Do you resist great advice?

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The other day at a 4-Man Intensive, someone in the group was dispensing some REALLY good advice to a surgeon. He adamantly resisted it.

His procedure was 94% successful but he was afraid of creating false expectations for the other 6%. He was afraid of being unethical. We ended up having a long conversation about that, including full disclosure about the 6% failure rate. He’s a rare among surgeons because he’ll do the procedure over again for no charge, if necessary.

Several weeks later he emailed me, reporting that he’d completely thought through the issue. He apologized to me for his resistance, copying the rest of the group members. He said now that he’d sorted out his hesitation, he was now ready to take his foot off the brake and start selling his procedure in earnest.

What I admired about the guy was 1) he was at least HONEST about the fact that he was resisting, instead of pretending to listen but ignoring everything he was being told, and 2) he went home, talked to his wife and straightened himself out.

Nobody talks about it much, but this is a VERY common problem. The issue could almost be anything, but almost everyone has to *emotionally* adjust to opening up their sales throttle 100%. Almost everyone struggles with this and to be honest, if you don’t, you might be a psychopath.

"What should I do next to grow my business this year?" Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the most bang for your buck.

But you still must finish the struggle, in order to prosper to the fullest extent possible. Hey, that’s just life.

The notable “Mindhacking” guru PJ Eby came to one of my seminars a few years ago with his wife. He said something I thought was really interesting: “We pay close attention when we feel ourselves blocking great ideas that we just received. When we notice ourselves doing that, we circle back to it during breaks or dinner and ask ourselves why.”

What advice have you been given that you are resisting?

What future event, seminar or learning experience will be better if you go into it knowing that *something* is gonna make you queasy, and you need to talk it through and sort it out, so you can plunge forward into success without reservation?

Your comments welcome below….


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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

19 Comments on “Do you resist great advice?”

  1. Kent, I agree with you and Adam, it’s mostly ego. I see it all the time as a weight loss consultant… yeah, there are many other factors involved but the main one is “what can YOU teach me about nutrition and food that I don’t already know?”

    Years ago, my husband (he never reads Planet Perry, ha)needed to lose 30 pounds, and though I prepared many fitness programs and menus for him it wasn’t until I suggested a well -known trainer -and $500 later- that he agreed to change his eating habits, though the trainer didn’t tell him anything different than what I had been suggesting.

    Friends and other family tend to act the same way.

    They resist genuine (and free) advice, maybe because it IS free, so I quit offering it long ago. Obviously, the subject IS sensitive, we all resent being told what to do, but when it comes to weight loss issues, it’s even more personal.

  2. Advice that I am resisting right now –

    from the head of a top design firm insisting that my personalised introduction letter for the glossy brochure they are putting together is too ‘wordy’, ‘descriptive’ and ‘over the top’ and that we should go for the ‘less wordy’ version their copywriter did, cos, hey, he writes copy for their large clients such as the energy utility company and knows what brochures should sound like.


    1. You should follow @draytonbird on Twitter, his favorite topic is copywriters like the guy who works for the utility company, and their ineptness.

  3. Hi Perry…

    I personally think that this subject IS what holds people back from achieving absolutely anything in life…*especially* if they have to leave their comfort zone to do it!

    People just have that safety mechanism against walking out to far from the shoreline…similar to having a nervous system that causes you pain that you don’t want to feel…so from birth you instinctively KNOW not to do anything that causes it…

    I approach people by training their mind to expect exactly on their journey, MOST importantly the FAILURE from the offset until they reach *their goals*…

    because if they can master and accept failure they will easily associate it in line with success!

    The reason why I say all this is because…in line with the content here…yeah people as a whole won’t leave their comfort zone because they associate failure with the unknown…but with the right mindset structured to enter outside their thought process will naturally follow through!

    That’s what I firmly believe…great post as usual…and I love your natural way of looking at psychology and thought processes through conversation,because that is what you do best!

    You *feed the flame* Perry…real glad people like you exist….thanks for your mind….John.

  4. Really solid advice can stand up to close scrutiny. Bad advice cannot. A previous employer remarked that I was far more flexible than they expected from their personality profile. But if someone else has good advice why not avail yourself of it?

  5. Love your posts! In my mind, resistance is the root of all evil. Why am I so great at giving advice but so poor at taking it, particularly my own.

  6. The article was right on the money. We all live in our comfort zone, we will not do anything outside of the comfort zone. However if you don’t, nothing changes. If you put more chocolate syrup in milk or less you still have chocolate milk. To get strawberry milk you have to mix something else. Doing the same thing gets the same results.

    I have learned to embrace my uneasiness with change as an exciting new path I am embarking on. That doesn’t mean you do it recklessly but you still need to do it. Just be more logical than emotional.

    I heard somewhere that if you look at things differently they are different. I started to apply that theory with taking myself out of the equation and all of a sudden I had a different perspective on the subject. I started to have a broader understanding of anything I was reviewing because it wasn’t about me it was about the thoughts someone was trying to convey.

    I guess that is the difference between people who grow and people who stay the same.


  7. Adam…you are funny…and so right.

    I often joke with staff when I come off a plane and enter the premises of a new client..that I’m charging big money to get them to hear what the receptionist has been telling them all along.

  8. I think your surgeon was being sensible, checking it matched his ethical position and so forth. Was it resisting or allowing himself time to digest the proposition, analyse it in detail before committing and possibly making a mistake?
    Another thing is – you were asking a lot. You asked him to accept an idea from outsiders (of the medical profession) and buy into a concept. OK, you’re the marketing expert but remember there are 2 types of surgeon – those that only talk to God and those that think they are God!

  9. I have been doing some thinking on how a sermon gets understood by a diverse congregation and decided that it is because “man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body.” The sermon, hopefully if preached from the Word, is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and speaks spirit to spirit. Other messages possibly speak at lower levels yet still catch us a little in our spirit. Maybe the resistance comes because our spirit understood something that our soul or “body” didn’t and there is an argument that has to go on to resolve what each level understood, or didn’t understand.

  10. “What advice have you been given that you are resisting?”

    For years people have told me to stop making others rich and go out on my own.

  11. A couple of years ago I paid a lot of money to attend a 3 day seminar in London. The subject was how to sell from the stage.

    The content was great but the delivery style was very uncomfortable for me. Lots of hype and high fives and lots of stuff that I simply could not relate to.

    As a result of this I left the seminar halfway through day one and did not finish the event. I have since viewed the recorded material many times and taken lots of great information from it.

    Perhaps if I could have stayed the course in the first place I may have been able to get the information first hand and actually enjoyed the experience instead of blocking it out.

  12. I have often said to clients, everybody resists what I’m about to tell you. It takes brass balls to actually do it. You won’t like it. In fact when you see the first draft of the ad (or whatever), you will HATE it. Your partner will hate it. Your wife will tell you not to.

    But in order to really stand out, you must be willing to commit to irreducible logic even if it feels strange.

    Are you ready? Are you ready to see how bad it feels to do exactly the thing you said you wanted to do..which was stand out and be different??

    And I have often pointed out the contradiction in the minds of my clients (lawyers) that they want to be different, but only by doing what they observe everyone else is doing. That’s crazy! And when you can prove to them that they are crazy, they tend to comply with reason.

    Those are a few things I’ve used to pre empt the predictable resistance that comes up when you are offering something actually innovative.

    For resistance to the guarantee…it’s usually helpful to point out that if they are halfway ethical, it’s already guaranteed…but they are not making any marketing hay with it..

  13. Hi Perry,

    I always love your “stuff” and this one hit “home” even more as in the “old days” I was very much like the Surgeon you mention–with one glaring difference–my resistance continued for a long time.

    Pardon this moment of “self-promotion” but I’m leading to the connection to your very important post

    Now–I teach everyone there are 7 Laws of Human Potential and “If Your Human–You Qualify”. Since these Laws govern ALL of our outcomes there is no grey area, no room for opinion and your belief in them does not affect how they produce results at all.

    Ok-now the connection. There is a Pre-Law I teach and it is “The Law of Self-Honesty”. The Law is:
    “The more honest you are with yourself–the quicker you get what you want”

    In essence this means–what you see, you can change. What you DON’T 9or are unwilling to see) YOU DON’T HAVE A CHANCE OF CHANGING.

    It’s a law, meaning it’s true for everyone, everywhere and at all times. Like the other 7 Laws–there is no loophole here and the law doesn’t function better for one person over another.

    This is a foundational Law–for it precedes the others and is the catalyst for growth, expansion and the road to excellence you write about so often.

    Thank you Perry for YOUR honesty!

    PS. On a business note–I’ve always felt these insights would benefit your target audience in a huge way (they benefit so many people). I’d like to talk about the possibilities with you!

  14. Yes I have have and I do resist advice, we all do to a degree

    This is a valuable insight on another level:
    If we can see it in our self it helps us better understand the resistance we experience in others who we are trying to help.
    A consultant can only help those who are open to what is being offered.

  15. Oh my Gosh Perry, this is probably one of the biggest problems I see with my clients. It’s also a problem I struggle with myself.

    You know when your Mom gives you really good advice, or maybe its your annoying sister-in-law, and you just HAVE to say, “NO!” because of who it’s coming from?

    Serioulsy, how on earth could your Mom EVER give good advice. Heaven for bid.

    So then you pay a high priced consultant, like yourself, you gives you basically the same advice, and you say, “That’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard!.”

    The person will gives the advice, and price you pay for it, really matters, because at some dollar level, you say to yourself, “If I just paid Perry $1,300 a hour, I better try this out.”

    I see this all the time.

    But I think your post goes a little deeper: the mental blocks the keep us implenting great ideas, even just good ones.

    It’s this little voice that says, “Really? You really want to make more money? What about this? What about that?” And it freezes you.

    The doc in your story is great: he paid the money, fought against the voices, and took action.

    I also really like the idea of, “Almost everyone struggles with this and to be honest, if you don’t, you might be a psychopath.”

    That’s my test of a great idea: the strength of the voices that keep you away from taking action.

    Perry, I know you mentioned somewhere where your voices said, “Perry, go get a haircut!” Classic.

    BTW, a loved the SOZO seminar, and will feature it in my June newsletter.


  16. Takes wisdom to know when you should listen to your resistance, and when you should figure out how to get past it.

    I suppose when the advice is being dispensed at the 4-Man intensive its quite likely to be the latter.

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