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Want to Know The Key to Good Advice?

There are thousands of people online advising on pretty much anything. It’s great because you can find a solution fast yet I find it annoying. There’s so much conflicting information, that I noticed people deferring to anyone appearing the most authoritative. I can’t blame them because no one can digest all the info so it makes sense to outsource advice. The downside though is that most influencers have something to sell, so their advice is biased and not in your favour. Anyway, once I saw it, I could not unsee it and my mind got fixated on the topic of advice in general.


Advice

You know when you say a word too many times it starts sounding gibberish? That’s how I feel about advice now and you probably will too by the time you finish reading this, sorry!


Most of the time when we ask for advice, we’re either

  • Looking for validation (Confirm I’m making the right choice)
  • Procrastinating (I know what to do but it’s uncomfortable, maybe there’s an easier way out I haven’t thought of?)


How to give advice

The adage ‘Don’t advise unless you’re asked’ is good advice. Also, be careful advising people who are not ready to act on it. Chances are the person is looking to shift responsibility for their life on you. If a person asks and then doesn’t act on your advice multiple times, stop giving it.


How to ask for advice

Don’t be desperate: What should I do, just tell me what to do?! It’s your life and you’re responsible for it.

In such a state, people don’t want advice, they want a parent figure to solve it for them. It’s better to come from: What would you do if you were in my shoes? And then consider their perspective and how that might apply to your situation.


Who to (and not) take advice from

Perspective

Seeking advice from people who have not done the inner work or self-reflection will lead to bad advice.

Not having done personal growth leads to opinion, not advice. Although all advice is an opinion to some extent. The difference between opinion and advice is perspective: understanding the other person’s view of the world, current position, goals, limitations and insecurities whilst being aware of your own POV.


We’re all like fish in the water, having a personalized view of the world based on past experiences. People doing the inner work are aware of that, so can advise better. When people don’t reflect on their lives, they share their painful experiences as the truth and then stupid sayings like ‘All men are pigs’ are born.


Honesty

Another trait I’m looking for when I ask for advice is the ability to speak the truth to my face. The social incentives are to be nice to people’s faces and gossip behind their backs. It’s difficult to say (and receive) less than favourable opinions. We want to avoid the discomfort, causing shame the other person might feel, accidentally offending them or worse — the potential disconnection. The ability to be truthful despite the discomfort requires maturity. Thus I trust such a person to give better advice.


Should you take advice from people more successful than you?

I don’t take advice from people less successful than me.

Said Kanye West and then proceeded to derail over the upcoming years. Makes you wonder who he was taking advice from, doesn’t it? His advice makes sense at face value.


People who have mastered an area or a skill are good advice-givers. Provided we don’t assume being successful in one area gives a person merit in others. Take Elon Musk. An engineering genius who single-handedly created a trillion (Tesla) and a billion-dollar company (SpaceX) among other successful ventures.

I’ve read Elon’s biography and the man is addicted to drama and chaos. What is his strength as a world-changing company builder, makes him a terrible partner. Asking Musk for marriage advice would be a bad idea.


This begs the question: Should we only seek advice from successful people? Of course not. The key to good advice is not success but the ability to reflect and alchemise your pain and failure into wisdom and then not make the same mistake ad infinitum. That’s a person who can advise well.


To sum up

While it’s tempting to seek quick answers or validation from others, the true value of advice lies in its relevance and authenticity, not in the status of the advisor. It’s also crucial to distinguish between mere opinions and informed perspectives and to recognize that the best advice often comes from those who have turned their struggles into wisdom. Advice should empower, not dictate. Remember, advice, at its core, is subjective and filtered through the lens of individual perspectives and experiences. It’s essential to evaluate the advice against your life context and needs.