Do you give good advice?

I got an interesting response from a reader of my mailing list, after I sent out a promotion for my Holistic Health Coaching program.

Way to give unsolicited advice when no one fucking asked.

Way to attack my identity and my hustle, but…

He’s right.

The coaching industry IS rife with subjectivity and fraud.

The internet IS full of mediocre guys and gals who learnt some basic shit, got good at marketing themselves, and now sell coaching programs to gullible customers that aren’t nearly as concise, dense, and effective as mine. If not that, they’re selling absolute bullshit personas that get needy morons kissing their ass.

And about me, who apparently needs to “stop trying to be a guru and go live an actual adventure for now” and “leave the advice giving for when you’re older”…

This guy was right about me too.

I wasted my early 20s being off my edge – instead of being on an adventure, instead of LIVING. This was partially because of a certain current event that’s fucked the last 2 years for us, partially because of me playing it way too safe.

Trying to be an online Twitter guru, when I didn’t actually have much of a life outside of going through the motions with training and work, and occasionally downing a bunch of tequila before going out to harass people at the bars. Constantly looking back at the past and dreaming about the future, while being disconnected from the world in the present (except during one season right before that current event where I was actually on my edge in all domains and living the life I’d tweet about).

Only a few months ago did I decide to stop giving into my fears and my comforts, and live my own life instead of other people’s.

I spontaneously packed my bags and moved to Miami – a decision that intimidated the fuck out of me, but I knew it was the right thing for me to do. Losing my housing and 99% of my material items there while balancing the responsibilities of my business, my health, and my day job was a rite of initiation into my manhood that I look back on fondly.

My time in Miami humbled me and forced me to let go of my unhealthy sources of pride, as those are what led to me getting into that aforementioned trial. I’ve learned to check myself when I’m tempted to feel haughty for the wrong reasons or when I’m tempted to be a Savior to people who don’t want to be saved.

On a deeper level, not being youthful is a huge source of insecurity for me. Certain experiences of mine have aged me physically, spiritually, and cognitively. For the longest time, I’ve wished to be a normal young man on his edge instead of a 30-year-old in the body of a guy in his early 20s.

So yes dear reader, I’m well aware that the life I live doesn’t measure up in some ways.

And I could attack this advice.

But I don’t feel like chatting shit about my life story, talking more about my refusal to move on from my college days (which I thankfully got over after some recent inner work), how I got where I am now…

I don’t feel like making a half-assed counter-argument like “Well, lemme tell you all about the life I had in the PAST, before I left my edge! The life that got me all my wisdom through LIVED EXPERIENCE! Hey, did you know that I’ve ACTUALLY LIVED the stuff I talk about, and didn’t just read and regurgitate it?”

This guy’s right. Youth is for living.

I’ve failed myself.

I’ve spent my early 20s living in the shadow of the young guy on his edge I was in high school and at 18-20. I’ve always missed the sharp, youthful “fuck you” energy I had back in the day. I’ve always missed my adventures, being the most ambitious guy in the crowd of clueless young adults, and experiencing all the rites of youthful adult life for the very first time.

And I should own up to that.

But I won’t stop moving forward with any of my ambitions until I feel the time is right to quit. I’m not living my life based on what some random tells me I should do.

Why people give unsolicited advice

I don’t know anything about this reader of mine. He could be jacked, handsome, wealthy, and good with the ladies. He could be an absolute loser in all domains. He could be anywhere in between. Who knows? I don’t. I’m not going to make any assumptions about him.

But I know people.

People give unsolicited advice when they feel a lack of control and direction in their own life.

That creates a Savior Complex.

So I can deduce one thing about this guy:

He doesn’t feel like he’s in control of his life. He’s barely on his edge, barely on an adventure himself.

That’s exactly how I felt when I had a nasty habit of attempting to save people through my advice.

My Savior complex is the real reason I reduced my focus on my dating coaching business. My toxic relationship with work didn’t come from the fact that I was teaching stuff I’d learnt in the past while I didn’t have such an eventful present. It didn’t come from all the hours I’d dedicate to it.

My toxic relationship with my work came from my identity, from my self-perception – as someone who was meant to solve other people’s problems for them. 

My real addiction wasn’t workaholism. It was “give other people advice and try fixing their problems for them”aholism.

This stunted my personal growth, attracted a few energy-vampire friends into my life who I’d unsuccessfully attempt to save with my oh-so-“effective” life advice (that they never fucking took), and it made me unable to relate to most people, people who were on their edges and moving forward in their own lives at the time.

I’d claim I wanted to date a feminine girl, when what I really wanted was to date an UNFEMININE girl, then be the strong masculine man who finally fixes her up and makes her a beautiful, feminine lady. I craved the validation of a girl looking at me like “finally, I’m dating a masculine guy unlike all these weak modern men”.

But the girls I’d pursue would hate being unconsciously objectified like that, and shy away from me as my defense mechanisms kicked in like “oh, I guess my extreme masculinity just scared her off”.

Nope, the fact that I was trying to find myself and validate myself through her was what made her uncomfortable.

I took a long while to move away from my family for this same reason – I was embracing the burden of being the masculine force in their lives, when really, they were living their lives while I was only a long-staying guest in their house.

My brain may have been a problem-solving machine, being able to sharply deconstruct problems and frameworks, and identify root causes of misalignment rather than just focusing on the symptoms. But other people’s problems were never my responsibility. I’d constantly think about how I could make my way in the world as a smartass advice guy who fixes people and plays the role of their strong masculine pillar instead of, you know, solving my own personal problems and leading my own life.

Unconsciously taking responsibility for other people’s problems was a silent addiction of mine that hijacked my energy for stupid goals and made me waste years of my life on fantasies.

Again, that dear reader of mine was right about me.

But he got the right answer using the wrong calculations.

My life advice may have been objectively correct yet incongruent with who I actually was, but it wasn’t incongruent for my age. It was incongruent for IDENTITY reasons.

There is no defined age where you’re fit to give other people advice. Personal growth is gradual and never-ending. One of my most influential IRL mentors was 18 when I knew him. Dude had lived a hell of a life compared to me, and I learned everything I know about social/sexual dominance and male shadow work from him.

Even in dating coaching, all but one of the men I’ve worked with have been older than me!

Don’t judge someone’s advice by their age. Judge it by their congruency, and by how much it’s aligned with YOU. Don’t be a dogmatist. Don’t kiss your gurus’ asses, no matter how great they are. Think for yourself and use your own judgement. BE yourself, instead of trying to be someone else.

I welcome people “shit testing” me and the advice I give, as long as it comes from genuine curiosity and the intent to spark a discussion, not to blindly hate on me and put me in a box. I want people who follow me to have a backbone and think for themselves, not to automatically agree with everything I say.

Plus it’s sweet to pull out the receipts and flex once in a while.

One more thing.

Accurate as it can be, unsolicited advice is a major pet peeve of mine these days.

Giving advice is a vice

“You don’t even have a business if you’re not making sales.”

I just wanted to lay on the floor and do some breathwork, then somehow my evening turned into a therapy sesh between me and my then-roommate, a marketing entrepreneur.

“I failed with business for my first 2 years too.”

“Start doing more cold outreach and trying to make sales.”

“This is an external issue, not an internal one.”

He’d “listen” to what I was saying, but only the bare minimum before he’d jump into trying to solve my problems for me.

I can’t remember what the hell else he said, but I was in a rut. I felt like my life was over. I didn’t know where to go. I only had vague steps forward planned out for myself.

Then this guy made the worst move when I opened up to him about it.

He gave me advice.

Unsolicited advice.

I played along for a bit, gave him some canned bullshit like “yeah man, I need to be more responsible for myself”, seeing if I could get something useful out of the circles he was talking in, then I told him to shut up and just tell me the most important things I needed to hear in 1 or 2 sentences.

He did. Then started talking in circles again as I tuned out the advice he was repeating.

Right there, he committed many cardinal sins of good advice-giving:

  1. Meeting the recipient where you’re at, not where they’re at
  2. Assuming they WANT their problems fixed immediately
  3. Ranting instead of holding space
  4. Assuming they’re incapable of solving their problems for themselves

But those were the symptoms, not the root cause of what was really going on.

He was giving me the advice he himself wanted to hear.

A few days later, he made the decision to quit his job, move out, and move back home temporarily so he could focus on building up his business. Once he broke the news to me, I was happy to see him looking and acting revitalized, more on his EDGE, instead of stagnating with his life.

Becoming more dedicated to his business, and doubling down on his productivity was the right move forward for HIM. When he was telling me to do the same, he was really talking to himself.

But what was the right move forward for me?

Getting a 200 lb clean and jerk.

That’s the move that revitalized me, got me out of my rut, and made me feel like I’m on my own edge again. Finally. I used to think I needed to find my new edge in work or writing or art or some shit. Nope. Weightlifting is the next edge that’s currently calling out to my soul. I used to think making it #1 was in the past for me. Guess not. I have much growth ahead of me in that domain.

But that’s only a step. Not my final destination.

Where will I be taking my body, my work, and my relationships besides constantly smashing all my PRs?

I don’t know.

I don’t know where the fuck I’m going now, but

Do I have to?

Why can’t I just fuck around and find out?

Because here’s the thing.

How to give good advice

As anyone who’s ever argued with a woman knows, being objectively correct about something doesn’t mean shit.

More often than not, advice-giving is projection. Most people’s advice doesn’t actually solve any problems. It’s a way they make themselves feel faux-useful by vicariously solving someone else’s problems for them, as I learnt the hard way oh-so-harshly when I did a brutally honest self-evaluation about WHY my personal life was a wreck despite me being a competent dating coach.

You know what kind of advice works?

Empowering people to solve their own problems. And not giving a fuck about anyone’s problems but your own.

I talked about this on camera recently, but lemme write it out for ya.

Here’s how to give GOOD, EFFECTIVE advice:

  1. Listen to the recipient. Avoid jumping in with questions, commentary, or solutions, even if they ask for solutions. Oftentimes when people “seek advice”, they’re really seeking connection. They want to feel heard and less alone.
  2. Assume competence. Don’t treat the recipient like you know better than them about how they can fix their problems. This isn’t problem-solving. This is called being a condescending asshole.
  3. Calibrate for where they’re at. You’re on your path. They’re on theirs. What works for you may not work for them. What works on one step of their journey may not be so useful on another. Avoid the common trap of projection.
  4. Assume no responsibility for their problems. Keep their problems their own. If they don’t want to fix them just yet or at all, don’t force any solutions. Again, acting like you know better than someone about their problems makes you come off as a condescending asshole, even if your advice is objectively correct.
  5. Empower them to solve their own issues. Praise, don’t criticize. Positive reinforcement is a much stronger motivator than negative reinforcement.

Now let’s close this piece off.

Savior complexes and unsolicited advice are toxic ways of thinking.

I’ve had to learn harshly to set boundaries in my attempts to help other people, especially people who don’t want to be helped.

This is a sneaky way that energy vampires drain you, and hold a carrot on a stick in front of you. But these situations weren’t always about them intentionally preying on me. They’d harvest my attention. I’d harvest the validation of my fantasy of being their Savior.

I’m slightly less of a dumbass now.

I’ve learnt to block people out of my life who aren’t hell-bent on making their lives better NOW, even if they come to me for advice and even if I know exactly how to work through their problems.

This is how I act now when people try getting me to solve their problems for them

Some people are addicted to misery, like I used to be addicted to the misery of taking on other people’s problems as my own. Misery is comfortable. And through this misery, they harvest the energy of people who want to help. It’s a vicious cycle that never improves until it’s broken and you learn to have more self-respect.

Don’t buy the bullshit.

Think for yourself.

Tell irresponsible people to fuck off, or make them fuck off.

And understand how much of your life is really your own, vs what of it is you overstaying your welcome in other people’s.

Anyway, if you feel like being the latest victim of my Savior complex, I have two coaching programs available for you.

Kidding. I’m not going to solve your problems for you.

I’ll work with you if:

  • You’re already solving your own problems and taking responsibility for your health, fitness, career, and relationships
  • But aren’t quite sure what your next steps should be
  • And are ready for my guidance. If you know my story, I’ve been there and done that 😉

Which one do you want?

Holistic Health Coaching, where we’ll fix up your fitness, looks, testosterone, and overall vitality. Using principles of health I’ve learnt in my own journey of restoring my body to and beyond its former glory after wrecking my biochemistry.


Sexual Energy Coaching, where we’ll get your masculinity and your dating life right. We’ll get you dating the women of your dreams, or deepening the intimacy with the lady you adore.

See you in coaching !

– Ben

Leave a Reply