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The Worst Advice You'll Ever Hear When Making Life-Changing Decisions

06/01/2015 06:15 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2016

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Whenever I've made a major life decision, good advice and bad advice has often been given.

When I left the UK for Canada twelve years ago, I was told that family wouldn't forgive me for the international move. I was informed that my girlfriend (now my wife) wasn't right for me. Assured that friends from home would abandon me.

I'd be alone and left to live an unhappy expat life far from those I knew and cared about.

Twelve years on, I'm still living abroad. I'm still getting by.

And family and friends continue to care.

When I decided to return to university as a 28-year old, dissatisfied with my corporate career and the killer commute, the advice was that I was too old. The university, in its right mind, should not accept me. Fellow students would shun me.

And I probably wouldn't get the grades because being older somehow meant having less intelligence than those around me.

So I graduated with an A-grade Master of Arts. Avoided the school bullies.

And my brain didn't implode.

Then I quit a steady government career after seven painfully-long years to create a content writing company off the back of my blog, In Search Of A Life Less Ordinary's success. I was immediately told I'd fall behind if I set up my own business. It could likely end in tears and I would fail financially.

Never be able to afford another house. Forget any sort of financial security. Kiss goodbye to a proper career.

Enough already.

With every life-changing decision, I've received great advice from trusted sources. But I've also heard some of the worst advice about changing my life for the better.

And you'll probably hear it too.

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1. You will not be forgiven.

Loved ones won't forgive you for moving abroad, leaving a great career or dropping everything to travel the world.

You turned your back on them. Gave up family commitments and responsibilities as they grew older. Headed off on that incredible adventure while they dealt with life on their own. How could they ever forgive you for that?

But it's just not true.

They might not be happy with your decision to quit a good job. They might rue the day you decided to travel overseas because of a deep sense of wanderlust or a need to spread your wings. And, yes, you'll miss family events and annual celebrations.

But there's nothing to forgive.

You haven't done anything wrong. You didn't commit a crime and you didn't set out to hurt anyone.

You were restless, unhappy and uneasy with life. You wanted to change things and it led you down this path. It's true that you looked out for yourself, but then somebody had to or you might easily have gone mad.

If friends are true friends, then they'll always be there for you. It will be a struggle but you'll fight hard to keep the connection going with those you miss most.

You have a shared history with the people you leave behind. They get you. They understand you. They will forgive you.

2. You are too old.

Too far advanced in a career. Too old to get a travel visa. You left it too late. And where is all this leading? As your parents or close friends, we don't understand. Isn't it time you grew up and stopped gallivanting around?

I've heard it all before.

There's a perception that when you make a drastic life change, you have to do it before you turn 30. Or earlier still.

That if you don't change a job, sell your house, travel or move abroad before this point in time, then everything you've worked hard for will be jeopardized.

I gave up the steady corporate career - the shiny car, the lifestyle perks, flash title and fancy suits - to return to student life. And I loved every minute of it.

I left my homeland in my late 20s and, at the age of 40, I wouldn't say no to another grand international move. It's in my blood and it's the way I'm built.

It's not about age. It's about you.

If you crave change, if you're willing to open yourself up to it, if you're ready to step outside your comfort zone, then it becomes a choice and has nothing to do with age.

If you want it badly enough, you'll find a way.

3. You will fall behind financially.

You can't afford to do this. You won't be able to buy a house, start a family or move up the career ladder.

Making a decision like this is flakey and selfish at the expense of everything you've achieved and everyone who supported you.

You know who always says this? People who have money.

No-one drowning in debt will ever say something like this to you. We have an unhealthy obsession with money and too often associate our happiness with wealth.

Of course it's easier to be happy when your refrigerator is full and your bills are paid, but you still have to face the job you dislike or the commute to work that you cannot stand.

Making a decision to change an aspect of your life for the better may impact on your finances but, equally, when you do something you love, you often become great at it. And a decent income often follows passion and success.

We need to stop hearing this advice because it's too short-term.

There are so many ways to change your life. Embrace a different diet, try new things, sell a house, get fit, move abroad, transfer to a new job, do something that scares you, even alter your daily routine.

Change is hard, it is intimidating and we need to know we're making the right decision. Life is full of new beginnings based on good (and bad) advice.

So it's perfectly normal to listen to others when considering something new, just don't let them become a hurdle.

Don't let them hold you back.

What's the worst advice you've heard when making a major life decision?

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Click the link to get my free eBook by email: The Life Less Ordinary Manifesto.

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