Blog

Are you taking in too many opinions?

You’ve heard of the Twilight movies, right? Vampires, werewolves, forbidden love, seduction, nonstop drama – you remember. 😉

So, here’s something you might not know about Twilight. (I didn’t know this until just recently when the whole story got revealed in a radio interview.)

Apparently, after Robert Pattinson was cast in the leading role of Edward Cullen, he started getting lots of negative feedback from the film production team. Robert was playing Edward as a brooding, dark, tortured, angsty vampire. The classic “bad boy” archetype. Intense and dangerous.

But the director and producers wanted him to “smile more.” They pushed him to make the character more fun, chipper, and smiley because “that’s what people want to see—happy teenage love!” They even gave him a copy of the Twilight book that they’d marked up with a yellow highlighter pen, indicating every instance where Edward “smiled.” (Like, “See? He’s supposed to smile!”)

Robert was like, “Uh, no. That’s not my interpretation of this character.” He refused. And the producers were NOT pleased. Robert’s agents flew to the set to try to reason with him, saying, “If you don’t change your performance and do what they’re asking for, seriously, you’re going to get fired today.”

But Robert stuck to his guns. He made a few small adjustments here and there, but he stayed committed to his original vision of Edward as a dark, brooding character.

And thank goodness for that, right?! Can you imagine how different Twilight would’ve been if Edward had been a happy-go-lucky vampire? It hurts my brain to even think about it. No. Please no. The Twilight movies are so much better—and so much sexier—because of Edward’s brooding personality. It’s what makes the story feel exciting and suspenseful, and it makes the whole movie “work.” The Twilight movies have brought in $3.34 billion and a large chunk of that cash is directly due to Robert’s performance. Cha-ching.

There’s an important lesson here for anybody who’s an artist, writer, or entrepreneur:

If you’ve got a strong instinct, trust it.

Don’t get swayed by other people’s opinions and advice.

Stick to your vision.

Yes, it’s great to ask your customers for their feedback. Yes, it’s great to check in with your business mentor. Yes, it’s awesome to have a circle of supportive colleagues, and it’s great to pick their brains. But if you’re soaking in gallons of advice/feedback/guidance/direction/opinions/etc. from tons of other people, all the time, it’s not going to help you succeed. (And besides, their advice might be totally wrong for you.)

I notice lots of people—especially business owners—doing this all the time. Like, someone posts a note in a Facebook group and says, “I’m thinking of naming my next class ‘Shockwave.’ What do you guys think? Do you like that name? Or not? Also, should I launch it this fall, or this spring? Which is better?” and then they collect opinions from 75 different people, all of whom have totally different perspectives. Instead of feeling clear and confident, now this entrepreneur just feels paralyzed and confused.

Take a cue from Robert Pattinson. Trust your instincts. Commit to your vision. Listen to people that you respect, but take guidance sparingly. Even if someone professes to be an “expert,” that doesn’t mean their advice is correct for you.

At the end of the day, it’s your art, your business, and your body of work. If you feel excited about a particular idea or direction, and you’re really lit up, then… proceed! Don’t stop and wait for 75 other people to weigh in. Just move forward with confidence.

That’s how you’ll wind up creating something that’s truly extraordinary, unique, and exciting—something your fans will obsess over.

Be part of a “committee” or a “mastermind” if you thrive in group environments. Sure. Nothing wrong with that. But at the end of the day, trust what’s coming out of your own mindthe most.