Everybody is an expert in giving advice on how you cannot do something

I was having tea, eggs and kaya toast alone at a coffee joint one late afternoon. A man was sitting at the next table. After I had finished my food he said, "Excuse me, can we have a conversation?" Since he had the guts to chat me up and he didn't look like a pervert, I thought there was no harm in having a conversation.

The obvious question came up was why both of us were there at that hour. I said I don't have a job and I am currently working on my book. Without being asked, he told me what kind of books he thinks would sell. He's a big fan of Chicken soup for the soul series of books so he suggested that I should write something inspirational. Basically, he was telling me why nobody would be interested in reading my book without even knowing what my book was going to be about or my writing ability! Besides, he has never written a book and is not in the publishing industry.

Do you know of people who are ever-ready to tell you that your ideas or whatever you plan on doing won't work?

Many people are dying to play devil's advocate or shoot everyone's ideas down (this is the opposite of telling people "you will be ok"), even if they were not asked. I have people writing to me telling me that I would fail. Note that I never asked through my blog for anyone's opinion about whether I should or shouldn't write a book, what I should write about or whether I should quit my job. I only shared I've done something or I'm going to do something. If I wanted opinions or suggestions, I'll ask. If not, I think people should just keep their opinions from hell to themselves.

"Everybody is an expert in giving advice on how you cannot do something." - Maria Elena Ibanez.

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great." - Mark Twain.


Anonymous said...

I encountered similar situation that you faced here! I'm rather confident in my writing ability (in Chinese). A few years ago I had an ambition to write some story/novel and I was too stupid to tell it to my friends. Wow, then they suggest me many things, "You should include some romances / murders / more characters / (...whatever...)!" "You can write it like a detective story!" "Can you really write it properly?" I gave it up and told myself that, next time when I have the time to write a story or a book, I should keep it as a secret until it's published.

Anonymous said...

Yu-Kym, I'm glad u saw through much of what is rubbish from others.

But the paradox about clever sweeping statements like those in this blog is that they can seem true in some situations and yet false in others. They can be very deceptive and damaging to the simple minded.

Like this one.."but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great",

You get some charismatic charlatan conman who is really articulate and tells u all the rosy stuff u want to hear (and he knows who doesnt?), you are done for if you dont do your own final calculations and/or do the wrong calculations when overwhelmed by his "positiveness".

And this one..."Everybody is an expert in giving advice on how you cannot do something."

So deceivingly true and convincing. But if you dont listen to the "real expert" who knows his stuff, you are done for too. lol

curious cat

Anonymous said...

anything more beside books, i'm curious ?

Clear Blue Skies said...

How does a company know whether its product will sell? They conduct marketing surveys to gather the opinion of CONSUMERS, not manufacturers.

A READER (consumer) is equally authoritative in his opinion on what kind of book can sell and what cannot.

I think you err in casting aspersions on that man's opinions, relegating it to the junk pile.

Why should his views be belittled because "he has never written a book and is not in the publishing industry?"

Companies pay through their noses for consultation from "experts." When you get public opinion for FREE, learn to weigh it with graciousness.

They do not say the consumer is KING for nothing. She/He decides your success.

Reality is a CRUEL teacher. Nobody has ever debated with reality and won. Nobody can.

And nobody will.

That man was giving you a reality check. And you have missed it.

Humble yourself.

David said...


Self-proclaimed experts are everywhere. Of course in this case you volunteered to listen.

This "legend in his own mind", made his preferred genre of books apparent, and should have left it at that.

You appeared to have handled this person most diplomatically, bravo! ! !

If you asked your readers to provide ideas for your next book, I think you would be flooded with more ideas than you could ever use.

Not being charismatic nor good looks I want to know more about an author before I purchase a book.

At least I am your wait list for your first book.

tWould you choose anyones idea for anther book? Perhaps, provide such an idea resonated within you.

Question; can you define what type of male, or characteristics makes a man look like a pervert?

Last question - have you read much of Mark Twain's books?

Great post!


Let's not drag God's standard of truth down to our level of performance.

-- Morris Vendon

Anonymous said...

I think Yu-Kym should go into writing columns regularly for magazines or other publications. Her talent to put various issues (not just sex issues lol) into words interestingly is wasted just on books right now.

curious cat

Anonymous said...


What you experienced when u tell your friends you are writing a book happens everytime unfortunately. To Yu-Kym too, to me too not in writing but other stuff. It could be a business venture, switching jobs, marrying someone...endless similar encounters fm friends, office colleagues and relatives alike.

Yes, sometimes its wise to keep things secret and sometimes its also wise to test out your ideas with reliable friends. Even then, you may not hear comments you'd like all the time but u must remain confident and believe in yourself if you know you have talent in certain things. But do keep your ears open for feedbacks, good or bad.

If u are not sure about your talent in something and you wish to nevertheless give it a go, all the more u should float the idea and carefully sieve out the trash from the useful feedbacks. I believe in most things its best to have some info (good or bad) than no info at all when deciding what to do.

But in things where u really want to do regardless of hell or fury, then dont get feedbacks that may only confuse or cause doubt in you. Just do it. keke

Just like I wish Yu-Kym success in her new book, i hope you too succeed in your writing.

curious cat

Anonymous said...

No harm to hear something positive or negative from others. The most important is you have to “filter" it out and choose the good one as a reference. Not all the people giving the advice with intention to discourage somebody unless they come with the purpose. I rather accept the worst at least I know what to do as my back up plant in case I fail.

Yu-Kym said...

Anon, most of the time people give suggestions because those are they things they want to write about if they ever write. The "non-creative" type of people think that the "creative" type of people need their suggestions and comments. They react in the way that they would like others to react to their ideas - giving suggestions and comments. There are times when people tell me their ideas and I don't say anything, then they ask me, "Why are you not helping?"

curious cat, if someone is trying to sell you something, of course they will make you feel great (or something they make you feel bad and lousy) so that you will buy their products. That quote is more applicable to people who have achieved something great, outstanding or remarkable. I do not know of anyone who has who talks downs to others. They may give comments and suggestions but never in such a way to break a person's spirit or self-esteem.

Yu-Kym said...

David, yes, I might choose someone's idea for anther book. I seek and heed the advice of certain people. I've not read Mark Twain's books. I have many books on my to-read list!

curious cat, I encounter such "advice" whenever I want to make any sort of changes to my life. I have heeded the advice of others in some of those (potential) changes. Writing books is one of the things I want to do "regardless of hell or fury". I have no idea why some people are so against it when my parents don't object!

Anon, people will usually advise others based on their own experience and fear. In everything, we must be prepared to fail but we should not let the fear of failure hold us back. Many people are crippled by fear and they intentionally or unintentionally pass on that fear to others.

Anonymous said...


Yes of course, i agree..as long as you have the opportunity to meet such "great" ppl. But some "greats" do put you down too. But then they are really "greats" are they? hehe

For most of the other times....u best keep your wits with you. keke

curious cat

Anonymous said...


Just like the famous "I Love SG" and "I Love NYC" with the pink hearts on caps and stickers etc, I can just picture "I love SSG" in the front cover of your next publications which should ride quickly on the popularity of your maiden book.

I can also envisage your avid readers wearing "I love SSG" souvenir caps purchased during your book launch. heh!

Because after the 1st publication, you are Singapore's Sexiest Sex Guru!

You are so obstinate and determine in your own way, is there anyone (including your parents) who can stop you? lol

curious cat

Anonymous said...

Founder of Sony, Aikio Morita, is notoriously known for not believing in consumer research, asserting that Sony shouldn’t ask people what they want because they don’t know what they want.

Despite poor market-research response on the 'need' for a Walkman type of product, he insisted to launch.
The rest was history.

Uncle Wee

Anonymous said...

Uncle Wee

It's like picking a woman to be your wife. You meet her, you just know she's the one for you...the one you've been looking for all your life...you dont ask anyone if she is so.. you just go get her and make her yours.

It's not like you are getting a car, you ask around for opinions/views. lol

Somethings you dont ask. Just do it. Somethings too, you just do it despite inputs to the contrary. You make or break.

Ignoring the market data, Morita got it right with his instincts despite the odds. That's the hallmark of an entrepreneur - courage and conviction. But Sony doesnt get it right all the time.

In Yu-Kym's case, she should just go ahead and do it! So when is your 1st baby due honey? We are all waiting.

curious cat

Anonymous said...

Haha Yu-Kym

just notice that no reply yet from you. By "baby" i meant your book! just in case u read me wrongly. lol

curious cat