Reasons to reject advice
This italicized text was added on 05/19/2010 just 6 hours after I posted the following article because I obviously succeeded in writing poorly. The original intent of this article, “Reasons to reject advice” was to say we SHOULD listen to advice even if it comes from sources we may not approve. I’m going to re-write this post tomorrow and see if I can clear the muddy waters… Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions on how this post might have been written more clearly. Thanks
My wife and I were both 19 years old when we married. Three years later our first child, Mindy, arrived. She came to us via an emergency C-section. Thankfully she was fine and has grown to marry and have three children of her own.
After Mindy’s birth my mom gave me one word of unsolicited advice. “Don’t be too strict with your children.” At 22 years old, her advice slipped off like water off a ducks back. However, her wisdom was timely. Looking back, I believe I was too strict. Thankfully Mindy overcame my lack of parenting finesse.
I didn’t heed my mom’s guidance because I wasn’t dumb enough to be smart. I had the answers to parenting. Frankly, back then I had the answers to many of life’s mysteries.
Reasons I reject advice even though I shouldn’t …
I reject advice when I think I’m competent.
I reject advice when it comes from someone less experienced.
I reject advice from people who don’t see the full picture or understand all the circumstances.
I reject advice from those out of touch with current culture.
I reject advice from those who don’t share the same responsibilities I have.
I reject advice from those I feel don’t understand me.
I believe we learn from failure but I reject advice from those who’ve failed.
There are too many reasons to reject advice! Self-justifying lists are too easy to generate so here’s a word of advice.
The best advice is advice you think you don’t need.
Have you rejected advice you should have heeded?
i made the expierience that most people give easly advice regarding situations they havent been through by themselves yet. most people are more intrested in promoting their own agenda (e.g. their relation to you) then giving competent guidance. its always good to draw borders by rejection, i totally agree 🙂 !
Thank you for your comment.
In a back handed way I was suggesting there may be value in advice that comes from others who haven’t been through everything we’ve been through. I was trying to say we may be too quick to reject advice.
Perhaps I wasn’t very clear.
Design flaws didn’t sink the Titanic. The iceberg didn’t sink the Titanic. The captain, who didn’t listen to the guy who said, “Captain, there’s an iceberg dead ahead,” sank the Titanic. I’d love to say that I’ve always listened to the people who warned me about icebergs. I notice that until I learn to listen, I hit the iceberg again and again and again.
thanks for leaving a wonderful illustration.
Best to you,
How about getting advice from people who have failed before, but then because of determination and perserverence they achieved their goals, do you still reject their advice?
Are we not suppose to learn from mistakes?
I totally messed up this blog. I was trying to say that we SHOULD listen to others who fail. Failure teaches people what not to do. Learning what not to do is valuable.
Advice is something I rarely give. Just the word “advice” implies so many things. Advice is often taken the wrong way, in a different way than it was intended. As a therapist, I would never give advice to anyone. There are ways of asking questions, or telling a story that gives a person food for thought, so that they can make their own decisions. The advice we give may have worked for us or for someone else, but that does not necessarily mean it will work or be practical for the next person. Teach by example and give information in a non-patronizing way.
I think I need a therapist!
You make a great point. The best way to give advice is helping others figure things out themselves.
You have my regards,
If you dig deep enough, inside any communication (advice, tirade, casual conversation, blog ;), powerpoint presentation, monologue, etc.) may be a nugget or two worth mining and owning.
PS: I believe filling with water caused the Titanic to sink.
Thanks for digging deep enough!
Gravity is the reason the Titanic sank. 😉
It is quite simple. When someone gives us advice and we immediately reject it because of its source, it would be fair to say that we are paying more attention to where it coming from then the message itself. Advice regardless of where is coming can be beneficial if we listen to the message. Someone who I knew for their hidden agendas offered me some advice. Although I knew their intention, I listen very carefully. By the end of the conversation I thank them and learned a valuable lesson. Even people with hidden agenda, no matter what their intention, can provide sound advice, if we can simple read between the lines.
Thanks for your comment. Your personal story demonstrates that its useful to listen even if motives aren’t pure.
You make me think about hear words AND intent.
Best to you,
Most advice is FREE, the cost is in LISTENING.
Hmmm, no picture?
I hate the color of the carpet in my house, but I can’t afford new carpet right now. I asked my friend (a decorator) for advice. She suggested a paint color for the room that might make the carpet more bearable. The painter came, painted one wall, and I hated it even more than the carpet. Friends and relatives came to look. They all loved the paint color and advised me to keep it. Now my living room and kitchen are both that color, the carpet is still hideous, and I wish I hadn’t listened to advice.
The point here is that the pendulum swings both ways. Some people may be over-confident and ignore advice, but my own insecurity led me to listen to advice when I shouldn’t have. Sometimes we know in our hearts what is best or right for us, and listening to advice in these cases only clouds the issue.
Dan, maybe you weren’t really too strict with your daughter. Maybe your parenting style was exactly what was called for at the time…
Love your comment. It made me laugh. I don’t want you to think that I’m laughing that you think the color scheme is hideous. I laughed because of your excellent writing style that drew me in. Thanks.
I’m surprised and delighted at the comments this post is receiving.
Thanks for a great comment.
Thanks, Dan. And I’m glad to hear that you weren’t laughing at my misery. That would be cruel. 🙂
When providing feedback, one of the most important things that needs to be understood is that the recipient can either “accept” or “reject” the feedback. The key is that the recipient has “permission” to reject feedback if they choose; they now OWN their response to the feedback. However, before someone chooses to reject a piece of advice, they should consider:
• Do I hear the same criticism from more than one person?
• Does the critic know a great deal about the subject?
• Are the critic’s standards known and reasonable?
• Is the criticism really about me (or is the person having a bad day)?
• How important is it for me to respond to the criticism (i.e. what are the consequences of rejecting the feedback)?
For example, if your buddy regularly tells you that he doesn’t like minivans, yet you have a big family, feel free to “reject” his advice. However, if your boss regularly tells you that she doesn’t appreciate tardiness to meetings, you’ll need to carefully consider these questions before rejecting that feedback. Either way, having “permission” to reject advice also carries with it the responsibility to do something with the feedback that is accepted
“Do I hear the same criticism from more than one person?” Right on man! Frankly, if I deal with the stuff I hear more than once, I’ll have plenty to deal with.
Your comments adds value to the LF community.
Best to you,
Guilty of always rejecting advice… from most people.
This post made me reassess my behaviour.
Thanks Mr. Rockwell
It looks like you caught the message that it’s good to listen to advice even if those giving it may not be “worthy.”
Richard’s comment below adds even more clarity.
Best to you,
enjoying this one – both your post and the feedback, and that you think you got it ‘wrong’. Like many i have ignored more than I’ve listened to. My fathers great parental advice was “don’t come home with a pregnant girl or a Volkswagen” (actually it just occurred to me my Volkswagen was written off in an accident the day I found my partner was pregnant – but I was 46 years old then!).
I feel the key thing here is that take advice or not, you accept responsibility – as Crystal has and learned from the process.
Perhaps the key to your process isn’t that you listen or not, nor whether you heed advice (as often it is ill advised) but that you learn from the decision you make,
and I assure you I’ve had plenty of learnings!
Well said my friend. Listening to advice doesn’t mean doing everything others tell us to do. We should listen, evaluate based on the message, and then “take responsibility.”
Love you father’s advice. Looks like you listened, took responsibility and ignored it. 😉
It’s always a pleasure,
Pingback: What I said … What I meant « Leadership Freak
Following up on the threads offered by Trishamme and Bob’s , over a decade ago I personally and professionally stopped offering “advise”. Intially just changeing the word advise to “counsel” had immediate, surprising, and diverse effects on my communication with other individuals and groups. Eventually I learned to better understand where I actually “figured into” what was often simply an observation, not a cry for asistance or insight into the deeepest questions of man/woman kind
Like Trishamme after making clear that advise was not on offer from me but that I would offer counsel if other (s) wished, I realized that by intiated the exchange of ideas experience or hard won lessons with a question made all that followed more a conversation in which there was substantial give and take. This was of benefit to myslef by enlarging my view of any topic, and usualy mutaly benefitial as my counsel was viewed in light of my query and often different perspective (s)
Bob’s comment brought to the forefront another currently under utilized skill set that was once a large part of my active conciousness when I am just in the vicintity or the object of solicited or even unsolicited requests for advice. The intiator is actually looking for feedback not direction, insiight , or tablets writ large by the hand of God. Not an original dictum but a good one Seek first to Understand then to be Understood.
Your insight and wisdom refreshes and inspires me. Initiating a conversation is a wonderful way to describe an offer of counsel. Thinking back, I’m afraid there have been too many monologues and not enough conversations in my “counsel” giving.
Well said my friend,
Doc is a valued component of the Leadership Freak community. He regularly shares his experiences, insights, and wisdom. I’m delighted he continues to contribute.