Getting advice

 Does anyone not ever get asked for advice? I don’t think so.

To you, somehow, somewhere , someone’s life experience may help you decide on what decision to make, how heavily to weigh an event, or even how to react to something that’s happened to you.

I believe in asking for advice. We all live on mostly separate time-lines, and there’s wisdom to be shared by those who’ve seen something before us. I’ve received some great advice through the years, much of which I’ve followed – though in truth I probably wish I had followed more, or at least given it more thought.

We all like to think we’re individuals, and that no one quite knows our situation/pain/left foot is hurting, etc.. But you know what I’ve found? We’re much more alike than we’d like to think, and once your get over that, navigating through life is somewhat easier.

Here’s the best piece of advice I can give to someone seeking advice :


Seems easy, doesn’t it? It’s not.

Often when getting advice, we end up defending ourselves. I’m not sure what it is, maybe on some level, we really know that the advice is right, and in fact, we knew before asking. So, we defend or come up with reasons why we didn’t follow the advice we didn’t yet have.

Follow me? By shutting up, you’ll let the advice-giver get past the advice and hopefully into why the advice giver thinks this way. THAT is where the value is. Just like in math, sometimes it’s valuable to see how an answer was obtained, not just the answer itself…

What do you think keeps advice from being received? Is it ego, fear, what?

  Photo credit:Shhh!!!!!!, by Carly & Art.

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  1. Kathryn says:

    Maybe ego and fear – fear that you’ll see how much I need the advice and then you’ll know if I did or didn’t act on it. Ego in that the idea that *my* problem is so much different from yours how could you possibly understand me??

    Also I wonder if people ask for advice the same way they ask “How are you”? do they *really* want to know?

  2. Krash Coarse says:

    Sounds like some sound advice I should just shut up and take…. 🙂

  3. Chris Sherry says:

    Nice post Bob,
    Very honest. I think you’re exactly right. The realisation that you need advice isn’t always paired with a readiness to accept it, and I think that is a defensiveness that’s triggered.

    Ego gets us all into all sorts of trouble, and if we really listened to the answers we get, instead of just asking questions and then defending our standpoint, we’d have less questions to ask I think. We will always have questions though!

    I hope your left foot is OK by the way.

  4. Pamela Miles says:

    As an integrative health care consultant, I am often asked for advice, and I’ve seen the defensiveness you described so well, Bob.

    It seems to stem from a sense of helplessness, a feeling that the problem is bigger than any action that could be taken. And the person’s defensiveness makes that belief in helplessness come true, because the defensiveness effectively blocks support.

  5. Bob says:

    thanks all for your thoughts, I’m not sure where the idea for this post came from, but I’m enjoying the discussion…

    Kathryn – you bring up a good point. Perhaps when asking for advice some are just saying ‘Listen to my troubles..’ I guess as advice-givers, it’d be nice to be able to tell the difference..

    Pamela – do you think the defensiveness is also a way of avoiding the truth? Sometimes until the problem is clear, you can avoid working on the solution…

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