I broke trend just earlier this week when I decided to write about my impressions and thoughts for the Kenya Mall Massacre, which thankfully ended yesterday. In my last few entries I have written about the word “Answer”, which led me to discuss about the role of asking the right questions in many areas of our life. I read and listened to some podcasts about advice and I immediately thought of something else to write about.
Advice is a word that everyone on the planet can associate with. At some point in our lives we would have received advice, at least once, from someone in our lives. We may welcome the advice and choose to do something about the advice. Or we may choose to ignore them completely. Either way, the choice is ours to make. That’s why it is called an advice, rather than a ‘command’, or an ‘order’. When someone gives an advice, it should be with an understanding that the listener may, or may not accept the advice. Advice is usually easy to give, but difficult to accept and execute. ‘And’, because accepting the advice may not necessarily mean doing something about it.
What I have found while observing people around me is that, often they seem to take the good advice but never made the conscious and intentional decision to do something about it. I pondered why, and several reasons come to mind:
- It was not what they expected to hear.
When people comes to someone for advice, they often come with the expectation that the advice will make them feel good. A reasonable advice may make you feel good, but a great advice, if executed, will change your life. A good advice is not meant to make you feel comfortable with where you are right now. Not all advice will make us feel good, because of the second reason I will explain below.
- It points them to their fault / mistakes
There are some who seek for affirmation when they look for advice. In fact, sometimes they are not looking for advice, rather, they are looking for people who agree with them. They seek for confirmation and agreement with their opinions. However, a good advisor will actually help you see where you need to change and do something different, rather than letting you keep falling into the trap of believing that you are right when you are in fact, not.
- It requires them to change
There is no such thing as a good advice that will not require you to change. In fact, if you receive an advice that does not require you to change, I believe you may safely ignore the advice. A good advice may tell you to change your behaviour or to change your mindset or your thoughts. In fact, I believe that to change your life on the outside, you need to change on the inside. A lasting change and improvement could only happen when it begin from the inside.
Equally important as getting good advice, is also who you are getting it from. As John Maxwell often said, “It’s not only important what you learn, but who you learn it from.” If I were to ask for advice about traveling to a certain country, I would ask from those who have been there before. If I were to ask about joining a gym, I would ask from the members of the gym itself. If I were to ask about leadership, I would ask from those who have demonstrated great leadership in their lives. I will ask from people that I can trust, people that I know care about my growth and care more about helping me become a better person rather than getting rid of me as soon as possible.