We love rebels and people who challenge the status quo, conventional wisdom and mainstream narratives and so we asked some really bright folks to tell us about one piece of conventional advice they disagree with.

Jennifer Nutting | Handlebar Bike Tours Owner and Guide

The Competition is your enemy. Not true on so many levels, although a lot of people in my industry hold fast to that belief. Any entrepreneur will tell you to study the competition, which in turn causes everyone to be protective of proprietary information. You can protect your product and establish a beneficial camaraderie with your competitors. In the development stage of Handlebar Bike Tours, I sought advice from my women entrepreneur friends. One told me to reach out to the other tour companies, and introduce myself. Her reasoning made sense to me. She said they will learn about me sooner or later, you want to open the lines of communication and then she said, “more business, means more business for everyone.” That resonated because DTLA is an emerging tourist destination; more people finding downtown, whether it’s my tour or someone else’s, means more people spreading the word about the area Handlebar Bike Tours specializes in. Read more>>

Michael Der | Photographer & Podcaster

This may not qualify as going against conventional advice, but I think there’s an over glorification of the word ‘experience’. There’s a common sentiment that gets thrown around, something like “if only I had the experience, then my business will grow” or “that person has so much confidence because he/she has been doing it longer than I have”. There are countless people in my profession that have years of experience with limited success. Likewise, there are countless creatives who have very little experience but are thriving. We throw the word around without qualifying it. Is it good experience? Is it bad experience? Is it experience that will propel you or is it experience that will psychologically damage you? It’s important to recognize the roles that self-awareness, humility, dedication and courage, all play in someone’s success or failure. It takes self-awareness to recognize what decisions were bad and what weaknesses you possess. Read more>>

Emmanuel Iheke, Jr. | Host of The Churchboy Confessions Podcast

I hear it all the time. You hear it in all the songs, all the instagram influencers say it, and it’s become the tagline for so many mental health gurus that give advice on the internet: “Self love is the best love.” Our culture has adopted this doctrine for the sake of those helpless empaths who are often burned out by their responsibilities to other people. If I’m being honest, this doctrine very well might be something a lot of people need to hear sometimes so they can remember to slow down and take a day to themselves. That’s always a good idea. However, although it has helped many people, I believe this doctrine also carries the potential to nurture a new generation of self-centered people that no longer know how to show compassion to another person in need. As we preach ‘self-love’, we need to be vigilant in acknowledging the hurtful extremes and highlight the need for balance. Read more>>

Daniel Gootnick | Director, Producer

I hate when people tell me to “play it safe.” Safety never gets you anywhere. You need to take risks creatively, artistically. The work I want to create in the future needs to be bold. It requires an adventurous spirit where you can delve into the unknown. You need to be willing to make mistakes, learn from them, and keep going. That is where the best art comes from. Read more>>

Casey McDougal | Actor | Co-Founder of WoAccelerator

“No pain, No gain.” I think the most valuable thing a person can do for themselves is to take stock of what truly makes them happy, and build a successful business / vocation / life from there. We all experience pain and suffering in some measure in our lives, but thinking the ONLY way to move forward is through struggle is completely backwards to me. What has worked best for me is recognizing the value of putting my well-being first, being prepared and aware of situations that will move my projects forward, and then taking the plunge when the opportunity presents itself. Forcing things often can be a waste of energy, whereas training for the right moment can be a beautiful use of laser-focused energy. Read more>>

Michelle Zarrin | Founder of The Mindfulness Expo & Meditation Guide

A conventional advice I disagree with is that we have to work very hard to become successful. I don’t believe putting in extra hours each day will get us the results we want. I do however believe in working very efficiently, without any distractions and maintaining a sharp focus. Once we do that, we get into “the zone” of whatever we are working on, and ideas come fluidly. Read more>>

Brandon Ramirez | Creative Director

We hear all the time that the key to success is hard work and dedication, but a lot of the time this familiar tune is misinterpreted. To work hard and apply yourself is one thing, but to neglect yourself and work beyond physical and mental limits is another. The quality of our work and the clearness of our minds are interdependent, and when we start guilting ourselves for simple things like taking breaks or being tired – we’re not really helping ourselves get to where we want to be. Coming to this realization was a huge lifeline for me. Being in isolation heightened my awareness of what I wasn’t doing and what I couldn’t do, and sometimes it was all I could think about. Perspective however, is a very comforting thing. While I could sit around and worry about everything that might not happen and has not happened, focusing on what’s right in front of me frees me from the uncontrollable woes of life. Read more>>

Kahli Smith | Cosmetic Tattooer & Business Owner

Having a plan. People have always told me “have a plan” or “what’s your plan?” and honestly I’ve never really had one. I definitely have a lot of ideas, but no plan is the best plan. All things align when they are suppose to sometimes we need to just let go to let them all into place. Read more>>

Oriana Paola Ramirez | Intuitive Astrologer, Akashic Records Reader & Healer.

“Work hard, play hard …” “It needs to be difficult in order to make it worth it” “No days off…” I’m sure you got the idea with all those phrases I shared with you. I have come to discover from personal experience and from seeing other successful businesses, that working and creating non-stop may bring “benefits” in the short run … but it will definitely hurt you and your business in the long run. Most of us as business entrepreneurs are in the first stages of our business- we do everything ourselves, for now of course… The goal is to hire help to delegate in the near future. But in those first few years, we have all the hats in our hands. And I have come to understand that even though I want my business to succeed, my personal well-being cup needs to be filled first; which means, if I’m not feeling okay in every aspect of my life, my business in consequence won’t thrive. Also, instead of chasing success… In my personal opinion, creating a business nowadays, it’s more about receiving, attracting consciously. Read more>>

Dara Barlin | Culture Transformation Artist, Researcher, & Shameless Instigator of Positive Change

“Don’t listen to the naysayers who try to pull you down.” Read more>>

King Stone | Musician

I’ve always had a problem with “fake it til you make it”. I think in some circumstances, that’s helpful. But for most, it’s really damaging. It’s ok not to know how to do something you’ve never done before! It’s ok to ask for help and look for mentors. I think it’s created this huge embarrassment where it’s not ok to be vulnerable and new to something. You’re ripped apart for not being perfect at something immediately. It’s so toxic and sad. I hope that starts shifting soon, and we can help people see that the learning process and being new to something you love is really beautiful and special. Read more>>

Jeanelle Castro | YouTuber & Social Media Video Strategist

What’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with? I disagree with people who say you have to go to school or get accredited before you can pursue a business or be successful. I’ve had previous executives strongly suggest that I get my MBA so I can be “successful”, but I felt like it was a waste of money and time when I could be spending both of those resources towards building an actual business. In my eyes, just because someone went to school for something doesn’t necessarily make them more capable in my book. I’d rather listen to someone with experience and success that actually did the work, versus someone who went to school but rarely applied it in real life. Now, I have over 1.5+ million views on my YouTube channel (Jeanelleats), an increasingly growing community across multiple social media channels, and met so many incredible creatives and entrepreneurs that I otherwise wouldn’t have met had I gone to business school instead. Read more>>

Robyn Cait | Artist & Professional

“When you realize you aren’t special, you’ll be much happier in life”. Read more>>

Kendall Swenson | Actor and Makeup Artist

I am professionally both an actor and a makeup artist. When I was younger, I was told that I had to “pick a lane”. I tried to follow that for a while, but it didn’t work for me. Now, I realize that it didn’t work because it doesn’t resonate with me at all as an artist. My creativity wants to be expressed in so many different ways, and if I pick a lane, then I’m not growing and fully expressing who I am. I was recently inspired by Marie Forleo, who encourages creatives to embrace being “multipassionate”. I found this to be very freeing, and great advice. I now give myself permission to follow inspiration and pursue multiple creative paths without allowing myself to be put inside one box. Read more>>

Emily Finnigan | Illustrator and Historical Fashion Enthusiast

I always heard from artists that in order to improve on their work, one needs to draw every day. I think this puts a lot of pressure on artists to always be creating and never giving your brain a break. Feeling forced in this way has always hindered my creativity and stole any enjoyment from making art. In the world we currently live in, many people feel guilty about taking any time off and we feel we don’t deserve time it if we haven’t been productive enough. I don’t want people to be valued by how often they over work themselves. I usually only draw two or three times a week and I find that I’m able to work faster and smarter. Read more>>

Ryan Satyr | Musician

Quality over quantity. Nowadays releasing music has become so accessible to everyone and people have the opportunity to create a brand for themselves, which is amazing of course. But my disagreement with this conventional piece of advice is that it limits the artist. I read this somewhere so this isn’t an original idea, but quantity becomes quality. You have to work hard, practice, have drafts, scraps, etc to truly understand what is working and what isn’t. A lot of artists today that are just starting out spend years thinking about the perfect timing, the perfect aesthetic, the perfect first single, and the perfect branding that they forget about actually putting work out. You have to discipline yourself in being consistent and accepting criticism from others along with yourself. When I first started out I sure as hell didn’t know who I was as an artist yet, but I knew it was important to keep putting out content in all forms. The quantity of the covers, bad original songs, etc had a purpose, it built a strong foundation of consistency. Read more>>

Valerie Lynn | Post-Pregnancy Wellness Specialist, BODY & POSTPARTUM DOULA,

A piece of conventional advice, or what I consider the worst advice I ever got in the United States is that, that I should not begin or even think about my recovery after pregnancy until after the six week medical exam. I believe this directly led to an imbalance of my post-baby hormones resulting in my experience of postpartum anxiety and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) for nine months. Read more>>

Nicole Russin-McFarland | Film Director & Film Score Composer

Let your films speak for themselves. People watch movies because they love the people making them. They love how Martin Scorsese’s movies are about real people he may have seen around in New York. Walt Disney was a nice Midwestern gentleman who pretended he didn’t smoke not to break that ideal for children, and kids grew up trusting him like a nice uncle they never had seeing his movies. You look at anyone who has a lifelong film career is there because people love that person first. You don’t have to be perfect. No, be flawed if you want. Be yourself. Be a caricature of yourself if you want. Be someone, is all I’m saying. You need to mean something to people for them to care about your work. Read more>>

Greg Salyer | President/CEO of the Philosophical Research Society

Have a five-year plan. While you certainly have to think ahead, writing out your detailed plan is at best an exercise in the futility of such planning and in the folly of predictions. I like to think of imagining ahead instead of planning ahead, and since I am a literature professor, I see imagining ahead as a kind of storytelling: what happens to this character if this happens? what happens to this place if that happens. Having an x-year plan is to imagine a story that will not come to be. Imagining your story in multiple plot lines and character development is not only more realistic it’s also more fun. Read more>>