“Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” — Immanuel Kant
I get asked from time to time if I would consider reading someone’s book or blog. Since I’ve been lucky that people whose opinion I respect have given me the time of day, I take the time whenever I can to give feedback.
This time the question came from someone asking if I’d consider reading self-help advice from a 22-year-old.
We live in a time where young people have proven that they’re fully capable of contributing something valuable to the conversation. It’s not as common to ignore them by saying “you’re too young” or “too inexperienced” when it comes to a lot of things. Especially in terms of technology.
However, I’d have to say that for me to give a 22-year-old the benefit of the doubt it would depend on the subject matter, and what the person has experienced and/or accomplished.
If it’s generic advice on how to live your life and the person hasn’t experienced much or accomplished anything special, then I wouldn’t spend my time on it.
While content matters, context matters more.
Tell me, why I should care? Why is this relevant to me?
Sure, if it’s about managing your life in school/college it might be relevant if I’m into education or have kids at school. The principles might even apply for my work.
If the context feels right, the subject is something I care about, and it suits my taste then I’ll read it. If not, well, I won’t.
Look, if you’re 22 and want to give advice to people then you’ve got to earn our attention. Start building on the context and prove to us that you’re someone worth listening to.
People might not start listening to you for another 3–10 years, but if it’s something you want to do for the rest of your life then earn your living in other ways until you can.
Plus, you can probably give advice to people younger than you or who are going through something you’ve already experienced. Share that.
While you might’ve read 250 books about life and might “know” more things than a 42-year-old executive, they’ve got the advantage. Simply by virtue of having been in the game longer than you.
Certain things only come with time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. Please leave a comment, share, and subscribe for more.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!