We asked some folks we admire to share one piece of conventional advice they disagree with.

Holly Walrath | Poet and Editor

We’re told often “write what you know.” But as a speculative writer, I’m often in the world of the unknown, from ghosts to aliens to magic. I’m fascinated by the margins of our understanding. Our reality is only understood as far as our ability to process it and know it, but we believe what we know is immutable. The truth is, we’re constantly growing in our knowledge as creators and our knowledge as human beings. That’s why I love science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They ask us to confront the weird, strange, and unexplainable in our lives. I believe that the heart of writing is empathy. By exploring things that are beyond our understanding, we come to have an empathy for that which is different than us. It’s something that can translate beautifully to our lives outside of our creative work as well. When we’re seekers of knowledge instead of authorities of knowledge, empathy is much easier. Read more>>

Alexis Jacob | The Melanated, Millenial Candle Maker

Coming from a family filled with competitive athletes, I often heard the phrase “Failure is not an option”. It was spoken aloud, written on the shirts of sports brands, and was listed on plenty of posters. For the longest I internalized this statement and when I felt that I had failed, it consumed me to the point that I would not move forward. It wasn’t until I started my business that I began to view failure differently. Let’s face it, failure is 100% an option! It’s what you do after failure that is vital. You can choose to fail and become stagnant, or you can fail and choose to make beauty from ashes. The choice is yours. However, in choosing the later, you allow yourself to create solutions for a better tomorrow. You would not have known that you needed to add that “special ingredient” to your recipe if you had not made your food and realized that it didn’t taste good. You could not master riding a bike if you hadn’t fallen off a few times. The first candles that I made smelled like mosquito spray and chapstick. Read more>>

Alexa Loch | Fine Artist

A great piece of advice we’ve all been told at least once is to go to school and find a career that pays a lot of money. In my opinion, following the money usually leads to working many hours or being unhappy because it’s not something you genuinely love to do. Although being rich is a lot of our dreams, a lot of times we should find careers where your co-workers aren’t toxic and the industry you work for isn’t draining your mind, body, and soul. I say if you want to go to school, study something that makes you want to wake up and go get it. The money will always come especially if you’re good at it. Remember don’t dread everyday for the rest of your life because of the money, do what you love and the money will always follow. Read more>>

Ladyfang | Pop band-based in Austin

Anything about hard work or boot straps. You gotta work hard, but there is no guarantee it will lead to success. So much of success is luck and happenstance. We are grateful for the work. Read more>>

Ashley Lopez | Owner, Designer, & Content Creator for Simplicity & Coffee / S.Co THE LABEL

I disagree with the idea that you look at other’s to determine what success looks like and how to achieve it. In my experience, success comes from keeping your blinders on and staying in your own lane. The next big thing isn’t something anyone is already doing. Read more>>