No matter where you turn these days, you’ll have to admit that advice is everywhere. You only need to Google a question and you’ll find dozens of articles – including ones from me – giving you advice. And sharing a variety of ways to approach any challenges you’re facing.
And let’s be honest: this is part of being human. From the time we are small children, we learn by watching and listening to others. As we grow into adulthood and grow our own discernment skills, that doesn’t mean we don’t stop looking for advice.
That’s because no matter how wise you are, there are times when each one of us needs an opinion on something. Because I know I’m not the only one who has been on the receiving end of advice that completely changes how I see something.
This is more common than you might think and is one of the most important interactions to encourage.
However, advice is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. And, in fact, it can be a double-edged sword. That’s because there are times where advice can be wrong or even malicious.
So how do you differentiate between extremely useful advice and really bad advice? Here’s three traits to look for in the advice you’re receiving.
One – Advice is generally uplifting, but it can also lead to an uncomfortable truth.
In many cases, advice can help you regain your self-confidence and drive you towards new goals. Advice should be positive and it should be something that restores your motivation. However, there are times where it can be a little too positive.
Sometimes, advice is what you need to hear when you already know the answer but are afraid of it. For example, you might ask for someone’s opinion on changing jobs. An outside perspective may better se that it’s not the best decisions for you and your family. Even if you’re feeling bored at work and are desperate for something different.
While this isn’t exactly uplifting, it does tell you an uncomfortable truth and is something you can trust. So, while it’s nice for advice to be positive. Recognize that sometimes an uncomfortable truth is the best guidance you’ll ever receive.
Two – An experienced person is advising you.
Some of the best life advice you’ll get is from people who have lived similar experiences themselves. That’s because those folks have experienced challenges like you. And are speaking from a perspective of having been there before.
Rather than coming from a place of judging your life and past choices, they’re sharing their recommendations for you based of how they managed a challenge. While this doesn’t always mean it’s the best advice for you because one-size does NOT fit all. It does mean that their advice is coming straight from the heart.
If you’re getting advice from someone that hasn’t experienced your situation and has never been in your shoes, then you should always take their advice with a grain of salt.
Three – Advice is coming from someone that genuinely cares about you.
Lastly, keep in mind who you’re listening to for good counsel. Going to a close friend or trusted family member can be the path to honest, loving recommendations. Because these are people in your life that genuinely care about you. Remember, too, that if you’re working with a professional – such as a life coach or therapist – their counsel will always come from a place of not only caring for you. But also from a place of neutrality. In other words, some of the best tips for a better life comes from these professionals. That’s because they “don’t have a horse in the race”, so to speak, except in YOUR happier or healthier life.
Sometimes, advice is coming from folks that are looking out for themselves first and you second. So be careful when listing to co-workers who may be seeking the same promotion as you. Or family members who are dysfunctional or manipulative. These are cases when someone may have their own agenda in every piece of advice they shell out.
No matter what challenges you may be facing in life, know that good advice is out there. But no matter who is shelling the advice out, remember that the number one person that knows what’s best for your life is YOU. So, seek good counsel from others. But always, trust your gut.
If you’re seeking good advice – or at least some tips to loving your life more – I can help.