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Franz Pfluegl/© Franz Pfluegl 2006 - Fotostudio Pfluegl, Rudolfsplatz 1, A-1010 Wien, Austria, Tel. +43-1-535 39 01, email: fotograf@pfluegl.a

When he started in business at 22, Steve Pavlina asked various people for advice on how to succeed. Some of that advice helped, opening his eyes to things he had not thought of, but overall he says in his Personal Development Insights newsletter, it probably did more harm than good.

Too often, he notes, the advice we get is low quality – highly dependent on the other person's state of being when giving the advice; you may get different answers depending on what they're dealing with mentally or emotionally at the time.

The advice can also be outdated; it shares something that worked for them in the past, but isn't of much help in today's world.

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Or the advice may be mismatched, perfect for them but something that violates your values.

Mr. Pavlina says he realized the biggest problem was that by asking for advice he was subtly eroding his own power:

"I was sending a message to myself that I was too weak and inexperienced to come up with my own answers and solutions.

I put those people on a pedestal, which meant I was taking myself down a notch."

Special to the Globe and Mail

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