Recently, I was invited to a social event as one of the special guests. It was a sort of photography fair. It held the promise of being a wonderful experience. There were several of us. Before we were scheduled to go on stage, all of us were seated in a special room. As we waited, some of us began making small talk to kill time.
One of them decided to play the role of a career counsellor and offered me advice on how I should have handled my career in the movie business. Soon, others in the room pitched in with their invaluable tips on how I should live my life.
Their advice was focused more on what I should have done, instead of what I could do to enhance my career. I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. I knew they meant well but in the midst of a social event, to be suddenly offered so much advice, was disconcerting.
I asked them if they were from the movie business or were associated with it in any way. All of them replied in the negative. Their connection with movies was restricted to watching films. None of them had even seen a film studio or a set, even from a distance. I wanted to blurt out then that given the complexities of any business, what made them think that they were authorities on a subject they were not even remotely connected with.
But given their honest intentions, I played along and gave them a patient hearing. But I disconnected from them, mentally, and wandered in pleasurable places.
I thought of my trip to trip to the U S. But believe me, it’s hard to disconnect from a group of people who are so passionate about advising you.
So there I was, being reminded of all the mistakes that I had made in my career in all these years.. and how I could have done a lot better, only if I had handled my career better.
Honestly, can another person, who hasn’t faced the same situations that I have, understand my decisions? A guy was singing on stage while we waited. I secretly hoped that he would stop and we would be asked to go up on stage. I understood their genuine desire to help me but I was beginning to find it all extremely boring after a while.
I have a feeling they were on the verge of cracking a formula that guaranteed success and make me the next superstar. How I wish I could have told them to stop. Their advice was useless to me on several counts. Many lessons in life have to be learnt through experience.
Taking necessary action to change your life requires not just thought, but intent too. And intent is derived through our experiences.
I wasn’t offering these people any advice on how to lead their lives and manage their careers. So what gave them the right to do so with me? Finally, after about 30 minutes of the free counselling, we were called up on stage.
My well-meaning advisors had to stop. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to leave the room and be with my thoughts instead of have someone infringing on them. Looking back, I wanted to view my experience in a humorous way. But unsolicited advice is not really the best way to start a friendship. It’s so true what they say: “We give advice by the bucket, but take it by the grain.”