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.

Vidisha Jain | Visual Artist

I would urge creatives not to “network” – but make friends! Art and music are personal, and so should your collaborators be. If you’re at a concert, exhibit, a course, or any event – go grab a glass of wine and have the time of your life! It is a rare, special, and magical moment when you are in a room with others who connect with the same art that you do. So don’t waste the moment by flashing business cards everywhere or asking someone what they do. I always strongly discourage business cards because if you meet someone you want to stay in touch with, make the effort to type out your phone number, or exchange social media handles, like you would do in any other social situation. Naturally, a lot of art is collaborative, so there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to someone who you aspire to work with. But what you do after that initial contact is important. Read more>>

Aston Graham | Visual Artist & Influencer Marketer

I feel that growing up and throughout life a lot of people will tell you “hey, if you work hard you’ll be successful”. Honestly, I think thats bullshit. Not to say I am extremely successful or have all the answers but I do know that getting to where you want to be is a convoluted process. Yes hard work is important and valuable, but also a lot of luck goes into it, and being prepared when opportunity presents itself. If you are putting in the hours to learn or master your craft, thats just half the battle. Sometimes you need that stroke of luck, or meeting the right person, or getting that first chance you didn’t think you would from an unlikely source. Read more>>

Russell Baker | Russell Baker | Owner, The Backyard on Thirteenth

“The customer is always right.” [Please let me know if you’d like me to elaborate, but I think this is an antiquated notion that can be toxic particularly for our employees who have to bear the brunt of it.] Read more>>

Brady Brim-DeForest | Enterprise Innovation Evangelist

As a young man, I was often told to ‘Do what you love’ — I think better advice would have been ‘Do what you are good at.’ It makes life so much simpler and more fulfilling. Read more>>

Taylor Ping | PR and Media Development CEO – Hierarchy Media

“Sex sells”. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I have heard company clients, brand clients, and even entrepreneur clients tell me that sex sells and that that is the basis of their PR presence and appeal to the markets. When you look at our society in a full global view and not just societal, you open yourself up to bigger motivation- a bigger way of thinking. Products and services that impact the world and make a difference in a positive and inspiring way sell. Being authentic- publicizing your stance, what your brand stands for and how it is adding value to us as a society globally and internationally- is what is going to create a community of loyal clients and customers standing behind you. Read more>>

Stacy Blackman | CEO, Stryke Club

One piece of conventional advice that I disagree with is creating a business plan. For the very first business I launched, we created a very long and involved business plan. We ran all the numbers, thought through the entire marketing plan and all the product specs. We were incredibly prepared and buttoned up. However, I promise you – no one ever read that business plan. And once we launched, we never really looked at it again. Because in some ways the business plan was just a fantasy, and I believe that very often, they can often become tools for procrastination. Of course I do believe in strategy, back of the envelope numbers and a certain level of preparation. But I also know that you will never, ever have enough knowledge, money, time, experience or preparation to launch a new business. And because of that, once you have done some thinking and preparing, you really just need to take the plunge. You need to test and learn and iterate, learning as you go. Read more>>

Cami Uchoa | Lucy + Kaya founder

Typical marketing tactics to get more traffic and raise conversion. I joke that if I were to pitch my business to the Shark Tank folks, they would kick me off the show seconds after I explain my plan. 🙂 I know this sounds counterintuitive, but selling products is less important to me than making my customers happy by creating connections between people and their ideal Lucy + Kaya products. I avoid pushing products, convincing people to buy more or upgrade to a bigger size. I also don’t do much advertising, as I don’t want to create the urge to purchase, even though they may not need what we sell. I advise people the way I would like to be advised: prioritizing their well being, not conversion rates. Read more>>

Natalie Arroyo Camacho | Writer, editor, reporter

“Be the first one in the office and the last one out.” I love to work and I’m good at what I do — I also am fiercely against exploitation, which is embedded in the current American work system. We’re already in the office 40 of the 168 hours out of the week. To be expected to work anything more than that, especially without pay, is egregious. I know the intention of the advice is to show how hard you work, but there are better ways: think of innovative ways the company can market, better ways they can do the tasks at hand, out-of-the box solutions to problems that have been plaguing the company. All better for the company and for your mental health!. Read more>>

Kim DeJesus | Artist

This advice invites conventional thinking. It proposes leaving things as they are. However, often you have to break something to make it better, even if it’s not broken. Just because things may look fine or even perfect, does not mean they are right or that there isn’t room for growth, and you have to get to the other side to create something new. If one accepts all the things that aren’t broken as permanent, then the world would be not where it is today. In my work I am always interested in finding a truer path, and I have to break things. Read more>>

Amanda Pieper | Solo Travel Photographer and Actress

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It’s a straightforward and seemingly well-intentioned bite-sized nugget of advice, designed to inspire a person to take action. To stop making excuses. To start. But what I’ve found through all of the shots I’ve taken, is that 1) shot success rate is strongly correlated with degree of competence, and 2) success rate falls off precipitously when we begin taking shots before we’ve developed that competence. It’s challenging, and definitely not exciting or sexy, to admit to ourselves that we are not yet ready to start taking shots. Because while “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” you also only get one shot at making a first impression, and in the arts, a first impression is everything. In fact, in many cases, one shot may be the only shot you ever get. In this industry, impressions are currency: a great one will carry you in the artistic transactions that lie ahead, and a bad one can bleed you dry before you even begin. Read more>>

Angelica Dueñas | Mom, Community Organizer, Congressional Candidate

I was at an event and meeting people in the community, and there’s always conventional wisdom floating around in these circles. And for most people the thinking about my intentions were, “well, you really can’t run for congress unless you can raise a lot of money and get a bunch of local organizations to endorse you.” That’s absolutely false. We ran in 2020 and ended up with 43% of the vote even though we were out-fundraised 15:1 by an entrenched incumbent in our own party. During a pandemic, too, and while grieving the death of my father. It was a lot, but we made incredible progress. So, hell yeah … we’re running again in 2022. People ask for advice for running for congress, and I tell them sometimes your greatness is not what you think it is. Read more>>

Lisa Yoshida | Violinist, Educator & Composer

Growing up as a classical musician, we often experience our teachers or professors discouraging students from exploring other genres of music. We hear many reasons, such as “you’ll loose focus”, “your classical technique will suffer”, “it’s not worth your time”, or simply feeding into elitist ideologies of classical music. When I first picked up the violin at 9 years old, all I ever wanted to do from that point on was play other instruments, not because I disliked the violin, but because I was so curious to see what each instrument would feel like under my fingers. I would beg my parents to buy me a cello or clarinet in 6th grade, and I asked my middle school director if I could play the timpani part in Russian Sailor’s Dance (luckily he let me!). This curiosity of other “sounds” grew into college where I joined the New Music Ensemble, the Jazz Ensembles, performed with the Percussion Ensemble, and even picked up the saxophone to join our school’s pep band. Read more>>

Ursula Echeverria | Filmmaker & Visual Development artist

This one is about success. There was one time I was in middle school, at sports class we were doing run races. We were separated into two groups, the regular ones, and the faster ones; you chose which group you want to race, I chose the fastest one. I finished the race but I wasn’t the fastest of the group. The teacher told me: “You should have chosen the slower group, you could have beaten them all up!”. At that moment I felt defeated, but I didn’t agree with him either. When I think about that moment, the only thing that comes to my mind is: I was proving myself that I was able to be in that group and compete with the fastest kids in my grade. If you compare this teacher’s way of thinking with a professional environment: “Compete with the less skilled, so you will shine among them”. is not really fulfilling, you are not pushing your boundaries, and you are not growing. At the end, just comparing yourself with the less skilled doesn’t really make you a better person, better athlete, better artist. Read more>>

Esther Lee | Evolutionary Astrologer & Jewelry Designer

To only stick with one business~ some people thrive when they have multiple things going on, especially for those with adhd. And if you have as much gemini in your chart as I do, (gemini mars & midheaven), variety and diversity is a prerequisite for success. Read more>>

Ben Nobile | Screenwriter/Actor

Don’t get to highs at the highs. All this is telling me is to be afraid to happy now because you know at some point you’re going to be sad later. That’s not living in the moment or taking advantage of the moment. Life is so short and we all seem to have a problem being proud of ourselves. We want validation from people and constantly work to impress others. No matter what job you have, you’re always trying to impress someone else, but what about yourself? At some point in time, we make a conscious decision to pursue a job and along with that comes goals, but if you’re always trying to impress other people and look past your own thoughts, I don’t think you can ever really feel fulfilled. That’s why I believe that if you have put a lot of work into something and you’re happy with the results, celebrate it. Be proud of your accomplishments, yeah there’s always more work to be done and you have to keep going but if you keep working towards the next thing without acknowledging what you’ve already done, then you’re never going to feel like you’ve accomplished anything when you have. Read more>>

Lindsey Horvath | Creative Advertising Executive & Mayor, City of West Hollywood

I don’t believe in work-life balance. I think it’s a made-up concept to make women with full lives and big dreams feel bad for being bold and wanting more. Instead, with all the responsibilities I have, I strive to be fully present in all I do. Whether I’m spending time with family & friends or working for my constituents or delivering award-winning creative advertising campaigns, I’m all in. Knowing that I’ve given my all to the people and responsibilities that bring me joy is rewarding and provides a sense of fulfillment. Read more>>