Wednesday, June 13, 2012


"Wise men don't need advice, fools won't take it." -Ben Franklin (allegedly)
People and advice. Can be a volatile combination. Often people are terrible at taking it, even worse about giving it and downright ornery when you don't take it. I am offering some observations and some commentary on this common topic of conversation.

Have you ever noticed how quickly people offer advice, even when it is not solicited? People offer advice for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they were asked for the advice. They, may think they have something valuable to contribute to one's situation. They may get a sense of self importance from being "in the know." Offering advice may give them some kind of validation of their own past trials and tribulations. For some it may completely altruistic, i.e. they truly just want to help.

Then there is the person receiving the advice. So often the receiver has in the front of their mind "this person cannot possibly understand my situation. I am so unique that no one has ever experienced this." The fact is, most likely, you are not that unique. OR, more accurately, you are unique, just like everyone else. In other words, there are not a lot of truly unique, never-before-seen experiences out there. As for your everyday trials, most likely, someone you know has been there. Also, we tend to devalue the wisdom that experience brings. We feel like someone is just preaching to us or is just enjoying themselves talking. Then the receiver completely discredits the advice.

Finally, my favorite is the reaction of the giver after the taker didn't listen to them. "Well, I told them what to do. I don't know why they didn't listen," typically in a very high and mighty tone. I am very guilty of this. I told them exactly what to do and they didn't do any of it. Now look where they are (and boy don't people hate being told "I told you so"). I sometimes forget that I got that wisdom by screwing up. I discount the lesson of pain. Without pain it is very difficult for some people to learn a lesson. I want to help them avoid pain but I forget how it helps.

So why do I write about this? Well, I am in the advice business. People frequently ask my opinion on things. Most of the time I give pretty sound advice. I also see friends do things in my field of expertise that do not seek my advice. I see them do it wrong all too often (not that I am right 100% of the time, but there are some basic things I ALWAYS do right and many Realtors do not). I want to give my advice, not to get their business necessarily but to help them out of their personal tight spot. I know that my advice, especially unsolicited, will be construed as attempted business stealing but I still feel compelled to give it. Most of the time I do not but I really want to. Can anyone else relate to this? I find it so hard to keep my mouth shut.

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