A {Pinch} of Salt

Have you ever had anyone give you advice that sounded amazing, logical and perfect for you? ….Only to have it all go to shit when you followed that advice.

There are a bunch of messed up people in this world who deliberately and with malicious intention pass on real bad advice to good people with the sole intention of watching them fail, this article isn’t about them.

This article is about you. The adviser with good intention and, you, the open minded listener looking for direction and inspiration from the people around you.

For the adviser:

Eventually, you will come across someone you want to help with some advice, your son or daughter, a niece or nephew, your friends, a parent, it could even be a complete stranger you met in a coffee shop or someone you bumped into at a store.

And I get it, it feels good to share a chunk of info, or your opinion on how that dress looks. but often times, the harsh truth is; that we give advice where we really have no business giving advice.

Understand that the way you see things, and the words you use, are all laced with personal biases through no fault of your own. That, your solution to what’s the “right” thing to do for another person’s problem, will always be askew from what is truly “right” for them. No matter how hard you try, make peace with that now.

“We Look Through Our Looking Glass Through The Stains Of Our Past.”
 -me [: p]

So What’s the solution for this human error?

Well the first thing you should keep in mind is:

1.Never give advice based on second hand knowledge. Have you ever heard or said statements like , “I know a guy who had the same problem and he did xyz to solve it” ?

In that situation you are voicing your opinion, of another person’s opinion, of his or her own problem, and confidently passing it on as advice that will effect another person’s life. You’ve taken on quite a burden while never truly realizing your own clouded perspective on the issue at hand.

many might think, “If only we could read each other’s hearts and minds better” 
Wrong! Because of the next point.

2. Other people rarely share complete solutions or insights into their problems because they usually consists of something boring, embarrassing or compromising.

Just as an example, lets think about a pro athlete in any major sport.

Do you think that the professional athlete you admire would share all his dirty secrets with his juniors on the team about how he really coped with pain and failure before he reached the next level?

We never hear details about the messed up things that were on his mind, the substances or actions used to cope with stress he endures or the corners he cut and the heads he stepped on to get to where he is.

And when we do hear about them, suddenly it’s ridiculed by everyone.

It tough to hear those things and tough to think about them, but without those actions his success wouldn’t be as great to warrant your need for his advice in the first place or your desire to follow in his or her footsteps.

In other words, even though you think you have the complete solution or the complete picture, only half the picture was originally shared with you, and the person you are giving the advice to will only get a quarter of the original.

So once again-

Never share second hand knowledge as advice.

Because let’s face it, in today’s info rich environment, majority of the things we share with others consists of second hand info.

Well what about first hand experience? Something or some problem that you have gone through on your own? Surely in those situations your advice would work? won’t it?

Understand this, the best advisers are those who paint the full picture for their subject. No matter how botched the path you’d have taken to reach your goal. wanting to genuinely help someone versus wanting to sound “cool” while doing that, are two very different things.

So next time you share that sweet story, don’t forget to add a pinch of salt. It matters for you and the other guy too.

For the asker/listener:

Sometimes you simply lend a ear to another and hear them share a story, other times you desperately want and need advice on a certain issue.

I won’t tell you where to get that advice, because I frankly wouldn’t know, and I think you would know better. Regardless of who you lend a ear to, understand that they would often hide the dirtiest parts of their story from you in order to present a cleaner and clearer picture. That’s just human nature.

If it’s second hand advice, try to get to the original source of the knowledge even if it’s extra work for you.

For example, would you ask your friend to ask his plumber about issues in your house’s plumbing?

No! You’d get it touch with a plumber yourself. It’s common sense and its effort worth taking. Which is something we tend to forget as name tags get fancier designations on them.

And when it’s advice from someone who lived and conquered your problem,understand that they are human, have made their own mistakes, and you will make your own mistakes which will lead to different results, which in turn can throw a wrench in your plans time after time.

In conclusion…

Always take advice with an extra {pinch} of salt. (my article too)