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

Yuhong Ng | Music Director & TV Composer

I’ve always disliked when people say “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I think it’s misleading. I’ve seen people give up because they are frustrated with the industry. To me, once your hobby becomes your career, that’s work. Better yet, embrace the suck. That means working with insufferable egos, crazy deadlines, working on songs you don’t like, negative feedback, playing dull parts, rejections and rewrites and revisions, getting blamed for others’ mistakes, working through chaos, politics, monotonous routines, overworked and underpaid, all of that. It’s part of the deal. It’s a little pompous for us musicians to expect every day to be smooth sailing just because it’s what we love. I enjoy the grind though. And because my job is music, the worst day as a musician is much better than my years wearing a suit climbing the corporate world in Singapore. If you love being a working musician, you gotta take all of it. That’s why I’m here. Read more>>

Yonatan Watts | Music Producer & Songwriter

When i was younger i was always shamed for doing the unconventional route, my peers really didn’t want me to pursue something that wasn’t “guaranteed to pan-out.” I’ve always gone against the grain because i knew my value and my worth, and if you know your worth, pursue your dream and don’t let anyone steer you from it. Read more>>

Cristina Pandol | Creative Problem Solver and Brand Strategist

I have a hard time wrapping my head around the obsession with weakness. When I was a young professional I was often advised to work on my weaknesses as much as possible, while my strengths were completely ignored. This is especially common in workplace performance evaluations as they tend to be completely focused on negative topics. If you focus on weakness, then your objective coming out of an evaluation meeting is to improve a skill from below average to average. I’m not interested in being average. I’ve never been hired for a job or booked by a client because I was average across the board. I, and I’d argue that most people, get hired or booked for jobs because you have exceptional or expert level skills in a certain area. My “non-conventional” advice is to focus on strengths and maximize them or on areas that may be average now, but show potential to become exceptional. Read more>>

Ahmed Pierstorff | Wilderness Adventure Facilitator

We don’t endorse hustle culture. It’s not sustainable. We are invigorated by purpose and reigned in by responsibility. Growing an idea or a community or a business is wonderful, but not if we lose ourselves in the process. If we are going without sleep, eating the wrong things, missing out on family time, or otherwise proving remiss in the fulfillment of our obligations, our aspiration has devolved into distraction. Within the parameters of extant responsibilities, we build. And we do our best to remain focused on process over results. It’s counterintuitive, but results will only tell you if what your are doing has commercial viability. Results will not tell you if you’ve lost your integrity in the process. By remaining mindful of our process we stay true to our intention and any results are taken as a kind of grace: validation that the work is good. Read more>>

Preston Garcia | Actor & Writer

“Go to college” is one of the pieces of advice that I hate more than anything. You DO NOT need to go to college to do everything. College is ROI negative for so many career paths, and also sometimes kills people’s dreams by making them feel forced to do what their parents or other want them to do. I was told to go to college by my family but I always said I would never because it WASN’T for me, and now I’m making a great living out of doing something everyday that makes me happy. If you don’t want to go to college, don’t go. Simple as that. Read more>>

Nia Lee | Founder, Stormé Supper Club

I disagree with so much of the conventional advice that stems from “grind culture”. Grind culture reinforces the idea that success and wellness are in an inverse relationship. I’ve found the complete opposite to be true. When I think about the journey with my business, Storme Supper Club, it’s clear that all of my success stems from the practices of being heart lead and human first. Being heart lead means that I listen to my needs first. The rest that the heart asks of me will help me to be more whole and make clear decisions about what’s best for me and my business. Being human first, means that I will always center the needs of the community and others and remember the core values that started me on this path. Rest and compassion create the environment for the clear visioning needed in all aspects of business. Ultimately, this practice helps me to show up as my full and authentic self and empowers others to do the same. Read more>>

Hojo Shin | Actress

“Be unapologetically yourself.” The general intention behind this advice is well meaning but I think it can also be quite misleading. Many people take this piece of advice and forget that sometimes one may need to take a long hard look at oneself and face some truths. I’ve seen instances where this statement is used to justify bad habits and faulty actions leaving destructive trails that leave very little room for self reflection. Yes, we should absolutely love ourselves and embrace our flaws; however, if being unapologetically ourselves means we are burying the truth and shying away from opportunities to grow, then I don’t think this advice is living up to its intentions. I say, love and be honest with yourself. Then your actions will be a natural echo of who you are. Read more>>

Mitchell Manburg | Songwriter, Guitarist, Teacher

I think people have the concept of “hard work” mixed up. Being driven by one’s inner-most desire is the easiest route for them to go. What is hard is doing otherwise. Don’t mishear me, taking the right steps to boost one’s self-esteem takes some effort. However, living each day with low self-esteem takes considerably more. Working toward a goal is actually easier than denying it. Hard work is NOT practicing ______ for 30 minutes a day. Nor is it showing up to a meeting, or a class, or a rehearsal prepared. Maintaining a balanced diet and moderate exercise are easy compared to the long term consequences of not. What hard work IS is making excuses. Hard work is letting someone down. Hard work is justifying poor choices and wrongdoing. Hard work is digging oneself out of an unnecessary hole. Hard work is ignoring responsibilities. Read more>>

Karine Wong | Clinical Pharmacist and CEO of My Guiltless Treats

In business, people will tout that you have to grind every day, 24 hours a day. Some call it the Shark Tank effect. When I first started, I thought that if you didn’t do that, you were a bad entrepreneur. That’s not true. I didn’t quit a 40-hour work week to work 60-hours instead.. I started this company to own my hours, be responsible for my own company’s growth and its decisions. Currently, I work in 3-hour blocks of time every day, either 2 or 3 blocks a day, except Saturday and Monday. Those are my mandatory days off. If I have to work on those days, I reschedule the day off to the next day. Read more>>

Leah Smithson | Multidisciplinary Artist & Muralist

I disagree with the notion that if success is “meant to be” it will happen. Waiting for opportunities to knock on my door and come to me if it’s “meant to be” is extremely disempowering and unrealistic. It can make a person bitter because they are sitting around waiting to be recognized. It can also make them discredit the hard work that others have put into accomplishing their goals. It is true that some people are at the right place right time & because of that, they find success. But I think that we can figure out where the right places are and make sure we’re there when the right time comes. That is a much better use of our time & energy. To endure the hard work that it takes to accomplish our goals, it’s important that we keep ourselves in a mindful, positive place so that we can enjoy the journey. I truly feel that finding satisfaction in the journey is just as important as finding satisfaction in reaching whatever our idea of success is. Read more>>

Danielle DeBay | Self-Worth & Confidence Guide

If you just hustle, you’ll be successful. At least not in the way that it’s typically promoted. The idea that if you hustle, success will just come. Or if you try hard enough, push hard enough, hustle enough, you’ll reach your goals isn’t something I see working often with clients and has never worked for me personally. I believe alignment is what gets us to success. Aligning with what we love to do, what our strengths are and how each of us work best is the formula that gets us to success in our lives. I also put a lot of value on rest, which I consider to be a very active thing. Resting allows for mental, physical, and spiritual recalibration that ultimately allows us to realign, something hustling doesn’t allow space for. I have found that after resting and I feel realigned with myself, everything else comes fairly easily. There’s less push back, less resistance, less doubt, and a whole lot more doing taking place. Read more>>

Sam Robertson | Film & Television Producer

“Work smart, not hard.” In college, a mentor of mine spoke about a philosophy he learned early on in his career. The message was encapsulated in a simple quote; “the genius of ‘and’, the tyranny of ‘or’.” Basically, if you live your life choosing between this “or” that, your options and potential for success are automatically limited. But, if your approach is this “and” that, you are putting yourself in a position with more options and a higher possibility for success in what you are doing. As it relates to the quote above, I don’t agree with the conventional saying because I believe you can work smart AND hard. Yes, doing either one by itself has its pros and cons. Working hard can help you build physical, mental, and emotional strength, but it could burn you out over time. And, working smart can mean thinking outside of the box, and focusing on using your immediate resources to make the journey easier. Read more>>

Darius Lux | Singer-Songwriter

“Never burn any bridges”, I understand the point this is making and it is good advice, however, I have found points along the way where I had to burn a bridge to someone or something that was no longer working out, at times this has been a toxic person or situation that it was better to cut myself off from so I didn’t keep going back to it. Looking back on some moments that I had to make a clean break, I stand by it. Read more>>

Randal Wells | Singer & Songwriter

“Fake it till you make it.” I think this saying no longer applies. I think all parts of your journey are necessary. What you may deem as a failure, may be the reason someone counts you in as a success. I think when people can see your authenticity they are more likely to stay with you and support you, through your mistakes. Also, when you run into avenues where you are unsure of what to do, we should normalize the asking of help. No creative should’ve ever have to fake anything. Come as you are and don’t lose what makes you special. Read more>>

Issac Morgan | Journalist and Media Relations Professional

One common phrase you here people say often regarding opportunities is that it’s all about who you know. While it’s always helpful to know the right people connected to your passion, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. In fact, throughout my career starting in the entertainment industry, I did not have any connections when I first went after my dreams. I had to put myself out there and do my own research, whether that was utilizing social networks like LinkedIn or sending emails to strangers asking about any opportunities to work for free to gain experience. I had to think outside the box – which led to collaborating with a friend of mine who is in the film industry on a music video that was aired on BET’s 106 n Park. I was an intern for a promotions company and a radio station and would meet top artists at events and was able to meet different managers. Read more>>

Jeff “Dock” Dockweiler | Writer, Director, Acting Coach

“FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT” is a phrase I totally disagree with, because it’s completely misleading to everyone involved, including yourself. Long standing success in any business requires an effective skill set and the ability to establish trust. In the world of film and tv, every project is a team effort where we all must deliver at the highest level to make a project the best it can be. From writers, to directors, to producers, to actors and to the crew, everyone has developed a skill that is essential and must deliver every day…that simply can not be faked. Read more>>

Jeff “Dock” Dockweiler | Writer, Director, Acting Coach

“FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT” is a phrase I totally disagree with, because it’s completely misleading to everyone involved, including yourself. Long standing success in any business requires an effective skill set and the ability to establish trust. In the world of film and tv, every project is a team effort where we all must deliver at the highest level to make a project the best it can be. From writers, to directors, to producers, to actors and to the crew, everyone has developed a skill that is essential and must deliver every day…that simply can not be faked. Read more>>