November 30, 2020
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Listen to peers, non-experts — they might give helpful advice

By Nancy Bowne

During this fall semester, I began thinking about how we take advice after a conversation with Patrick Sargent, a member of the Brooklyn-based band, The Rad Trads. It was a Zoom interview for 91.3 WTSR radio station’s World College Radio Day event on Oct. 2. I asked if he had noticed whether the current music world allows for more bands to become successful with or without independent labels. He generally said that his band was fortunate to work together to produce their own music, as well as building relationships and connections through the crazy algorithm of it all. 

Sargent then referenced watching an interview with Issa Rae, an actress from the HBO series, “Insecure,” about a new career mindset.

Listening to peers’ who may not be experts provides a fresh perspective on any situation (Envato Elements).

“When you’re talking about your career, don’t look at someone who’s doing better than you,” Rae said. “Look at the other people that are working as hard as you enter at your same level and they create stuff with that.”

In this same situation, Sargent and his band members have been able to work together through their own specialized backgrounds, as well as collaborate with other bands, only growing stronger through their local ties. 

Our history dictates that our teachers are the wise, elderly sages of knowledge and we should learn lessons under their mentorship. We live in a society that cultivates self-help guides and gurus through quantitative solutions to life’s big dilemmas, like “Ten easy steps to finding your passion career” and “Get rock-hard abs in 20 days.” 

People have a lot of questions and they don’t necessarily know how to find the answers, or how to ask them. But I believe that if we turn to each other, we can find that we don’t always need an expert in order to gain real-life insight on how to travel on a journey. 

Taking advice can be a partnership in its own right. We might idolize and need those professional opinions. I come from a family of teachers and by no means am I discrediting their value or insight. My main intention is to frame that we can learn and make mistakes on the way, and develop our own instincts of taking action more than we give ourselves credit for. 

Value your peers. They probably have the same questions as you. So explore how you arrived there and where your journey will continue.

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