About Advice: Get Out of Your Way
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
We’re all interested in some kind of success in our lives. The road to success, however, is not always clear or trouble-free. We face challenges. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we, by our own hand, often make matters worse, and can be unaware that we do so. We compounded our challenges by this one truth: we usually don’t know when we are wrong.
Consider this: the best advice you could receive may be considered worthless by you.
As long as the value of advice is determined by you, there’s a chance you’ll mistake its worth. Why? The merit of advice is not determined objectively; it’s subjectively derived and, therefore, subject to the limitations of our ability to understand and willingness to accept. This, of course, suggests that we could prize the worst advice that we could receive, merely because it aligns with the limitations of what we can understand and accept. And since our best effort to make wise decisions is linked with our emotions, we are likely to “feel good” about our decisions, some of which we’ll later see as mistakes.
What informs your decisions? It is not uncommon for us to critique choices through filters of our beliefs, preferences, and other biases than with our best efforts to be self-aware, broad-minded, and honest. Of course, we are not going to be inclined to accept that message, which could prove my point about the impacts of our preferences and biases.
Note: we would be inclined to accept advice that we don’t understand or agree with, and that we don’t see as having any benefit to us, if we have faith in the advisor. (This may give us something more to consider, perhaps.)
Our value assessments are not objective; they are exceedingly subjective, which means they are processed through an array of filters. The expression, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is well known with good reason. We care about packaging, which includes our fancy for appearances, image, status, and popularity. Sounds so shallow, does it not? But, if it’s true, what is our inclination – to face or recede from the possibility of having a superficial proclivity? Whatever our inclination, we gravitate toward and recede from ideas, and choices, with cause. If we cannot explain the cause beyond something that we feel, then our reason may be suspect.
If you feel resistant to an idea, a potential truth, and, as a result of that feeling, recede from thought, then your reason to recede may be suspect. In order to develop ourselves, it is important to face ideas, decisions, and possibilities that are difficult for us to consider. Progress toward personal development, and success, can be hard to achieve. We are, usually, our greatest obstacle to development and success.
Often, our preference for a course of action is influenced by our egos, biases, pride, fears, and other factors that bear upon our thought processes. If we resist such ideas that we’re guided by objectionable characteristics in ourselves, we’re likely to dismiss reasons to face them. And this situation is, at base, the cause of many failures to advance, to triumph over challenges, to learn, improve, and achieve greater self-development and success. We’ve got to be looking for, and accepting of, our shortcomings, because they are there. And, without our recognizing them, we cannot develop.
Determine Your Potential
At the end of the day, achievement—increased sales, weight loss, professional advancement, starting a business, or whatever other goal you have—is not about that which you pursue; it’s about you, the person you are at a particular time in your life – at a particular level of development.
Once you’re ready to consider yourself as an element in your personal and professional success, you open a world of possibility for support and solutions for development, and the most natural process by which you can advance from where you are today to where you would like to be (IDEAL). So, what can you count on to guide you to the personal and professional successes that you seek? The answer is: yourself.
Since you choose your course to success, question your judgment. Consider the criteria by which you assess and determine which path or solution is preferable to you over alternatives. Consider influences on your thought process. What does your decision reflect about you – how you see yourself, your predilection, the person you want to be, and what you think others expect from you?
Try to recognize the ways in which you, with regard to your personal and professional interests, are both an asset and a liability to your own progress. And know this: your potential is related to what you believe is possible, and how strongly you regard that belief. This point should not be taken lightly. Your expectations and self regard are important factors in your decision-making process. You will, consciously or subconsciously, factor-in yourself and what you deem relevant to your considerations.
Know Where You Stand
Be aware of your assumptions and what you may take for granted. Consider the agents that you rely in order for you to make progress and succeed. Understand yourself. Do you expect success to come easily, or just as you’ve planned? Do you believe that you’re owed success? Are you willing become more self aware? Are you open to discoveries and change?
Your answers to these and related questions will establish your potential to achieve. And, in coming full circle, your answers will impact how you see the value of advice. The best advice may not be something that you're ready to accept today. And what you think is good advice may be the limitation of your ability or willingness to see otherwise.
The primary takeaway here is: be self-aware and consider what you allow to influence your thought process. Try to identify your biases, what is at work to protect self interests. You can’t expect to make good decisions when your priority is to accommodate yourself. The aim of self development is not self protection; the aim is greater awareness (especially of truths about the self), self-control, and regard for others.
More information on personal development, success, life, and related subjects is available at my website: StevenRobertYoung.com. Once there, take a look at IDEAL, the most natural process to success. If you’d like support planning or progressing toward your goals—personal or profession—, contact me through my website. Also, consider downloading my free ebook GOALS: The Course to Success.
I wish you all the best for continued success.
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