In general, people love giving out advice. Why? Because it makes them shine, showcases their knowledge and lets other people know that they know their stuff. We all love feeling important and few things make us feel more important than being able to give out advice. Especially, if someone attentively listens to it.
For that very simple reason, you should always listen to advice. Even if you disagree. Even if you are certain the advice is incorrect. (Note: The exception is if the advice is promoting harmful ideals, degrading or anything offensive really. Get out of that situation as fast as safely possible.) There is no better way to build relationships and connections than genuinely asking for advice. It’s very rare that you will be turned down and even rarer to get a negative response to a genuine request for some advice.
When I was in my final year of university, I took on a project that was way outside my comfort zone and I had no real experience in. Back then, I asked countless people for advice. 98% of the time I got a response with a little piece of expertise or of life experience. When I started with a simple request for some advice, it often led to further connections, more information than I even bargained for and some invaluable knowledge shared with me.
Like Dale Carnegie explained in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, the best way to make someone like you is by asking about them, by making the conversation about them. Asking for advice is a very easy way to do so. It shifts the focus to their knowledge. And if you didn’t ask, you should probably still listen and take in their point of view (as long as it is reasonable). They will appreciate and remember this about you.
But, at the end of the day, not all advice is good advice. People like to give unsolicited advice, knowing nothing about you or your circumstances. So always listen to it, but don’t always follow it. You’ll know when you come across a piece of advice worth following. You know yourself best.
Learning to fight the instinctive response of arguing against a piece of advice you believe to be wrong is difficult and I often fail. But, it can lead to better connections and sometimes, you even learn something from it 🙂
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten recently?