Advice is personal – Version 2

I forgot that I had already written about this, but I like this one better so I’m going to post it as well.

Recently a friend asked me to review his portfolio website.

As I clicked through the pages, I started to form an opinion of how he should update the site. Nothing major, just a complete revamp of the pages to give more content that would suit me.

Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer designed a car and bankrupted the company.

The owner of the car company was his brother and he wanted the feedback of a normal American, what he got was The Homer. It was a highly specialized vehicle designed for Homer and a small niche of people like him.

His brother was upset because he got what he wanted. He got a car designed by Homer. He should have known that Homer was going to give an opinion because advice is personal.

When I looked at my friend’s website, I looked at it from my perspective. I don’t own a design studio. I’m not a manager of a design team. I’m a friend that can generate opinions on any number of topics.

So, the next time you ask for advice, remember, what you are going to get is personal. Make sure it fits your vision. You may find that it doesn’t, or you may find that it does. Just remember that it’s your job to figure out who to listen to and who to ignore.

Advice Is Personal

In this age of digital enlightenment, it’s easy to lose sight of the truth that advice is, in fact, personal. Each of us has a lifetime of experiences that have shaped and molded us. Our likes, desires, impulses and aversions have been galvanized by these experiences.

When we receive advice, the giver is speaking from their experience. When we listen, we are listening through the filter of our experience. It’s a volley back and forth as the conversations drive on. Does this person understand me? Do they value me? Do they care? Is the advice relevant? And on it goes.

For me, the moral of this story is to eat the meat and spit out the bones. There is value in the input and feedback of others but I’m not beholden to their opinion. Sometimes they will understand and sometimes they won’t.

The same is true for giving advice. We give advice based on limited understanding and on our experiences. We aren’t talking about simple math but people’s lives that are complex and messy. I used to believe that we could distill life’s choices down to black and white, right and wrong. I don’t think that way anymore.

Now I’ve come to embrace the gray areas. The ambiguous experiences of life. I’ve learned that good can come from bad. I’m not afraid of mistakes because I know I can learn from them.

I have also learned that when you give advice, it’s coming from a personal place. You are sharing a bit of yourself and for that, I am grateful.

On owning my decisions

Repeat after me

“Asking for advice and listening to the opinion of others doesn’t mean that I am not accountable for my decisions. I am an adult. My decisions are my own.”

It’s silly that this is a thing that even needs to be talked about. Nevertheless, my tendency is to outsource responsibility for my decisions. For whatever reason, I don’t think I need to own my choices when they were influenced by others.

Why did I give up on carbs? Cause everyone knows that they are bad.

Why did I leave my job? According to a post I read on LinkedIn, my work environment was toxic.

Why did I forgive? Actually, I didn’t. My Facebook friends told me I didn’t need to forgive because I deserve better.

Whether it be blogs, social media, editorials, friends, co-workers, books, or family, influence is everywhere. It’s easy to listen to everyone and not ever make up one’s own mind. However, if that is the type of person you are, then I don’t want to work with you. I probably don’t want to be your friend either.

To be honest, I’m trying to get rich. In order to do that I need to surround myself with winners and achievers because the data shows that I’m going to become like my five closest friends.

Blah…Blah…Blah…On and on and on…

Advice from others is not the problem. I’m a big advocate of getting and asking for input. It’s crucial though that we develop our ability to synthesize information to form a cohesive, informed opinion that we own.

It’s time to stop with the bumper sticker tripe’s and take hold of our adulthood. Now is our time, let’s own it.