As a rule, I very seldom ride the train on a weekend. However, late one Saturday afternoon, I boarded the train from the city to head home from an all- day marketing training session. Surprisingly, the train was crowded and seating required everyone to double up. Since the workshop began early in the morning, I was really tired by the time I settled on the train for the 45 minute commute. The noise level on the train was not excessive despite the mass of commuters, except for one voice. I started listening more closely to where this voice, a quite loud voice, may be coming from because I was getting irritated by the ongoing chatter. As I glanced around I noticed two seats in front of me was an elderly gentleman who was making hand gestures and from what I could see his mouth appeared to be moving. As I listened more attentively he shared advice about changing the politic system, the government, and a whole sleuth of other topics. He didn’t even take a breath when he changed subject matter. A closer look revealed that this man was not talking on the phone nor was he directing his advice to anyone in particular. As I observed the other commuters, I could see that everyone was a bit curious about this passenger’s behavior and why he was carrying on a full conversation with no one. He had some knowledge about everything and was not shy about giving his advice freely.
After all, the funny thing about advice is whenever you ask for it, you get it or in the case of my train experience, even when you do not ask for it. How many things in life do you simply ask and then receive? You can always count on advice. Of course, when you need to find a new approach, move in a different direction, or simply start over, the more you rely on expert advice from people who know what to do, how to do it, and understand what works and doesn’t work. The problem with advice is that it is easy to get because everyone gives it, yet not always appropriate. Not that advice, in itself, is bad. In fact, it is helpful. But it seems like the more advice you seek, the more confusing and conflicting the advice becomes. So what happens is instead of using any of the advice, you are now overwhelmed, confused, and immobilized trying to decipher what advice is useful and who to believe about actions to take.
Although this may be true, everyone gives advice based on their experience and what they know to be true. Advice is shared with your best interest in mind. While the shared advice is appreciated, there is no guarantee that the advice will work for you because your life experience, your approach to change, and your style may not the same as the person giving the advice. Sometimes the advice is so far off from what you would do that you instantly tune out the advice and stop listening. You are thinking, no way, you are crazy, I could never do that. Just because everyone is doing it does not necessarily mean that you should or could do it too and have the same results. During times of change in your life, advice is what you need. However, advice only works when it fits who you are, where you are in the state of change, and your level of comfort and fear.
With this in mind, understand that all advice is good advice and you never know when the advice you receive is going to be a turning point and change everything you do. Advice is always given to help you and only you can decide what advice is right for you. Even though you did not ask, here is my advice on advice.
- Say thank you and express gratitude for the helpful advice.
- Place the advice on your personal advice shelf.
- Select the advice that works for you. By situating all advice in one place, as you progress through different stages of change, you can select the best advice. Surprisingly, the advice that you first discarded as never going to work for you, may, in fact, be the exact advice of what you need as your life changes. Strange how that occurs. Trust my advice, it does work.
Go ahead and ask for advice, all the advice you want without worrying about choosing what advice to use because you know where to place each and every piece of advice you get, even if you didn’t ask for it.