result in not giving your all toward what you set out to accomplish. For example, I have made music my full-time job because I absolutely love to do it. However, if I had self-doubt in the back of my mind and formed a backup career plan in case I fail, would I really spend 24/7 working toward the goal of being successful and sustaining myself solely on music? Sure, I think backup plans are smart for certain things, such as having a spare tire in your car in case of a flat. But in the realm of careers and chasing your dreams and passions, I think that safety net is unnecessary. How will you learn to fly if you’re constantly relying on a parachute?. Read more>>

Shawntay Gorman | Artist and Healthcare Worker

I don’t think art school is a necessity in the art field. I hear a lot of people being told to go to art school. Whilst education is very important, I think being a creative is a gift. A talent that is perfected over the years by working on your craft. Its nice to know about art history and the artists before me and their techniques but I disagree with someone having to go to art school for some people to consider them artists. Read more>>

Sharon Angel | Founder & CEO, A North Production

“Work 8 hours a day and forty hours a week” My company is in the creative industry which means I can’t put myself or my team in a box. Most of our ideas come when we are driving or at 2 am in the morning. We also deliver projects to meet client deadlines. That means we often pull 16 hour days and sleep for 2 nights straight. We let creativity take the lead and that’s what allows us to deliver high quality content and excel in client satisfaction. Time waits for no one but we make the hours work for us. Read more>>

Tatiana Soash | Creative Designer + Hand Letterer

In the past there were only certain career fields, job titles, types of business… Now with social media and the way the world has evolved, the possibilities are endless. If you told me in high school that I was going to become a creative graphic designer / hand letterer, I would of said what the heck is that and how would someone like that even make money? But that’s exactly what I do now. There is no need to fit into a box or past ideas of careers. You can be a very successful blogger that specializes in vegan recipes and gets paid to test and share your option of different types of matcha – who would have ever thought that was possible? And that you could support your whole family just on the money you make doing that, even hire your husband as your “photography assistant”…. Don’t put yourself in a box or apply past rules to the world now, there is a way to make a living doing almost anything that you love!. Read more>>

Tonice Jones | Marketing Consultant

Stick to what you know. This is horrible advice! I spoke to a junior high class and told them “try everything!” You never know what your niche is, you never know what you’ll fall in love with. You might like to draw but then realize it’s architecture you truly love, now instead of pictures you’re doing mansions and installations. Try everything!. Read more>>

Preston Jeter | Film Director and Immersive Experience Designer

Many years ago I attended a film Q&A with a Director and he was presented with the relatively standard question that most successful filmmakers are asked, “Do you have any advice for aspiring filmmakers out there?”. His response was something along the lines of “Don’t follow your dreams. We all have dreams, but we’re all good at something else. Do what you’re good at”. That answer haunted me for years. Not because I agreed with it, but because I thought he was pompous! My whole life had been filled with the conventional phrase “follow your dreams”. I was so angry. But when things make me angry, they linger. And there’s usually a reason. In my spare time I’ve been building an immersive experience in my garage called Tidewater Cove. Imagine live theater mixed with a bar, theme park, and movies. Its a fully tangible space that immerses you in a story deep in a pirate bayou cove. Read more>>

Donna Vuong | Event Planner

The conventional advice is that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. I believe I’ve found the career path I love, and the truth is, if you do what you love, you’ll work more and harder than ever before. You’ll be so driven that you’ll be working more than full time, but you’ll still enjoy it. Being an entrepreneur means pushing harder than others in a secure job, and it means taking risks. So my twist on the conventional advice would be to find something you love so much, that you’re willing to put your all into it. Read more>>

Devlin Wilder | Actor/Writer/Host

Don’t get me wrong. I love all things Monty Python but I no longer buy into the mantra to “always look on the bright side of life.” There are so many dark spots and heartbreaking moments that I think build wisdom to a person’s existence. I’ve lived through so much and am propelled by the dark times just as much as the joyous ones. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit in the dark with your own thoughts so that you can have a good cry and come out the other side with strength and understanding. Read more>>

Crystal Bailar | Wood Burning Artist, Teacher, Nurse

I disagree with the idea that you have to hustle to be successful. Too often we are told by successful people that working hard and putting in the long hours is how you make it, how you grow. My disagreement stems from the idea that the most important thing is making money, or achieving certain culturally defined markers of success. Some days I wonder if hustling and working harder, faster, putting in more hours is the only way to make my business grow. This comes from the constant influx of images and messages from the world around me, and I have to make an intentional effort to tune out the excess information. One of the ways I do this, is by going for a walk or un every day, and taking a full day once a week to get out outdoors, no matter how busy, or overwhelmed I feel. This means my business is growing slower than others around me, but I am healthy, full of gratitude, and connected to myself and those around me. Read more>>

Sidney Chuckas | Artist and Aspiring Architect

“Leave your issues at the door” is a statement made often within creative spaces and is a phrase that can be extremely harmful to others, especially if those other bodies have been historically marginalized or victims of violence. The progress of Art, and other creative fields, relies heavily on the lived experiences of others and their personal relationships with concepts, communities, and physical spaces. So when we ask someone at the beginning of a creative process to be “issue free”, we are essentially asking them to completely sacrifice their own identity and artistry while simultaneously minimizing the experiences that most likely fuel what they do and who they are. Practices that include this type of exclusive language promote the continuous erasure of certain bodies, such as people of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ identities. Read more>>

Tayanna Nelson | Boudoir Photographer & Educator

As a boudoir photographer and educator, I see a lot of educators selling the idea that you have to do everything the exact same way as them for your business to work. I think that’s ridiculous. Other successful people can lay the framework for you, but it takes your personality, your work ethic, and your own spin on things to become your own brand of successful. Taking anyone else’s business and just slapping your name on it won’t work. Read more>>

Dinora Salcedo | Writer and Director

I wouldn’t know where to start with that one. Hollywood is full of so much terrific advice it’ll make you want to quit. I try and stay away from that stuff. The critics, the men in suits, what’s selling. You hear “don’t write that like that, will ya?” or “it’d sell better if you wrote it like this” enough, you sit down to write and you hear their voices before you even get the chance to hear your own. Instead of mimicking what worked for someone else, figure out what moves you. What pulls on your heartstrings and why. Then, strive to produce that feeling in your work. Read more>>

Brandin LaShea | Chef, Host & Entrepreneur

All throughout my life people have always told me that I should focus on one career path and to work endlessly at that one thing until you achieve total “success”. I have always completely disagreed, I feel like if the universe blesses you with multiple talents or gifts, you owe it to to yourself to see them through and craft each one. You never know which avenue is going to take off until you try out all the things that really call to you in life. Read more>>

Wes Cole | Producer & Creative Director

From a young age we are taught to “do what we are told” and while in theory that seems like a good thing, sometimes doing what we are told can stunt our creativity. With an everchanging world and society around us, it’s very important to keep our own heads on our shoulders, and just doing what we are told prevents that opportunity for growth and change. Each and every person on this planet has a unique perspective and outlook on life as a whole, and I personally believe that there isn’t one universal “right” but an endless potential of “could bes” and “what ifs.” Read more>>