How to Give the Best Advice

By Topaz Adizes, The Skin Deep Founder + Creative Director.

Fact: The quality of advice is directly proportional to the amount of life experiences you have access to.

Think about the last time you gave someone advice? What did you tell them? Why did you give them that bit of guidance? And how do you know that that counsel even works?

Hold on this memory for a moment longer. You’re looking in the person’s eyes. You feel for them. You want to help them. So what did you tell that person? They’re at a loss and you are doing your best to uplift them, to help them find a solution of some form, a possibility for a way out. Did you tell them a story from your own personal life? Did you tell them what your friend in a similar situation did? Did you tell them what you read about in a book, article or blog?

I guarantee that that advice is ultimately derived from someone’s experience of life. Either yours or referencing someone else’s.

Everything we know about life is because someone had to experience it first.

You give them a quote from the bible. Why? Because maybe for you those quotes helped you in the past. Or you tell them to go on a silent retreat. Why? Because your friend did that, and it helped them.

So if you want to give good advice, then the more experience you have the better advice you can give. The larger pool of experiences you can draw from then the higher quality of distinctions you can make, right?

Stated in another way, the larger data set you have access to, the stronger decisions you can make. The more perspective you have, the better the solutions you have available. For example, who would you rather seek advice from on a challenge in your life? From a 16 year old teenager, or a 75 year old grandfather who has been through various seasons of life, seen death and birth, and who is facing the twilight of his own time? This reminds me of something my father has told me more than once. He’s 39 years older than I, seen a lot, raised 5 children, watched his friends pass, and seen things I never will, and when we discuss certain things he says… “Son, the lesson you’re learning I have already forgotten.”

Ok. So what? Who cares?

Well when was the last time that you actually didn’t really have an answer? That you couldn’t find good insight to offer and you were at a loss yourself? Or the advice you offered didn’t really serve. We’ve all been there and we end up sounding like a cliche only because we aren’t speaking from a true place of experience or have enough experience to draw from.

So what if you could have access to a large database of human experiences? How empowered would you be if you had a tool that exponentially expanded the stories of life you were exposed to? How would it feel if you could witness a multitude of perspectives on the same subject and see how people from around the world tackle the same problem? What potential would we have if we could access a search engine of human experience to help us answer the challenges that life presents? That is precisely what we are building.

What is {THE AND} and what’s the Big Idea in nearly 75 seconds.

We are calling it {THE AND} Global Relationship Project.

It is a global public library of experiences that anyone can access so that we can utilize our experiences of living on this planet to help one another through any transition in life.

So how are we doing it? The first step is already completed. We have filmed over 150 relationships in the U.S., Amsterdam and Montreal. We are editing them and posting them into our digital catalogue at www.theand.us

The next step we just initiated on September 28th through October 3rd in which we hosted our first Residency program, training 10 selected residents from 9 countries in how to produce {THE AND} Format. It was an amazing experience having 10 people fly themselves in from as far as Hong Kong, Kenya, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Chile. The fact that we all come from such different cultures and backgrounds and yet all resonated with the awareness in the power of personal narratives, in the knowing that there is value in learning from anyone’s story. It was four days of intense training and dialogue. And we were all aware that this was something that simply wouldn’t happen 15 years ago. If it weren’t for the power of technology to connect us, via youtube, instagram, Skype- we wouldn’t be all here together, resonating with the same sense of hope and possibility of creating a tool greater than ourselves.

The Skin Deep team and our first Ten Residents as we prepare to take {THE AND} Global. Pic by Adhat Campos.

It was a profound experience for us all and I’m still processing it. Not sure I can properly articulate it. Maybe something about sending out a signal and hearing it come back magnified.

My team and I have been posting weekly {THE AND} videos on our youtube channel. We catalyze phenomenal intimate conversation in the comments section. It’s what keeps us going. We know that what we’re putting out there resonates and has value for others. But it is another thing entirely for someone to take a week off work, and fly themselves out to New York (for some their first time visiting the city) and immerse themselves in the powerful format we’ve created. There’s that old adage, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well my team and I only realize the full sound we make by the appearance of these committed 10 souls. And it feels like family. It feels like something bigger than us because indeed it is.

Help make {THE AND} Global Relationship Project a reality.

Topaz Adizes, is the founder and creative director of The Skin Deep, a creative studio focused on human connection in the digital age.