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Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings, the online travel company formerly known as Priceline Group, said in a recent interview with Investors Business Daily, I am a firm believer in the Zen concept of shoshin, or beginners mindset. The idea is to forget what you think you know about something and approach an issue or challenge without bias and beliefs that come from your experience. Looking at something with a truly fresh set of eyes can help one come up with novel answers.

Huh? At first, those words seemed profound: forget your experience, fresh set of eyes, novel answers, but then I got to thinking about how Fogels concept might actually be implemented by the rest of us mere mortals. The answer was, not easily. And it might not work for all of us.

The problem, of course, is that few of us can forget our formative experiences or have a completely fresh view of anything. We may try to do this, and any positive results would be wonderful, but achieving shoshin would be difficult for most business people or anyone else more than three years old.

Fogels next guidance concerning the need for managerial integrity and humility was more helpful: True integrity will allow you to set clear goals and a vision, and empower you to take the risks you need to take without cutting corners. Humility is something that is learned over time, and the more you advance your career, the more diligent you need to be in not just practicing humility but living it. Living in humility allows you to embrace mistakes and learn from them and others while staying focused on the bigger picture. Now, that bit of advice is definitely on target.

The point is that not all business advice is helpful to everyone, and, on occasion, not truly useful to anyone. We need to take the time to analyze helpful recommendations to fully understand their practicality in the environment in which we work and live.

Some additional advice about advice that might be of interest:

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didnt.-Erica Jong, novelist

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.-Bruce Lee, martial artist and philosopher

Remember, when people tell you somethings wrong or doesnt work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. -Neil Gaiman, author

He who builds to every mans advice will have a crooked house.-Danish proverb

I especially like this quote from Kathy Ireland, businesswoman and former supermodel: To succeed in life and business, you need to be discerning about the advice you get. It may be helpful, even if its in an ugly package, but if its just negative noise, turn it down.

Jack Goodhue, management coach, may be contacted at

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