Why Listening to His Grandfather Bankrupted His Business

There was once a story, about a man in the 1920’s who had suffered through a war, through poverty selling flowers and peanuts on the streets until he discovered his talent designing print advertisements. He made some money, married his childhood sweetheart and retired.

A greater part of a century later, his grandson who had the idea of starting a t-shirt business asked him what he could do to promote his business.

“Why don’t you do print advertisements? It’s worked for me and should for you as well.”

So the young man took his grandfather’s advice. He invested his entire advertising budget into print advertisements.

The first week the advertisements ran, the store was packed with people who had seen the ad. The second week was even better. Orders were made and processed. The third week, traffic began slowing down. The people who had come were rare and few in between.

Within months, the young man was forced to close his shop; he had run out of money. The profit from the sales he had made in the first two weeks was just a fraction of the money he had spent towards making the print advertisements.

A lot of us take often advice for granted; We follow it word for word, thinking it’s key to guaranteed success.

What we don’t realize is that the advice given is often a reflection of that person’s struggles and the experience gained throughout that process. It’s not necessarily advice that’s applicable to us. Our situation, our circumstances are often drastically different than the one giving that advice and as such, there are bound to be differences in the amount of success found following that advice.

The advice given to the young man from his grandfather was solid advice; it was just advice that had been better suited fifty, sixty years ago when the internet didn’t exist yet and printing presses had been all the rage.

Advice, at the end of the day, is just advice. It’s just words passed down from one generation to another, from one person’s past to another, from one person’s experience to another. It’s not guaranteed success. It’s not a sure-fire guide to succeeding in life. We all have our own lives, but it’s up to take all advice with a gain of salt and decide for ourselves whether or not that advice is beneficial to our situation.

Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it — Harper Lee

About the author

Jon Lee

I travel the world in search of lessons worth sharing. Addicted to culture shock and transparency. Currently working on heeyy and duuck.

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